Slumdog Millionaire is a 2008 British film directed by Danny Boyle, written by Simon Beaufoy, and co-directed in India by Loveleen Tandan.It is an adaptation of the novel Q & A (2005) by Indian author and diplomat Vikas Swarup. Set and filmed in India, the film tells the story of Jamal Malik, a young man from the dharavi slums of Mumbai who appears on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (Kaun Banega Crorepati in the Hindi version) and exceeds people's expectations, thereby arousing the suspicions of the game show host and of law enforcement officials.
After its world premiere at Telluride Film Festival and later screenings at the Toronto International Film Festival and the London Film Festival,Slumdog Millionaire initially had a limited North American release on 12 November 2008, to critical acclaim. It later had a nationwide grand release in the United Kingdom on 9 January 2009 and in the United States on 23 January 2009. It premiered in Mumbai on 22 January 2009. It was released on DVD and Blu-ray in the United States on 31 March 2009.
Slumdog Millionaire was nominated for ten Academy Awards in 2009 and won eight, the most for any film of 2008, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay. It also won seven BAFTA Awards (including Best Film), five Critics' Choice Awards, and four Golden Globes.
Eighteen year old Jamal Malik (Dev Patel) is a contestant on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, one question away from the grand prize. However, because Jamal is a former street child from the Juhu slums, the police suspect him of cheating and arrest him the night before the Rs.20,000,000 question. As the police brutally interrogate him, Jamal recounts, through flashbacks, the incidents in his life which provided him with each answer. These flashbacks tell the story of Jamal, his brother Salim (Madhur Mittal), and Latika (Freida Pinto).
The story of Jamal's life includes obtaining the autograph of Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan and the death of his mother during anti-Muslim violence at age five. After their mother's death, Salim and Jamal meet Latika, another street child from their slum. Salim is reluctant to take her in, but Jamal suggests that she could be the "third musketeer", a character from the Alexander Dumas novel whose name they do not know. The three are found by Maman (Ankur Vikal), a gangster who tricks street children into begging money for him. When Jamal, Salim, and Latika learn Maman is blinding children in order to make them more profitable singing beggars, they flee by jumping onto a departing train. Latika catches up and takes Salim's hand, but Salim purposely lets go, and she is recaptured by the gangsters.
Salim and Jamal make a living travelling on top of trains, selling goods, picking pockets, working as dishwashers, and pretending to be tour guides at the Taj Mahal. Jamal eventually insists that they return to Mumbai to find Latika. They discover that she has been raised by Maman to become a prostitute whose virginity is expected to fetch a high price. The brothers rescue her, and Salim draws a gun and kills Maman. After returning to their hotel room, Salim orders Jamal to leave so that he can have sex with Latika. The shocked and furious Jamal attacks Salim, who draws his gun and threatens to kill his brother. Latika intervenes and tells Jamal to leave. Salim later gets a job with Javed (Mahesh Manjrekar), Maman's rival crime lord.
Years later, while working as a tea server at an Indian call centre, Jamal searches the centre's database for Salim and Latika. He succeeds in finding Salim, now a high-ranking lieutenant in Javed's organisation. When the brothers meet, Salim pleads for forgiveness when Jamal violently attacks him. Jamal then bluffs his way into Javed's residence and reunites with Latika. While Jamal professes his love for her, Latika asks him to forget about her. Jamal promises to wait for her every day at 5 o'clock at the CST station. Latika attempts to rendezvous with him, but she is recaptured by Javed's men, led by Salim. Jamal loses contact with Latika when Javed moves to another house, outside of Mumbai.
Jamal tries out for the popular game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, because he knows Latika watches it regularly. He makes it to the final question despite the hostile attitude of the show's host, Prem Kumar (Anil Kapoor), and becomes a wonder across India. However, Kumar and the police find it impossible that a simple "slumdog" could possibly know the answers to so many obscure questions and have him arrested, bringing the story back to the present.
The police inspector (Irrfan Khan) calls Jamal's explanation "bizarrely plausible" and allows him to return to the show. At Javed's safehouse, Latika watches the news coverage of Jamal's miraculous run on the show. Salim, in an effort to make amends for his past behaviour, gives Latika his mobile phone and car keys, and asks her to forgive him and to go to Jamal. Latika agrees and escapes. Salim fills a bathtub full of cash and sits in it, waiting for the death he knows will come when Javed discovers what he has done.
Jamal's final question is the name of the third musketeer in The Three Musketeers, a fact he never learned. Jamal uses his "Phone-A-Friend" lifeline to call Salim's cell. Latika succeeds in answering the phone in time, and, while she does not know the answer, tells Jamal that she is safe. Relieved, Jamal randomly picks "Aramis", the right answer, and wins the grand prize.
Simultaneously, Javed discovers that Salim has helped Latika escape. He and his men break down the bathroom door, and Salim kills Javed, followed by Salim's death at the hand of Javed's men. With his dying breath, Salim gasps that God is great. Later that night, Jamal and Latika meet at the railway station and kiss.
Screenwriter Simon Beaufoy wrote Slumdog Millionaire based on the Boeke Prize-winning and Commonwealth Writers' Prize-nominated novel Q & A by Vikas Swarup. To hone the script, Beaufoy made three research trips to India and interviewed street children, finding himself impressed with their attitudes. The screenwriter said of his goal for the script: "I wanted to get (across) the sense of this huge amount of fun, laughter, chat, and sense of community that is in these slums. What you pick up on is this mass of energy."
By the summer of 2006, British production companies Celador Films and Film4 Productions invited director Danny Boyle to read the script of Slumdog Millionaire. Boyle hesitated, since he was not interested in making a film about Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, which was produced by Celador.Then Boyle learned that the screenwriter was Beaufoy, who had written The Full Monty (1997), one of the director's favourite British films, and decided to revisit the script. Boyle was impressed by how Beaufoy wove the multiple storylines from Swarup's book into one narrative, and the director decided to commit to the project. The film was projected to cost US$15 million, so Celador sought a U.S. distributor to share costs. Fox Searchlight Pictures made an initial offer that was reportedly in the $2 million range, but Warner Independent Pictures made a $5 million offer to win rights to the picture.
Gail Stevens came on board to oversee casting globally. Stevens had worked with Boyle throughout his career and was well-known for discovering new talent. Meredith Tucker was appointed to cast out of the US. The film-makers then travelled to Mumbai in September 2007 with a partial crew and began hiring local cast and crew for production in Karjat. Originally appointed as one of the five casting directors in India, Loveleen Tandan has stated, "I suggested to Danny and Simon Beaufoy, the writer of Slumdog, that it was important to do some of it in Hindi to bring the film alive [...] They asked me to pen the Hindi dialogues which I, of course, instantly agreed to do. And as we drew closer to the shoot date, Danny asked me to step in as the co-director."Boyle then decided to translate nearly a third of the film's English dialogue into Hindi. The director fibbed to Warner Independent's president that he wanted 10% of the dialogue in Hindi, and she approved of the change. Filming locations included shooting in Mumbai's megaslum and in shantytown parts of Juhu, so film-makers controlled the crowds by befriending onlookers.Filming began on 5 November 2007.
In addition to Swarup's original novel Q & A, the film was also inspired by Indian cinema. Tandan has referred to Slumdog Millionaire as a homage to Hindi commercial cinema, noting that "Simon Beaufoy studied Salim-Javed's kind of cinema minutely."Boyle has cited the influence of several Bollywood films set in Mumbai.[Satya (1998) (screenplay co-written by Saurabh Shukla, who plays Constable Srinivas in Slumdog Millionaire) and Company (2002) (based on the D-Company) both offered "slick, often mesmerizing portrayals of the Mumbai underworld" and displayed realistic "brutality and urban violence." Boyle has also stated that the chase in one of the opening scenes of Slumdog Millionaire was based on a "12-minute police chase through the crowded Dharavi slum" in Black Friday (2004) (adapted from S. Hussein Zaidi's book of the same name about the 1993 Bombay bombings). Deewaar (1975), which Boyle described as being "absolutely key to Indian cinema", is a crime film based on the Bombay gangster Haji Mastan, portrayed by Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan, whose autograph Jamal seeks at the beginning of Slumdog Millionaire. Anil Kapoor noted that some scenes of the film "are like Deewaar, the story of two brothers of whom one is completely after money while the younger one is honest and not interested in money."Boyle has cited other Indian films as influences in later interviews. The rags-to-riches, underdog theme was also a recurring theme in classic Bollywood movies from the 1950s through to the 1980s, when "India worked to lift itself from hunger and poverty." Other classic Bollywood tropes in the film include "the fantasy sequences" and the montage sequence where "the brothers jump off a train and suddenly they are seven years older".
Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan, the host of the final series of Kaun Banega Crorepati (the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?) which aired before filming had begun on Slumdog Millionaire, was initially offered the role of the show's host in the film, but turned it down. The role is played by another Bollywood star, Anil Kapoor.Paul Smith, the executive producer of Slumdog Millionaire and the chairman of Celador Films, had previously owned the international rights to Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
Awards and honours
Slumdog Millionaire is highly acclaimed, named in the top ten lists of various newspapers. On 22 February 2009, the film won eight out of ten Academy Awards for which it was nominated, including the Best Picture and Best Director. It is the eighth film ever to win eight Academy Awards and the eleventh Best Picture Oscar winner without a single acting nomination.
The film also won seven of the eleven BAFTA Awards for which it was nominated, including Best Film; all four of the Golden Globe Awards for which it was nominated, including Best Drama Film; and five of the six Critics' Choice Awards for which it was nominated.
The much acclaimed title sequence has been honoured by a nomination at the prestigious 2009 Rushes Soho Shorts Festival in the 'Broadcast Design Award' category in competition with the likes of the Match of the Day Euro 2008 titles by Aardman and two projects by Agenda Collective
Music by A. R. Rahman
Discussions related to movies...
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WATCH THE FILM & LEARN ABOUT THE REAL LIFE?
I watched it and I must say I simply love it. I see some similarities with Million Dollar Baby. You must watch that as well.
Both are extremely touching films.
Both are extremely touching films.