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Year:
2008
Country:
USA, UK
Genre:
Crime, Drama, Thriller, Romance
IMDB rating:
8.0
Director:
Danny Boyle, Loveleen Tandan

 

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Dev Patel as Youngest Jamal
Saurabh Shukla as Sergeant Srinivas
Anil Kapoor as Prem
Jeneva Talwar as Vision Mixer
Freida Pinto as Latika
Irrfan Khan as Police Inspector
Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail as Youngest Salim
Ayush Mahesh Khedekar as Youngest Jamal
Jira Banjara as Airport Security Guard
Sheikh Wali as Airport Security Guard
Sanchita Choudhary as Jamal's Mother
Himanshu Tyagi as Mr Nanda
Slumdog Millionaire Storyline: The story of Jamal Malik, an 18 year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai, who is about to experience the biggest day of his life. With the whole nation watching, he is just one question away from winning a staggering 20 million rupees on India's (2000) (Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?) But when the show breaks for the night, police arrest him on suspicion of cheating; how could a street kid know so much? Desperate to prove his innocence, Jamal tells the story of his life in the slum where he and his brother grew up, of their adventures together on the road, of vicious encounters with local gangs, and of Latika, the girl he loved and lost. Each chapter of his story reveals the key to the answer to one of the game show's questions. Each chapter of Jamal's increasingly layered story reveals where he learned the answers to the show's seemingly impossible quizzes. But one question remains a mystery: what is this young man with no apparent desire for riches really ...
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Reviews
Slumdog is seriously overrated
Now the Oscar dust has settled, what remains of Slumdog Millionaire? Nothing much. Slumdog was a victim of its own buzz and the hype that surrounded it was, naturally, unsustainable. Watching the film on DVD, I was aware of its severe limitations as a cinematic experience. Originally intended for a DVD/TV crossover, the film very much belongs to that genre. The biggest problem of the film is its adult protagonist played by Dev Patel. For UK viewers, he is best known as one of the ex-cast members of the overrated teen drama Skins, and it's this TV baggage he brings to Slumdog. Furthermore, he is not the charismatic hero of Bollywood film but very average looking and limited in his acting talents. His co-star Freida Pinto as the adult Latika doesn't have to do much except look beautiful, and she does that very well. Embarrassingly, both are upstaged by the trio of child actors who bring a daring self-effacement to their roles. Is is they who bring a haunting authenticity to the film, being slumdog children themselves; and it's this blurring of roles and reality that is so intriguing.

Why is it overrated? The film's central conceit of the Millionaire quiz and flashbacks is clever at the start but soon loses its effect. Director Danny Boyle is confused about where to reveal the origin of the answer – sometimes it's revealed after the question is asked; other times it's revealed before. There's an inconsistency about the flow of this narrative strategy and often I found myself guessing the outcome before it came and I don't want to be in this situation in a film.

The film's dynamic flow staggers midway and the linear narrative takes hold. What we get is a run-of-the mill Bollywood romance that seems too Hollywood for its own sake. The final scenes are desperately out of place in the film and seem insulting to the audience following many harrowing scenes. To say the film's ending is badly handled is an understatement. Boyle seems to have been confused about how to end the film, so what we get is an abrupt cutaway to the protagonist Jamal, sitting like a beggar in the station despite being the most famous TV star in Mumbai. Just didn't ring true. The Bollywood credits further reinforces the trivial tone. No wonder it won so many Oscars!
2009-06-15
An average film. Nothing worth the buzz!
I'm honestly surprised about the recognition and buzz about this film throughout the world. And 10 Oscar nominations!! Man.! How are stupidity and ridiculousness instantly absorbed and appreciated by people without hesitation? OK. let me be pragmatic in my turning down this film as average.

Most things about the film is clichéd. Every damn bad thing imaginable in India happens to the protagonist. But the protagonist overcomes them all. In a way, it confirms what many outside India think about India. People rolling in sh*t, dirty slums, caste based riots, begging, cheating, poverty, cunningness blah blah. All packed in one tight container name "Slumdog Millionaire". The only good souls in the movie are Jamal and Latika (and perhaps amitabh who generously signs autograph for a fan drenched in sh*t). We call this type of movies as "mas ala" in India. No logic. Lots of action. Fast paced screenplay. The protagonist finally smile along with his lady-love who does nothing essentially but just dances in a few songs. (Danny has satisfied even this criterion by making the duo dance with a suddenly formed gang in the railway station at the end of the movie) A typical bolly-Hollywood mas ala movie. A few questions.. How can a slumdog get the answers for every damn question from his life and win 2 crores of rupees? How can slum dogs speak such an excellent English to cheat the foreigners by impersonating themselves as guides? And did you notice their perfect slang?! Rupees is never mentioned in millions. Another attempt toplease the western audience rather than attempting to bring about the truth. Truth? damn! who needs it?! Why did Jamal reject the host's help? Why did the show host suddenly turn villainous? Why did Jamal's brother let Latika go at the last minute and get killed after ceremoniously killing the gang leader? My god! height of insanity.

Certain parts of it are awesome without doubt. Music, screenplay, cinematography. The way the slum has been captured in the police- chasing-the-boys scene is really appreciable. A.R.Rahman is God. But these are nothing to justify the hero-worship the movie is getting. I'm not bothered about India being portrayed in this way by a foreigner. I just expected truth and naturalness which are greatly missing. 6 votes!
2009-01-28
Over-rated
My summary line alone would likely attract tons of "not agree". So be it.

As one critic (one sensible one out of many) puts it, strip away the "Who wants to be a millionaire" this is quite an ordinary movie. This goes to show how far one clever idea can go in achieving commercial success. Add to that Hollywood's soft spot for things exotic, there goes the Oscar. But Oscar does from time to time reward entertainment value, two recent examples being "Chicago" and "Titanic". Expertly crafted, "Millionaire" suffers in comparison with none in this department. Melodramatic to the bones, it offers you in profusions clichés in abundance: Oliver Twist style childhood, girlfriend in hand of gangsters, underdog triumph, rags to riches, "destiny" (whatever it means).

The one clever idea is linking the otherwise banal story to the world famous "Do you want to be a millionaire show". The movie starts with the interrogation of Jamal in a Mumbai police station in the night after he finished the day's game show with just one last question that will give him the final, top prize. A video tape of the game show earlier is used in the interrogation, allowing the movie to flashback to the game show and from there, through each question, back to the life story of Jamal. This clever set up, together with good directing, editing, cinematography, background music, sound (here I am, of course, running off a list of the Oscars this movie has won), makes "Millionaire" a tremendously successful commercial proposition.

Dev Patel, despite his youthful look, brings good depth to the character Jamal. While not as glamorous as Aishwarya Rai ("The mistress of spice", 2005), Freida Pinto is lovely as Jamal's childhood sweetheart Latika, capturing the hearts of the audience along the way. The other characters are generally stereotype. The two young actors who play "middle" (as opposed to "youngest") Jamal and Latika are excellent: Tanay Chheda and Tanvi Ganesh Lonkar.

As this is a Hollywood movie, it wouldn't do to have Bollywood style song-and-dance every five minutes. But to give it a Bollywood feel, the movie makers had a clever idea of introducing a Bollywood dance number right at the end (one which I enjoyed tremendously). Clever, but not original. Takeshi Kitano did this in Zatoichi (2003), to thunderous applause. Both movie, incidentally, were voted the People's Choice Award in their respective years in the Toronto International Film Festival.
2009-02-27
Over-hyped and clichéd
Only a few films live up to their hype e.g American Beauty, No Country for Old Men, Brokeback Mountain etc. I was eager to see how this one was and I was infuriated. Anyone who has no idea of India, will after viewing this film think that India is an anarchy where cops play cards while watching men burning alive and chase street kids right upto their houses. The same person will also think that India is a morally corrupt nation where winning contestants on a game show are handed over to the police for third degree torture and where the audience laughs in delight when crass comments are passed on the contestant's poverty. Has Danny Boyle even watched the Indian version of Who wants to be a Millionaire? Mr. Bachchan was the most courteous towards all the contestants. He won everyone's heart with his humility. Anil Kapoor here makes the viewer want to punch him in the face. Plus the uneducated protagonist of the film who speaks British English! Wow! And this despite the fact that all around him speak in Indian English.The most angering aspect was the portrayal of the magnanimous hindu community who prey upon the hapless(!) Muslim minority. And the portrayal of Lord Raam should make the blood boil of any devotee. I dare Danny Boyle to make a similar portrayal of Jesus Christ or Prophet Muhammad. He will be promptly butchered.And also all street children don't end up in begging rings and gangs. They fall into good hands too. A guy who's Mercedes has been stripped bare pays the accused kid $100?? Talk about the white man's burden in the post modern world!!A blind beggar knows who is on a $ 100 bill?? A teenage Salim knows Colt 45? Indians are film crazy but no one will jump and wade through excreta to get an autograph of any film star. Plus, is the name of the third musketeer so unfamiliar that one has to pose as a question for Rs 2 million????? And whats the fuss made about Freida Pinto's performance?? Her performance was even more insipid than the rest of the cast. How can a battered girl who is not allowed to step outside drive?? And does Salim's heart change when he sees his lil' bro win millions?? Why cant he escape himself? And can a man who has won two million in a game show go unnoticed in CS Terminus, one of the most crowded places on earth? The only saving grace are the child actors. They are a welcome relief in this otherwise insipid film.

Had this movie been made by a Bollywood director or even some prominent Hollywood director, it would have been labelled as trash which it is. And I'm shocked at the academy. Yes, AR Rehman should win at least one, but that's it. But then what do you expect from Oscars which can ignore a movie like Dark Knight? Or which can award a hideous Chicago best picture in place of the Pianist? I think this time the tradition will be followed. And I'm aghast by the overwhelming approval by western audiences…get a life, guys and leave India alone if you cant portray it correctly.
2009-02-14
Terribly contrived
This film left me with one thought, "So what?"

This is a movie without any act of heroism, and simply another movie aimed at trashing the concept of living a purposeful life with goals.

It expresses the modern day philosophy that says if you are born in poverty you cannot help yourself other than through luck (winning a game show).

Why not tell an inspiring story of a "slumdog" becoming a successful businessman, overcoming various obstacles that inevitably come life's way, and developing a parallel story showing how and why he falls in love with the girl of his dreams?

The theme of the movie has been misleadingly portrayed as a moral comment on today's global recession and in particular we are shown a character who cares more about the concept of love than money. This is demonstrated in the less than dramatic and completely contrived climax when the lead character attempts the final question knowing he does not know the answer and simply makes a guess.

We are being asked to accept that a poor kid in love would willingly give up the winnings he has accrued to date because the woman he loved answered the mobile phone when he decided to use a lifeline and "phone a friend" in attempting to find the answer to this last question. Of course, he did not know she would answer it, but it seemed he had already made some inexplicable decision to gamble his accrued winnings.

In this situation, any reasoned person would accept his winnings to date, collect the cheque, and put the money towards investing in a career through which he could support his (supposed) future wife - and use the money to invest in her career as well.

But no, he gambles all that potential life enhancing value because of love. The ending and the last 30 minutes were nothing more than contrived nonsense.

In fact the love story itself was limp - there was no rhyme nor reason as to why the lead character was in love with his girl; there was such limited dialogue and interaction between the two of them that they may as well been passing strangers.

The idea of portraying scenarios explaining why the lead character knew the answers was interesting - to a point - and did explain his upbringing, though as many have noted, quite how he progressed to well-spoken English is left unexplained.

The vignettes themselves were uninspiring as stories in themselves - quite what is so funny about a boy covered in faeces I am not so sure; lame humour at a kid's expense. This was followed by episodes of child torture and criminality - malevolent stuff indeed.
2009-01-29
Bad Movie
I frankly don't know why people in my country India were really excited about this movie and of course it won 3 Oscar's but is it worth it?

I think anyone who had not heard Rahman's music before only can applaud for a real stupid like Jai Ho it was not that bad though but an Oscar is really not needed,Rahman is lot better than that in fact he is the maestro.

Coming to the movie there are some real logical mistakes,what kind of a parson working in a call center would ask his peon to do his work which involves speaking in a very formal accent and show me a slum dweller from any part of the world who speaks a formal accent and many more other goofs.

Coming to the performances dev patel acted very badly and he never looked like a person from the slum but the kids and female lead gave good performances the kids were ultimate.

The camera work and the screenplay was good the music was good though the bad song won the Oscar other songs like O Saya,Gansta Blues were good.

Overall this was a bad try of making a movie of the quality of Cidade de deus.For Indians and Asians it is waste of time to watch this movie and others u will get a glimpse of making style of Indian movies.
2009-07-15
Terrible film, disgrace to Hollywood and film
How can this film be described? A number of things pop up quickly such as Inaccurate and Exaggerated.

The plot just like the portrayal of India is completely unrealistic While film has the ability to be imaginative and creative it should never cross the line where it insults the viewers intelligence. And boy does it insinuate a lot. We have to believe that some person from a poor background has a memory that just so happens to answer every question in Millionaire. First the movie puts down a great country and people who do not have very good lives and then it is plausible for this person to know all the answers because he has 'experienced' life. Unless he is similar to Michael Ross from Suits and has a photographic memory this is ludicrous.

This movie portrays a flawed but beautiful country in a very poor and negative light. It focuses on the negative aspects of India such as its poverty and sadly that is all we see. However in reality Mumbai has a number of beautiful parts and in certain areas it is quite heavenly. A number of key settings and themes is completely exaggerated. Bribery does exist in government but this is mostly at an administrative level, where a 'gift' can expedite something. Slums are a problem and exist on the outskirts of the city - very important to note. Over time they developed as a result of people with no education, prospects or savings who started living on the outer side of the big city because they found it hard to earn a living. Sadly India does not have welfare or assistance in the commercial and capitalist capital of the country. They lived illegally and still do on city grounds and rake in income by an means possible, sadly this involves having many children to beg for money. As you can imagine this behavior has compounded and out of control but - not a central part of the city. Slums and slum live is not Mumbai or India and is a lie in film to show a country exists in this state.

What is disheartening is Dev Patel and Frieda Pinto and the Indian production staff who exploited their own country and they know is a lot better for some Hollywood stardom. When you have cowardice and people with no backbone within the country what do you expect? They were too happy to serve India's head on a platter to a Western audience that is constantly happy to see poverty and sadness in other countries to feel better about themselves. An audience that would like to see differences of a third world so they can ignore the shortcomings in their own backyard which is why this film was well received, lets not deny it.

This movie showed waste in India but the real waste is the film itself. It is a disgrace to a great nation, a lie broadcast to Hollywood and an over exaggerated movie. I think I can pin point when the Academy awards lost its credibility.
2017-02-05
A Very ordinary movie or may be even less than ordinary...
When suddenly there came a phenomenon which proclaimed India's arrival at the world cinema stage , the cynic in me rubbished the whole thing as a gimmick. The credibility of the academy awards has taken a severe beating due to constant and regular stoop downs over the years.

Take for example Rocky (1976-77) or Training day .Please forgive me but i seriously have my doubts over the claim of Gandhi as an Oscar winner. A Beautiful Mind, American Beauty ....you name the movie and all that is there for us to see is mediocrity. mediocrity in direction,in screenplay writing and most importantly in characterisation and acting. Just like the mannerisms of Kingsley in Gandhi were hardly Indian Slumdog is hardly in touch with the reality which it wants to realistically potray. Firstly, Indians do not speak or talk or laugh or react the way they do in this movie. All their sensibilities, dialouges emotions and reactions are completely western. The movie is melodramatic to the point of being called bollywood jargon. I can bet my life on this that there have been brilliant Hindi movies with brilliant Hindi actors which should have won Oscars but didn't merely because the content they supplied was intrinsically Indian.I would like to compare Slumdog with Khosla ka Khosla . KKG is a new generation mainstream Hindi movie which quite realistically depicts the life of a middle class Indian and his family. their manner of speaking, laughing, their emotions are so honestly depicted that one cannot think otherwise.

Slumdog to be honest is a farce . Not only does it lack honesty but also credibility. It is a typical feel god movie with ordinary performances by most of the cast. Dev Patel and Frieda Pinto are not impressive at all. The success of Slumdog thus once again proves that the Americans cannot treat foreign cinema like it deserves to be. Unless a movie has been made in line with American sensibilities it won't succeed at their award ceremonies.
2009-06-15
Danny Boyle has insulted the noble art of film making by making a piece of non sense
My vote for this piece of junk is 0 out of 10.It is a politically incorrect film as its title is an insult to poor people who live in slums.Simon Beaufoy has done a bad job by mocking poor people.It is my guess that he did all this to influence audiences as the title of the original book written by Vikas Swarup is Q & A There is nothing worth seeing as Danny Boyle has copied Bollywood style of making films.His film is also a stupid flick as he has put famous Indian monument to win praises from White people who go to India only to see that monument.The entire flick is fit only to be a television soap opera.This film will not benefit Hindi cinema of India as Hollywood will always typecast Indian actors as they have been doing with actors from Hong Kong.This is a film whose success in the west will surely assure that not many tourists go to India as no one would want to go there to see poverty,crime and discrimination.This film is a kind of artistic terrorism.Stay away from it as you have been warned about its dangers.
2009-01-22
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