Archived Discussion

This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

Dalek Kan Noladti: Re: Salim's last words, isn't this one of the first positive portrayals of Islamic "martyrdom" to be released in the Western world? I don't know about in India, but in the West "martyrs" somehow always ends up meaning "suicide terrorists", whereas this film showed Salim genuinely sacrificing himself for his brother and Latika in a way that I have to imagine Muhammed would approve of.

Which part would we be cheering for Salim in? The part where he points a gun at Jamal, and then proceeds to rape his girlfriend? The part where he makes Latika sleep in the rain? The part where he lets go of her hand on the train? The part where he kidnaps her and holds a knife to her throat to take her back to her abusive husband after jamal has gone through all the trouble of finding her? if it werent for the fact that he was the only friend jamal had (which says a lot about the movie) he would be the villain of the story, not an antihero.

BrightBlueInk: Redemption Equals Death. I think that scene was supposed to portray him as genuinely repenting for the things he put Jamal and Latika through—and it certainly doesn't show him as a "suicide terrorist". He's almost a sympathetic character, if it wasn't for how he abandons Jamal.

BrightBlueInk: I'm not so sure about Latika being called a Shallow Female Love Interest. Although she's definitely not as well developed as Jamal or Salim, she gets fairly significant backstory in the movie thanks to growing up with Jamal, and her motivations for leaving with Jamal are as much trying to get out of a bad situation as it is love for him...any thoughts?

Jumpingzombie: I'm going to agree with you. Sure Latika isn't the most developed character in the movie, but we still get to see some of her personality and we know about what her life was like.

I think Latika had a strong personality earlier on, but as the movie progresses it wears thinner and thinner — which is the whole point. I mean, if I went through what she went through, I'd be the same.

No disrespect intended, but I think many people love the movie so much that they're giving it a bit of a free pass on this point. Not every movie has to pass The Bechdel Test to be good, but just because a movie is good doesn't mean it automatically has any well-developed female characters. It's simple fact that Latika isn't much of a character. Yes, she's happier as a child than she is as an adult, but anyone would be in her circumstances. None of that points to her having an actual personality, and her personality, whatever it is, certainly doesn't affect the story in any way. She is merely a plot device, something for the hero to strive for. She could just as easily have been his father's gold watch, and he has to win the money to buy it back or something. Like I said, it's fine to like the movie anyway, but for me (and a lot of other people), Latika's flatness rendered the whole love story aspect unimportant and kind of ruined the movie.

BrightBlueInk: My argument isn't that Latika isn't a flat character (she is) as much as she doesn't fit the trope. One of the requirements in the description of the trope is "their entire personality revolves around the sole fact that they dig said main character." This isn't true for Latika—most of her personality revolves around being desperate to get out of a bad situation. That motivation would've stayed the same whether Jamal was around or not, although Jamal seems to give her hope that she can get out of her situation.