This film–along with its doughty protagonist, Jamal Malik–imlodes with passion, adversity, and (most of all) hope. The movie about which I’m writing is “Slumdog Millionaire,” which I now consider to best best film I’ve seen to date.
The story of Jamal Malik, an 18 year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai, who is about to experience the biggest day of his life. With the whole nation watching, he is just one question away from winning a staggering 20 million rupees on India’s “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” But when the show breaks for the night, police arrest him on suspicion of cheating; how could a street kid know so much? Desperate to prove his innocence, Jamal tells the story of his life in the slum where he and his brother grew up, of their adventures together on the road, of vicious encounters with local gangs, and of Latika, the girl he loved and lost. Each chapter of his story reveals the key to the answer to one of the game show’s questions. Each chapter of Jamal’s increasingly layered story reveals where he learned the answers to the show’s seemingly impossible quizzes. But one question remains a mystery: what is this young man with no apparent desire for riches really doing on the game show? When the new day dawns and Jamal returns to answer the final question, the Inspector and sixty million viewers are about to find out. At the heart of its storytelling lies the question of how anyone comes to know the things they know about life and love. Written by Fox Searchlight Pictures
I went to see “Slumdog Millionaire” with two friends of mine; we went into it with high expectations. Positive feedback spread like wildfire as news got out (via word-of-mouth, no less) that the movie was a remarkable and fresh movie-going experience. Armed with a bottle of water and a bag of Sour Patch Kids, I sat in the theater and waited to be blown away, as I’d heard I’d be at the end of the movie. Within the first ten minutes, my jaw had already dropped to the floor several times as adverse scenes of both absolute poverty and extreme wealth flickered in front of me. By the end of the 120 minutes, I had laughed out loud at the characters’ antics, had tears well up in my eyes when the scenes playing out before me were too hard to imagine, had my hands cupped over my mouth when I was in absolute shock, and had my teeth clenched together as I waited for answers.
It sounds cliché to say that a movie is inventive and rare; however, this movie–based on the novel Q & A–is one of the most exceptional and inspired films I’ve seen to date, and the critics agree. “Slumdog Millionaire” is up for four Golden Globe awards, and it is the top contender in each of the categories for which it is nominated. It it up for Best Director (Danny Boyle), Best Drama, Best Original Score (A.R. Rahman), and Best Screenplay (Simon Beaufoy). Innumerable awards have already been given to the film’s actors, writers, and crew. Its breakout stars, including Dev Patel, have become internationally recognized and accaimed for their work in this film.
If you’d like more information on the movie, check out IMDB. There, you will find the cast list, production notes, plot summaries, comments, and more.
As a side note, the soundtrack for “Slumdog Millionaire” is absolutely sensational. It mixes beautiful, traditional Indian vocals and melodies with Western infuences (enter artists like M.I.A.). The track list can be found at Wikipedia, but I’ll save you a click.
- “O… Saya” performed by A. R. Rahman, M.I.A.
- “Riots” by A. R. Rahman
- “Mausam & Escape” by A. R. Rahman
- “Paper Planes” performed by M.I.A.
- “Paper Planes (DFA Remix)” performed by M.I.A.
- “Ringa Ringa” by A. R. Rahman featuring Alka Yagnik, Ila Arun
- “Liquid Dance” by A. R. Rahman featuring Palakkad Sriram, Madhumitha
- “Latika’s Theme” by A. R. Rahman featuring Suzanne D’Mello
- “Aaj Ki Rat” performed by Sonu Nigam, Mahalakshmi Iyer, Alisha Chinai
- “Millionaire” by A. R. Rahman featuring Madhumitha
- “Gangsta Blues” by A. R. Rahman featuring BlaaZe, Tanvi Shah
- “Dreams on Fire” by A. R. Rahman featuring Suzanne D’Mello
- “Jai Ho” by A. R. Rahman featuring Sukhwinder Singh, Tanvi Shah, Mahalakshmi Iyer