The greatness of art does not lie in its esoteric form; it lies in its ability to reach out and communicate far and wide.
Art must aim to be inclusive; rather than exclusive. And there lies the success of Slumdog Millionaire; despite being dark and real, it is quite entertaining. Good background music, tight screenplay, fine balance of reality and fantasy and great performances.
Along with a great product; it is also great marketing. The sort of hype that has been generated for this film (sans any major star cast) has brought it to the league of big budget films in India.
In a lot of ways, the film is like the city it portrays – Mumbai – full of dirt and grime, yet teeming with enterprise. Crime infested to the core, yet resplendent with hope. A paradox in itself – very Mumbai (or can I call it Bombay one last time).
OK, coming back to why it is fantastic marketing. I think it’s the way Boyle has managed to position his work. He notched up nominations at the big league, and along the way, created a huge buzz for his content.
He realized that there is a bigger audience and decided to dub his film in Hindi and Tamil. The film got unprecedented media coverage (helped also by the Oscar nominations); and opened to packed houses across multiplexes in the country.
In short, a great application at the zero (pre release hype), first (distribution) and second (use) moments of truth. Another example of some great, comprehensive marketing across consumer touch points.