Monday, January 19, 2009

What Say You? Slumdog Millionaire Dance



Over at Film Babble Blog, there's an interesting conversation going on in the comments section about Slumdog Millionaire. Specifically about the ending dance number. Someone had mentioned how it ruined the movie for them because how could Jamal dance in celebration right after his brother had been killed? Someone followed up with a defense by saying that Jamal had just won a million dollars and found the love of his life, so that's why he was dancing. I thought it interesting that someone would try to justify why Jamal and Latika would or would not be dancing at the end. I didn't see it as a conclusion to the movie, but more of a free-hanging homage to Bollywood involving the main characters. Either that, or an after curtain bow of sorts as a reminder that it was all just a movie.

But that's me. Was the dance at the end of Slumdog Millionaire the big finish? Or just a really well choreographed dance number?

WHAT SAY YOU?

15 comments:

J.D. said...

I think the real "ending" was the kiss on the platform. The dance thing was pretty much only an add-on homage to Bollywood, I think. It's not supposed to fit into the narrative.

Ray said...

I tend to agree with J.D. on this one. I don't consider it part of the narrative, since it barely relates to the tone of the film proper.

However, there is an undercurrent of optimism in the film that dance numbers like this express very well.

A movie like this is a litmus test for people ... some focus on the positive message in it, while others see the tragedies. I think the people who hated the dance number were wanting a more powerful emotional experience arising from the tragic elements in the movie. The ones that liked the dance number see it as a fun capper to the feel-good message of the film.

Mark Logan said...

I'm with you, Pat. This is an add-on homage to Bollywood, not part of the narrative itself.

Emily Blake said...

I thought it was a great way to make people stay through the credits.

PIPER said...

J.D. and Ray

I'm not sure that I would say this was a fantastic film, but I will say I liked it. And to me, this dance number was a big sigh of relief for me because I thought the movie was going to end terribly. I'm discovering in my older age, that when it comes to love stories, I truly want love to conquer all. And I'm willing to sacrifice everything in the movie to make sure that happens. I found myself smiling through the entire sequence.

Mark,

Nice to have you here.

Emily,

You might be right. Although I barely remember the credits. Just the dance.

Moviezzz said...

The problem I had with the ending wasn't that they were dancing. It is tradition in Bollywood to dance at big emotional moments, whether good or bad. One of my favorite Bollywood moments is, after they make a business deal, there is, for no reason, a big dance scene in Vegas. And the film is set in India.

My problem with the ending is that it is BAD Bollywood dancing. Poorly choreographed. It is like they had never even seen a Bollywood film before.

Take this scene from RANGEELA. This is just the opening of the film.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxhV283TYOo

All sorts of locations, many dancers, just a great sequence.

Bob Turnbull said...

I haven't even seen Slumdog and I knew that the dancing wasn't part of the actual story.

B-)

Fletch said...

Bob's got it right.

Listen, I know nothing about Bollywood, having seen about, oh, zero Bollywood films in my day, and even I knew it was an homage and not part of the narrative.

What's wrong with these people?

Oh, and by the way, it rocked.

Erin said...

At first I took the dance number as just being a tribute to Bollywood and having no relation to the story itself......

But after some thought, I feel it was very much meant to be part of the narrative. If you recall the scene where Jamil and Latika are sitting on the stairs, talking about what will happen with Jamil really "makes it". Jamil tells her that he's going to buy her a house on some fancy street and then he hops up and asks her to dance with him. He does this silly little dance and if I'm remembering correctly he does that ridiculous little fist pumping dance that reappears in the final number. It's their last moment of happiness together until the final scene - when they dance again. In my opinion it was the perfect way to end the film.

Anonymous said...

Out of curiosity, I'm wondering why was the choreographer not mentioned in the credits?

I understand that it was such a small piece of the film, but it's obviously a big enough moment to be talked about this much.

PIPER said...

Erin,

you make interesting points. I hadn't really thought of it that way and it's good food for thought.

Anon,

I don't know why. Maybe we are making too big a deal out of all this.

Jason Bellamy said...

On top of the Bollywood thing...

Wait, Jamal is supposed to feel sad because the brother who raped the love of his life died? Uh, I'd dance to that.

MovieMan0283 said...

You're absolutely right, Piper. Anyway, I was far less annoyed by the dance than Jamal's brother lying down in a tub full of money for his climactic shootout, among other things.

Paul Arrand Rodgers said...

After The Love Guru, somebody had to make Bollywood dancing acceptable for mainstream film.

Anonymous said...

Moviezzz, I think that the ending is intentionally poorly choregraphied, so it looks more spontaneous, funny, friendly...
It's a little bit like the bloopers at the end of a HongKong movie.
The actors drop the mask and are having fun together, sharing their good mood with the audience.