“Slumdog Millionaire” is a rags-to-riches fairy tale that will open your eyes and touch your heart.
The film is adapted from the novel Q&A by Vikas Swarup and directed by Oscar winner Danny Boyle. The movie features upcoming actors Dev Patel and Freida Pinto. The cast of the film is relatively unknown in the United States, but actors Anil Kapoor and Irrfan Khan are well-known for their Bollywood films.
Jamal Malik (Dev Patel), an orphan from the slums, becomes a contestant on Indian’s version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” in hopes of reuniting with Latika (Freida Pinto), the girl he lost but loves. When the show breaks for the night, Jamal is arrested and accused of cheating. They don’t understand how an uneducated ‘slumdog’ knows the answers to the questions. The police torture and beat Jamal into telling the truth. Jamal explains how he knew the answers to the questions by revealing his life story.
Danny Boyle opens the film from the middle of the story with Jamal being interrogated and tortured by the police. The music composed by A. R. Rahman helps drive the story while the film moves back and forth between the present time and flashbacks from Jamal’s life which reveals the poverty, violence and corruption that exists in the city of Mumbai.
The cinematography of the film beautifully depicts the raw but realistic life of the slums. Even as Jamal grows up and the economy in Mumbai improves, the film constantly reminds you that even with time the slums still have not completely faded away. What makes this story so touching is that it could have happened anywhere.
It’s not your typical Bollywood film. If you have ever seen a Bollywood movie, you will have to wait till the credits for a joyful singing and dancing scene. The film has a typical fairy-tale ending, but it’s a moving story that makes you appreciate life. It’s about two hours long and hopefully you don’t mind reading some subtitles.
The movie has won many awards internationally. On February 22, the film won eight Oscars including Best Motion Picture of the Year and Best Director.
“Slumdog Millionaire” almost went straight to DVD but after a screening at Toronto International Film Festival, Fox Searchlight Pictures decided to release the film. The movie can be rented at Blockbuster or downloaded on iTunes.