I thought Shruti's review was a fascinating read of the film. The concept of "relative poverty" that we have discussed is certainly at the center of Bunty Aur Babli, as her review makes clear, and the film seems to make a strong case for the idea that it can be even more demoralizing than absolute poverty. The fact that they are working the system is very effective at illustrating the fact that they are so very aware of the system and the hierarchy that holds them in this "relative poverty". So, in many ways, I think that it is safe to say the plot is entirely based around the concept of relative poverty. This is a strength of the film that is hard to accomplish: tying the entertainment value in with the strongest social points it is making.
Though, at times in the film, it did just seem like they were bored and restless people, rather than lashing out at a system that they were suppressed by. That could definitely be derived from the Bonny and Clyde in them. Or, perhaps it could be seen that this bored and restless nature could have a lot to do with their status as "relatively impoverished". They are capable and aware of the better lives they could have, which leaves them as bored and restless with their actual situations.
I definitely recognized the tradition/ modernity aspect of the film, and also think its an astute and important observation by Gusfield and Shruti that modernity and tradition do not have to be mutually exclusive, as is emphasized in the movie. Even small ways of bridging the gaps between modernity and tradition (such as clothing) can really make a difference as far as how many people are able to relate to a film. And I like the idea that "it is not necessarily tradition that is being abandoned by Bunty and Babli, but simply those traditions that are holding the duo back form realizing their true potential." (-Shruti, paragraph 6)
Oh, and I also thought it was a cop-out at the end when they started working with the police! Especially after Dasrath lets them go, and he seems to acknowledge the limits of his system ("I think the law needs to destroy crime.... not people." -Dasrath). But then, they ALL just sell out to "the man"... "the man" who the rest of the movie did not sympathize with.
I found Sarah's information on dowry saddening, to say the least. The quotes about infanticide methods were particularly heart-breaking. Economic burdens really seem to feed the most disturbing aspects of our planet.
One thing that I noticed that the reviewers did not mention was that there was some cool and ambitious camera work. For instance, when the train stops towards the end of the film, and the camera is jolted forward as it comes to a halt. I just thought that scene kind of emphasized the fact that they are at something of a crossroads and Dasrath is about to let them go; its a jolting scene, so the camerawork fit well. Little things like this just struck me as fun little uses of the camera, and they also felt like things you may not be able to get away with in a similar American film.