Tag Archives: slumdog millionaire

Lion (2016)

Lion Review

written by Souranath Banerjee

 A passionate narrative that celebrates both emotions and technology at the same time!

My Ratings: 4.1/5

80,000 children go missing in India every year never again to be reunited with their families, unfortunate indeed.

But then how many of these lost children are fortunate enough to get adopted by some kind-hearted couple from Tasmania, who are lion-poster1not only willing to give them their family name, but also enough love and affection, education and freedom to relive their own lives?

Well, Saroo a kid from rural India who loves Jalebis, happened to be one such unfortunate, yet fortunate soul!

At the age of five an unintentional train journey took him to an unknown city, alone in the streets, miserable and hungry, missing his family, and on the verge of getting exploited. But then, he survives, was sent to an orphanage and from there taken for adoption by Brierley family from Tasmania!

The first half of Saroo’s tale is dramatic enough to be made into a motion picture but the story doesn’t end there!

lion-posterAfter 25 years Saroo decides to find his roots, his village, his people, his family – he comes back to India in search of his brother and mother!

Exceptional performance by Dev Patel as Saroo, supposedly he had spent eight months preparing for his role! But more surprising was debutant Sunny Pawar‘s role, who played the part of young Saroo and stole the show!

Then of course Nicole Kidman (a great come back for her), David Wenham and Rooney Mara all made their presence felt. The Indian actors – Tannishtha ChatterjeeNawazuddin SiddiquiDeepti NavalKoushik SenAbhishek Bharate all shined in their cameos. But again the performance of Priyanka Bose as Saroo’s mother deserves a special mention, she is so natural yet subtle!

lion-poster2Brilliantly shot by Greig Fraser and edited by Alexandre de Franceschi. And also well complemented by the music of Volker Bertelmann and Dustin O’Halloran.

Since Saroo used Google Earth to try and locate his origins, Google have helped in the production of the film and gave the crew satellite imagery access and other technical support.

Director Garth Davis‘s Lion will remind you of Slumdog Millionaire but then for me it’s an entirely different treatment and story, after all it’s based on a true story!

P.S. – But why does the film named ‘Lion‘? Well, for a very good reason but you have to watch it to find it out!

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com.

Million Dollar Arm (2014)

My Ratings: 3/5

The film Million Dollar Arm is based on a true story. A story dipped in desperate ambition; a story coated with emotions and beliefs; a story that unexpectedly changed the lives of two teenagers from India for good.

After Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire this film is probably the next most successful Indian tale told by the foreigners.

And it seems that Oscar winning music director A.R.Rahman is definitely a common factor whenever Hollywood decides to take the Indian route.

Million Dollar Arm is a biographical sports drama about an American sports agent J.B. Bernstein (played by Jon Hamm in the film).In the verge of getting broke J.B. Bernstein had this brainwave to train young cricketers (bowlers) from India into professional Baseball players (pitchers) for the major baseball league in the US.

What an idea Sirji !

So according to the plan J.B. Bernstein promptly fly to India and organize a talent hunt by the name of ‘Million Dollar arm’. The search goes on for months until they find two teenagers Rinku and Dinesh (both from rural background) who can throw the ball accurately and at the desired speed. So they get selected and go to US for further training.

Eventually their bonding with J.B.Sir (J.B. Bernstein’s name shortened with respect) gets stronger and after initial failures Rinku and Dinesh do get selected to play in the US baseball league. Dreams that they have never even seen comes true.

I liked the intention of the film Million Dollar Arm but the execution could have been better in a few blocks.

For instance the casting of the two young Indian boys could have been much better- ideally someone fresh. In the film Rinku is played by Suraj Sharma (from Life of Pi) and Dinesh by Madhur Mittal (from Slumdog Millionaire) – both of them a tad too sophisticated for a rural Indian teenager (it’s not enough  just to pretend to have a language problem but it’s also about the overall body language).

I think Pitobash has done a much better job. He is so natural and has a great comic timing.

While on the topic of acting Alan Arkin and Lake Bell has to be mentioned. Jon Hamm also did a decent job playing the central character – nothing extraordinary but nothing to complain about as well.

The other thing that comes to my mind is the way India is shown in Hollywood films. The same traffic problem, Indian men being late and lazy at work, Indian food too spicy to handle, Indians moving their heads sideways as a yes …. I mean com’on you foreign directors – bring something fresh on the table.

I felt a few sequences are a bit hurried up. Especially after the initial setback when J.B.Sir tries to mingle with the boys – the bonding between them seemed a bit too sudden. It is like the director Craig Gillespie saying – now it’s time to wrap up the film so hurry up you guys and be good to each other.

On the whole Million Dollar Arm is a decent emotional film though – a one-time watch for sure.

Trailer link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiC8o7i_ZqE