Slumdog Millionaire

Slumdog Millionaire (2008) celebrates the power of love to overcome all obstacles. Driven by his love for a girl he meets when he is only eight years old, a young boy dedicates his life to finding her after he and his brother escape the clutches of a child abuser who pimps street kids for money. 

Knowing that she loves watching a TV game show and using his childhood experiences to answer difficult questions, he enters the Indian version of ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’ contest so that she will be able to see him on television and thereby find each other.  

This story is so well told with such bold and authentic visual style and the most adorable children, that it will totally capture your heart.

My favorite types of stories are those positive, uplifting, hero adventure stories where the hero must struggle against all odds; corruption, and criminals, to find a loved one or to restore something that was lost or stolen. The hero must survive the loss of loved ones, or enslavement to fight against those that would destroy him and his world.

Slumdog Millionaire has all these epic elements and tells its story with great uplifting enthusiasm. But this film has so much more going for it. Besides the brilliant, extremely frenetic cinematography and authentic locations in one of the biggest and most vibrant slums in Mumbai India, and the rapid and frantic editing, it tells the story of our hero Jamal, a boy from the slums of Mumbai who is accused of cheating on the Indian version of the game show ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire?’

We follow three characters at three different stages of life and cut between three stories. As Jamal is being interrogated in one story he must explain how from his life experiences he comes to know the answers to the difficult questions he has been asked on the game show.

The film cuts wildly from the game show questions to Jamal’s life growing up in the slums to the interrogation by the police with a wonderful mix of exhilarating Bollywood music by A.R. Rahman and Sri Lankan singer MIA. 

But the film is no sentimental melodrama like most Bollywood films. This film feels as immediate and realistic as a documentary by putting the viewer right in the middle of the gritty action, and is full of suspense and action packed with chase sequences and near escapes. There is so much to see in the film that I enjoyed my second viewing even more than the first time, as I was able to appreciate and wonder at how some of the sights were achieved.

What really stands out in this film, is its positive spirit and the people’s exuberance for life in the overcrowded bustling city of Mumbai and India. The hero’s determination to find the woman he loves and to be a winner in her eyes is what keeps us hooked in the story.

This is a rare film that seems to bring together, and orchestrates all these elements effortlessly, despite the amazing things we are seeing. It’s no wonder it has won every award going. This is one movie I am looking forward to seeing again on Blu-ray.

Based on the Novel Q&A by Vikas Swarup and adapted for the screen by Simon Beaufoy it was wonderfully directed by British director Danny Boyle who previously directed such movies as Trainspotting, A Life Less Ordinary, The Beach, 28 Days Later, Millions, and Sunshine.

The name Slumdog is a hybrid of the word Underdog and the Slums where the story takes place and where the hero Jamal grows up with his older brother Salim. Non actors where used to portray young versions of our hero and two of the children are actually from the slums of Mumbai.

All nine kids from the film were flown to Los Angeles to attend the Oscars where Slumdog Millionaire won all the major prizes including best Picture. Upon their return to Mumbai the Indian Government has offered the two kids from the slums and their parents a permanent residence paid for by the Government because they have done India proud.

- 8 Oscars including Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Cinematography, Editing , Sound Mixing, Score, and Song
- 7 Bafta Awards including Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Cinematography, Editing, Music, and Sound.
- 4 Golden Globes including Best Picture Drama, Director, Screenplay, and Original Score
- Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
- Writers Guild of America for Best Adapted Screenplay
- Director’s Guild of America for Outstanding Directorial Achievement
- Producer’s Guild of America for Best Picture
- American Cinema Editors Award for Best Edited Feature Film
- American Society of Cinematographers for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography
- Art Director’s Guild for Excellence in Production Design in Contemporary films
- British Independent Film Awards for Best British Independent Film, Director, and Most Promising Newcomer – Dev Patel
- Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards for Best Picture, Director, Writer, Composer, and Young Actor under 21 – Dev Patel
- Satellite Awards for Best Motion Picture Drama, Director, and Original Score.
- National Board of Review Awards for Best Film, Adapted Screenplay, and Breakthrough Performance Male – Dev Patel
- New York Film Critics Circle Awards for Best Cinematography
- Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards for Best Director.
- The People’s Choice Award for most popular film at the Toronto Film Festival.
- The list goes on…


Anonymous said...

yes, i loved slumdog millionaire! the only scene i did not like was when he jumped into a hole of poo to get an autograph, only for it to be sold by his brother >:(

Anonymous said...

Hey uncle John! pretty cool blog, I must say. That last comment was mine, I didnt use an identity...

Lubna said...

Mumbai is my hometown and yes, our city does have a never say die spirit. That said, some politicians want to drive away many immigrants -- it is true that Mumbai is bursting at its seams, but then India is one big country and I don't see how the inflow of immigrants who come to India in search of opportunities with dreams in their eyes can be stopped.I wish opportunities could be created in rural areas, fragmented farming needs to give way to cooperative farming, better education, better sanitation in rural areas alone will stop this influx into Mumbai. Politicians need to tackle the root cause rather than saying we don't want immigrants in our city.