Film and Food

Movies reviews with matching food – eat, watch, enjoy

Best Picture – Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

Starring Dev Patel, Freida Pinto & Anil Kapoor

Rating 9/10 

Slumdog Millionaire isn’t a Bollywood themed Hollywood film, there’s more to it than that. This incredible movie is about love, loss and overcoming adversity! Set in the manic streets of India, Slumdog Millionaire follows three characters through a traumatic childhood and into the rough adult world, where mercy is saved for the rich.

It all begins on the set of India’s version of ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’. 18 year old Jamal Malik (Patel) is one question away from the grand prize. Just before he answers this last quessie, he is arrested on the grounds that he’s a cheat because he’s an uneducated slumdog, who shouldn’t know the answers. The police try to beat the ‘truth’ out of him but the fact is that he actually knows the answers because of his life experiences.

The film then flashes back to Jamal’s childhood where he lives with his mum and his brother, Salim  (Madhur Mittal) in the Bombay slums and then follows his life from five years old until the ‘Millionaire’ hot seat. Each flashback reveals why Jamal knew the answer to each question, answers that he sometimes wishes he didn’t know because the memories are painful. A lot of his life has been spent on the run with his heartless brother and the love of his life Latika (Pinto) whom he kept misplacing.

Eventually, the police let him go back to the game show to answer the final question. But Jamal’s motivation isn’t money, never has been, never will be. He had decided to go on the show so that he could track down his long lost love in a city of 90 million people. He has gone through all this hell, so that Latika would see him and seek him out.

On the final question, Jamal decides to phone his brother and Latika answers but unfortunately she cannot help him. But he doesn’t care, he’s just happy to hear that she’s ok. I won’t spoil the ending for you, but let’s just say that it’s very Bollywood.

This is a fantastic movie. Some people are put off by the potentially depressing theme of Indian slums, child labour and abuse but it is really a victorious film. The characters are so strong, the story is brilliant and the performances are flawless, especially from Patel. It’s great to see some famous Bollywood faces in the cast as well as most of us Westerners wouldn’t have any idea who they are.

The music is fantastic and the direction has Danny Boyle’s fingerprints all over it, pure brilliance! If you haven’t seen this Best Picture winner, what are you waiting for? It’s a great film full of heart, of life and love and you won’t be sorry you watched it. So go for it!

Slumdog Millionaire Trivia:

  • Budget – $15 million
  • The actor who lands in the helicopter (Amitabh Bachchan ) in one of the first scenes is a big star in India and a former host of the local production of ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’.
  • The earnings of the three youngest actors (real slum kids) were put into a trust account to be paid out when they finish school at 16 years of age. They have also been given a rickshaw driver to take them to school every day.
  • The poo pit that young Jamal jumps into was actually made from a peanut butter and chocolate mix, thank goodness!
  • Many manufacturers didn’t want to be associated with the film because it was set in slum areas, so they asked that their emblems be removed from sight. (Including Mercedes-Benz and Indian cola brand Thums Up)
  • The opera that Jamal and Samil get to see is based on a Greek myth where Orpheus travels to the underworld to bring back his wife who has died, echoing the extent that Jamal is goes to in order to bring back Latika from a world very much like hell.
  • A friend of mine who had lived in India for some time said that the locals adore this film. In fact they love it so much they take their young children to see it. It’s because it paints India in an honest light and motivates young Indians to make their country a better and more just place for others!
We’re now on the home straight. Next time, we’re watching the amazing film, The Hurt Locker, starring a few unknowns (yippee), Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty. Check it out!

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3 comments on “Best Picture – Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

  1. Pingback: Best Picture – The Artist (2011) & 1920s delights | Film and food

  2. Pingback: Best Picture – The Artist (2011) & French Hollywood fare | Film and Food

  3. Pingback: Best Picture – The Artist (2011) | Film and Food

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