Slumdog Millionaire

Cast: Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Anil Kapoor and Irrfan Khan

Director: Danny Boyle

Being screened at theatres near you

Kathmandu

The long list of four Golden Globes, seven BAFTAs and SAG awards, and 10 Oscar nominations speaks volumes of the brilliance of Slumdog Millionaire.

The movie begins with Jamal (Dev Patel) in police custody being beaten up as he is accused of cheating in the famous show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire hosted by Prem Kumar (Anil Kapoor). It is unacceptable that a boy brought up in the slums and working as a chai-wallah in a call centre can know the answers to all the questions, which even intellectuals have failed to answer till date. It is during the interrogation that he recalls how different incidents that have happened in his life aided him to give the correct answer to each question.

Slumdog Millionaire shows Mumbai in a new light. It’s not the wide roads and high rises or the temples that hold significance, nor is it the life of the rich and the famous that we have been overdosed with in Bollywood films. It captures the life and essence of Mumbai that has been hidden from the outside world — life that goes on in the dirty dingy shanties and narrow lanes, the bitter and harsh reality of life of street children and how inhumane people can be for money. Then the movie shows the clever and cunning ways in which these children move as they get older to survive. It also shows how from a young age, it can be figured out what the person will turn out to be like later on in life. For some like Dev, it’s working as a chai-wallah, as he has no other option to earn a living. His elder brother Salim (Madhur Mittal) chooses a totally different life — that of a gangster. In their world of money and power, relations get discarded and selfishness pervades. However, the most important ingredient that binds all these tales together is Dev’s love for his childhood sweetheart Latika (Freida Pinto) and the fact that fate and destiny determines your life.

Director Danny Boyle has made a movie which though about India, presents it in a totally new way focused on the life and misery of the poor in the slums. However, it in no way tries to be too preachy or heavy. It brings this element out in a realistic format but with humour in just the right places and the right amount.

AR Rahman’s musicm which has received awards, certainly deserves all the accolades as the music complements the movie and takes it forward adding the much needed emotional or strong sentiment to it. From the child actors to the adults, the acting is really impressive.

However, it’s the language that seems a bit awkward. As it is about life in the slums and as they’re speaking in English, it takes time to adjust to it. Though the love factor is the most important aspect, it seems to go way overboard, and quite irrational, in this movie where realism is its strongest point.

Though most might have watched this movie on DVD, watching it on the big screen is a totally different feel, certainly and worth it.