Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
  • Time: 120 min
  • Genre: Drama | Romance | Thriller
  • Directors: Danny Boyle, Loveleen Tandan
  • Cast: Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Anil Kapoor


In Mumbai, the eighteen year-old orphan from the slums Jamal Malik is tortured by the policemen in a precinct accused of cheating a game show. Jamal, who has no education and works in a call center serving tea, is close to wining twenty million rupees in the show Kaun Banega Crorepati? (2000) (Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?) hosted by Prem Kumar, giving precise answers to the questions and raising suspicion of fraud. The police inspector shows the videotape and after each question, Jamal tells parts of his childhood with his brother Salim, his crush for Latika and their fight to survive on the streets to justify each correct answer, guided by his common sense and past experience, and prove his innocence.


  • If there was anyway to make Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? relevant again, Slumdog Millionaire is the film to do it. This is an adaptation from the 2005 novel Q & A, about Jamal, played by Dev Patel (The Newsroom), as we learn about how he has come to know the answers to the questions set on the show via flashbacks. Slumdog Millionaire is a fantastic and fascinating feel good film and you know when Danny Boyle is directing, you’re in for a bumpy but brilliant ride.

    The story is well put together, with every moment feeling intense, especially during the moments on the show, even though you know he answers them correctly (until the last question) you can’t help be on the edge of your seat wondering how it’s all going to transpire. It’s a feeling you’ll have right until…
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  • “I’ll wait for you at the train station every day at five.”

    Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire is a masterpiece of sight and sound. Nominated for ten Oscars including Best Picture and Director, Boyle’s film is an unexpected frontrunner in the Oscar race whose stiffest competitor is David Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), which is nominated for thirteen Oscars.

    British director Boyle made his filmmaking debut with Shallow Grave (1995). But it is the critically-lauded drug drama Trainspotting (1996) that made him a sensation. While his films can range from the dreadful such as The Beach (2000) to the inspiring such as Millions (2004), there is a commonality that runs through many of his movies – they are energetic and vibrant.

    There is probably no other film in Boyle’s body of work that exemplifies the essence of his craft than Slumdog Millionaire, a motion picture that encapsulates the wondrous power and beauty of cinema. Slumdog Millionaire is shot on location in the slums of Mumbai, India.

    After a harrowing introduction that establishes the understanding that this is going to be a unique ‘flashback’ film, viewers are treated to a phenomenal opening sequence that is captivatingly-photographed and frenetically-edited to a pulsating, hypnotic Oscar-nominated soundtrack by A. R Rahman whom remarkably is also nominated for a further two Oscars for Best Original Song: ‘O Saya’ and ‘Jai Ho’.

    This sequence is an eye-opener; the gritty and frantic filmmaking allows Boyle to bring out the vibrancy and color of Mumbai slums with startling immediacy (including a nice touch to the presentation of the subtitles).

    Slumdog Millionaire has romance at its core. This is more obvious towards the second third of the film when Jamal (Dev Patel) and Latika (Freida Pinto) become teenagers and begin to feel the flitters of love. Jamal hopes to prove his love to Latika by joining India’s version of the popular game-show ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’.

    He makes his way to the top albeit accusations of cheating. Well, how can a slumdog know everything? He is arrested and interrogated, but explains that he knew the answers already. The film then pours everything it has to the viewers in numerous perfectly-staged flashbacks that reveal in detail how Jamal’s turbulent life in the slums is linked with the questions answered during the game-show.

    Boyle does a brilliant job guiding untrained slum kids to act in front of a moving lens. Furthermore, he does not shy away from capturing true images of unsightly Mumbai and to use it as a beautiful backdrop for his film. The acting is not of the highest order, but it is easy to forgive because most of the cast are either non-professionals or greenhorns in their field. As an ensemble, the cast deliver. But individually, the characters only merely connect to the audience and feel slightly distant.

    Thus, Slumdog Millionaire lacks in raw emotional power of some of this year’s best films including The Wrestler (2008) and Doubt (2008). Boyle wraps the film up neatly and throws in a high-impact Bollywood dance sequence cum end credits that is not to be missed. It has been quite a while since I left the theater with such high spirits.
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