Serial Bus

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‘Road, Movie’: The Next Slumdog

with one comment

Normally, people make such pronouncements after watching a movie but I am basing this on the trailer: I think ‘Road, Movie’ could very well be the next Slumdog Millionaire.

It was everything going for it. As I write, it is being raved about in this year’s TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) which last year saw the advent of SM. It has a small indie-movie feel which media loves to applaud. It uses a parochial plot (a young man wanting to break away) and a familiar format (road movie) to send a universal message (self-discovery) in a refreshing and exotic (for westerners) way (ah, Rajasthan).

The protagonist, Vishnu, a young man tries to escape the responsibility of his father’s hair oil business by taking to the road. En route, he discovers a treasure-trove in the back of the antique truck – reels of several old films and a couple of cameras. He also gets some hitchhikers – a middle-aged quirky man, a boy and a belle. Together, they go about screening movies at villages across the desolate and evocative outback of Rajasthan. Along the way, Vishnu discovers the true meaning of life and everything else.

Vishnu is played by Abhay Deol who, in the ranks of Indian cinema, inadvertently leads the avant-garde movement among young actors in Indian cinema – those who also have a mainstream appeal in a very kitschy yet creative way. He already has an enviable filmography and looks certain to go places. The director, Dev Benegal, has not been prolific in his work but the few films he has directed have each received ample praises, notably for ‘English, August’. Perhaps putting a coma between the 2 words of the movie name will work magic for him again, this time on the international stage. It has the backing of Fortissimo Films of Michael Werner which is busy adding some marketing finesse and getting the word out. 

Will ‘Road, Movie’ rise to become a sensation like SM did? Unlikely. SM had everything going for it at a very gargantuan level. Right from Dany Boyle’s credentials to Rahman’s stirring score to the earthy slumdog kids to Fox’s marketing juggernaut. It jolted everyone attending its shows at the various film festivals. RM also has similar trappings, but not in the same proportion. SM also worked because it shocked and it had a typical Bollywood climactic storyline. RM, on the other hand, may be much gentler and perhaps even subtle in its messaging. It will not perhaps unleash a viral sort of marketing blitz through reviews, twitter, blogs and word-of-mouth.

But then, remember what happened after Sushmita Sen won the Miss Universe title in 1994 – suddenly, the next few beauty queens all turned out to be Indians – Aishwarya, Diana, Lara and Priyanka. The concept of beauty suddenly had an Indian baseline and everyone was being judged to that benchmark. The same ripple effect could be true of Slumdog’s victory – perhaps people are yearning for the next Sushmita and ‘Road, Movie’ may not be her, but it could be Aishwarya.

I hope to see the movie soon and check if my trailer-based excitement lasts. Until then, let’s watch the wonderful trailer again and again:

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Written by serialbus

September 19, 2009 at 1:36 pm

One Response

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  1. Intresting, this was actually a very great read! thanks

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    CatinodeCeano

    October 6, 2009 at 2:47 am


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