Danny Boyle‘s multi Oscar winning Slumdog Millionaire centres on Jamal Malik (Patel) an orphan from the slums of Mumbai. Jamal is appearing on the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire and is one question away from the 20 million-rupee question when the programme finishes filming for the night. Off air Jamal is arrested accused of cheating and is forced to explain how he knows each answer. The answers form a sequence of events in Jamals adventure filled life.
Slumdog won 8 Oscars at the ceremony earlier this year and because of that viewing it comes with a weight of expectation of great things. The story is colourful and vibrant the audience is invited along for the story of Jamal, his brother, Salim, and the love of his life Latika and their struggles to rise above the slum they were born into to find a better life for themselves. Each answer on Millionaire, Jamal gives directly corresponds to a chapter in his life – a life that is already multi layered and is both tragic and amusing.
I liked the film but I didn’t love it, the film itself looks great the cinematography is amazing, Jamal seems to spend most of his life running from one situation to another and we are treated to dizzying views of the Mumbai slums and the surrounding increasingly industrialised city. There are beautiful shots and amazing colours as well as children in abject poverty picking their way over rubbish heaps, children being prayed on by adults willing to exploit them, lazy policemen, corrupt gangsters, slick game show hosts and in the centre is Jamal searching for the love of his life. I think for me the story was a little too predictable and it felt too contrived.
The cast are good, Patel conveys the idealistic, slightly innocent dreamer Jamal well whereas Freda Pinto is the breathtakingly beautiful object of his affections. For me though the heart of the film are the children who portray the three central characters as they grow up – they manage to be touching without being cheesy, funny, and most of all they are believable as they steer the way through their perilous existence. For me the story of the children is better than the story of the adults.
I loved the look of the film but for all of the hype I found the story predictable and therefore a little disappointing.
Director – Danny Boyle
Dev Patel – Jamal K Malik
Freida Pinto – Latika
Anil Kapoor – Prem
Madhur Mittal – Older Salim
Ayush Mahesh Khedekar & Tanay Chheda – as Jamal growing up
Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail & Ashutosh Lobo Gajiwala – as Salim growing up
Rubina Ali & Tanvi Ganesh Lonkar- as Latika growing up
Read more at: Nerve Curve