Jan 13, 2009

Movie 08: Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

Slumdog Millionaire, the movie which is being spoken about all over. The movie which has won critical acclaim and awards right since the time it has been screened in various film festivals all across the globe. It’s quite an unusual phenomenon when one single movie which is based on a person from the below poverty line, who lives in shanties of the most popular city of India is unanimously loved by every person who watches it. So what is the reason behind all the publicity which this movie has managed to garner for itself? Is it actually worth the effort and the time which you’d invest to watch the movie in the first place? Any question phrased in any manner possible which seeks an answer to the question if this movie should be seen; the answer without any doubts whatsoever is YES, DEFINITELY. YOU SHOULD WATCH THIS MOVIE. NO EXCEPTIONS.

The story of the movie unravels in parts and in an extremely innovative manner. And with every part you witness a transition in terms of age and time in lives of Jamal Malik (played by Dev Patel of TV Series Skins) and other prime characters of the movie i.e. Salim (Jamal’s elder brother played by Madhur Mittal) and Latika (Jamal’s love interest in the movie played by Freida Pinto). The rest of the characters in the movie are played by some of the finest Indian actors namely Irrfan Khan, Anil Kapoor, Saurabh Shukla etc. The soundtrack of the movie which is rightly winning accolades, rave reviews and awards from all corners is given by A.R. Rahman.

Slumdog Millionaire is one of the very few movies which can manage to win over hearts of the audience not because of actor’s performance, or the music, or any other parameter. Although every soul connected with the project has given their best and is an important part of the movie, BUT it’s the story and its impeccable execution by the director which takes the cake.

Based on a book titled ‘Q and A’ written by an Indian Novelist and diplomat named ‘Vikas Swarup’; directed by Danny Boyle (of Sunshine, 28 Days Later…, and The Beach fame) and co-directed by Lovleen Tandan, Slumdog Millionaire is the story of Jamal Malik who’s being interrogated by the cops. What’s he being interrogated for you might ask? Well, he’s being convicted of cheating and knowing all the answers (which he’s not expected to know because he’s a guy from the slums) and winning a handsome amount in the Indian counterpart of one of the most popular game shows in history of television ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?’. The movie starts at an extremely intriguing note and keeps you hooked right till the end. So does Jamal actually cheat to win the money or does he know all the answers? If he knows all the answers, how does he manage to know them all? Why does he enter the game show in the first place? Watch the movie to get answers to all these questions and also get the answer to the question, ‘So what exactly makes this movie so special?’ by yourself.

To sum it all up, I’d like to say if you’re one of those few people who watch only one movie in an entire year, make sure its Slumdog Millionaire for this year.

Surreal Nirvana readers can choose to buy the book 'Q and A' on which the movie is based through Amazon via Surreal Nirvana Store. The DVD of the movie is yet to release and details about the same would be updated on the blog at a later date. To know more about the Surreal Nirvana Store, Click Here.

Click Here to buy the book 'Q and A' written by 'Vikas Swarup' (Slumdog Millionaire Cover)
Click Here to buy the book 'Q and A' written by 'Vikas Swarup'

Click Here to check Slumdog Millionaire on Wikipedia and Click Here to check Slumdog Millionaire on IMDB.

Manish :)
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  1. Okay so I suppose I'm the only one then who's NOT gaga about the movie (read here). Sigh.

  2. I've been wanting to watch this for FOREVER.

    I like how you've managed to talk about the film without giving away everything...if it were me, I would have divulged in all of the details, especially with a story like this one.

    I'm so glad this film won Best Picture at the Golden Globes, it's such a great thing for India.

  3. @ Shobhna & Jessica: I'm glad you liked the review. Thanks for your sweet comments. Hope to see you'll more often on Surreal Nirvana :)

  4. Thanks for the review. I was wondering what all the hype was about.

  5. @ Young Traveler: I'm really happy you liked what you read about the movie. Make sure you keep coming back for many more recommendations. Also feel free to ask about any other particular movie which you're confused about next time. I'd be glad to help if I can.

  6. Not at all a commendable movie.....I would have to say....it is not worth spending a bomb on the tickets to the cinemas for this movie....The message is understood.....but the portrayal of the most beloved cities & its life is not realistic or at par with today's situation......It should have portrayed a more subtler & the actual heart of the city of dreams for millions...Mumbai & what it brings to everyones' lives everyday.

  7. @ Rush: Well being a true Mumbaite myself I can completely identify with your complaint and concerns. But at the same time I don't think the portrayal of the slums of Mumbai is over exaggerated in the movie. I'm not sure if people are aware that more than half of Mumbai's population lives in slums. The city is bursting at the seams and the condition of people living below the poverty line is truly miserable. You're correct when you mention that the city is being shown in bad light by focusing only on the slums and shanties but then the viewers worldwide are not foolish and don't have a myopic sense of understanding to create an impression about the city based on a fictional movie which lasts for a little more than 2 hours. Not to forget slums are depicted in similar manner in movies which are made in India as well, this movie is being put under the scanner probably because it's directed by a foreigner and is being screened worldwide. And the fact that you didn't like the movie, as a viewer you're free to have an opinion and I totally respect your decision. Although I'm sorry my recommendation with regards to this movie didn't work for you. Nonetheless, please keep visiting Surreal Nirvana for many more recommendations. I'm sure you'll like others. Let’s consider Slumdog Millionaire an exception for now in your case. Hope to see you back soon. And thanks for your thoughtful comment.

  8. I definitely agree with everything in your post-- I adored this movie (controversial or not!). But your last comment really intrigued me, as well, and I liked reading your take on it's depiction of Mumbai slums. As someone on the other side of the ocean, I'm one of the people who many Indians seem to be afraid may think that all of India is like that. But really, this movie just made my desire to visit even stronger, because there is already so much good there, and much more good that can be done still. As in any country, really!