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…it is written…
April 16, 2009, 11:28 am
Filed under: Uncategorized
Slumdog Millionaire

Slumdog Millionaire

“Jamal Malik is one question away from winning 20 million rupees.

How did he do it?

A. He cheated

B. He’s lucky

C. He’s a genius

D. It is written”

Cigarette smoke and bright lights assault Jamal (Dev Patel) as he is interrogated for correctly answering questions on India’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”  How could an uneducated boy from the slums have more knowledge than a computer genius or doctor?  The questions range from “Who was the star of “Zanjeer”?” to “Cambridge Circus is in which U.K. city?”  As the show’s security try to beat the information out of Jamal, flashbacks are weaved through the film.  For 20 years, Jamal has lived as an orphan, forced to steal in order to survive.  He has not been told the answers to the questions, he has lived them.

Roger Ebert said, “A petty thief, impostor and survivor, mired in dire poverty, he improvises his way up through the world and remembers everything he has learned.”  Jamal’s journey is intertwined with his morally wayward brother, Salim (Madhur Mittal), and a captivating beauty named Latika (Freida Pinto).

The film explores Mumbai’s two worlds:  the impoverished and the wealthy.  Indian citizens have always been separated by economic status.  After Bombay turned into Mumbai, the country changed in many ways.  But the city’s growing poverty levels were never given much attention.  “Slumdog Millionaire” shows how the old India and new India overlap.  Never has a film bridged the two with success.

Directed by Danny Boyal, “Slumdog Millionaire” was an immediate success with critics.  Ebert said, “The film uses dazzling cinematography, breathless editing, driving music and headlong momentum to explode with narrative force, stirring in a romance at the same time.”  He predicted that the film could very well win the Academy Award for Best Picture.

On February 22, 2009, the cast, writers, and director walked the red carpet and rubbed elbows with the elite.  Film greats like Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, and Sean Penn expressed their congratulations to the cast and crew, who were nominated for 9 statuettes.  History was made that night when “the little engine” steamed ahead of fellow nominees with 8 Oscar Awards.

  • Achievement in Cinematography
  • Achievement in Directing
  • Achievement in Film Editing
  • Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score)
  • Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song)
  • Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song)
  • Best Motion Picture of the Year
  • Achievement in Sound Editing
  • Achievement in Sound Mixing
  • Adapted Screenplay

The success of “Slumdog Millionaire” will open doors for films set in India, but more importantly, will bridge the economic gap between Mumbai’s wealth and poverty cultures.  BBC News said, “The makers of Slumdog Millionaire have announced they are to donate £500,000 to a charity which will help children living in the slums of Mumbai.” The charity will address the people that have invented alternative means of survival.  The goal is to bring children like Jamal, Salim, and Latika a desperate attempt at hope.

Danny Boyle said, “Having benefited so much from the hospitality of the people of Mumbai it is only right that some of the success of the movie be ploughed back into the city in areas where it is needed most and where it can make a real difference to some lives.”

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