Slumdog Millionaire

Slumdog Millionaire

(May Contain Spoilers!)

~ Mahvish Qureshi ‘10

Nominated for 10 Oscars, this movie has captured millions of viewers. The movie depicts the harsh circumstances of a teenage boy and his brother growing up in the slums of Mumbai. Driven by love, the boy, Jamal, tries out as a contestant for the show Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Jamal goes through the show slowly working his way up to the final question, which is left for the following day’s show. As he is leaving the game show he is arrested by the police for cheating, after all how could a boy growing up in the slums answer correctly all the questions in a show that scholars have attempted and failed at answering ? It is this question that drives the movie.

The audience is enraptured as they learn of Jamal’s story and how every question asked to him just happened to come out of his life story. The audience watches as the police officer questions how Jamal knows the answer to each question. Each part of Jamal’s story explains how he knew the answer to the show’s questions. Through this amazing screen play in which the questions on the show tie into Jamal’s life story, the audience learns about the streets of Mumbai and the childhood that Jamal shared with his brother, Salim; from the time their mother was killed in Hindu-Muslim riots to the local gangs on the streets and to the love of Jamal’s life, Latika, who was a fellow orphan growing up on the streets of Mumbai. Together the three of them, were taken to an orphanage when they were found sleeping on the streets. At first the orphanage seems like heaven, copious amounts of food, lots of play time, but soon reality hits them that the orphanage was actually training them to be beggars. Young boys would be blinded; after all blind singers make more money than those that can see. Salim and Jamal escape but Latika is left behind to the cruelties of the ‘orphanage’. Jamal never forgets Latika as he grows up stealing food, selling items on the streets, or giving guided tours at the Taj Mahal. Soon after, all three are reunited for a short time but then due to unfortunate events they are all split up and go in different directions. It isn’t until Jamal is much older that he finds Salim again, but this time working for a gang, and Latika married off unhappily watching Who Wants to be a Millionaire to pass her days. Jamal tries to win her back but when working against a whole gang; things can be a bit complicated. Jamal enters the show as a contestant hoping to get Latika’s attention. Does he succeed? To find out you will have to watch this breathtaking movie about the slums of Mumbai. If you need another good reason to see the film, the producers have said that part of the box-office proceeds will be used to set up a fund for betterment of Mumbai slums.

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