Home > danny boyle, IMDB, majid majidi, movie, review, slumdog millionaire > Movie Review – Slumdog Millionaire

Movie Review – Slumdog Millionaire

When life is portrayed realistically on celluloid and captured in its raw, unadulterated form, one gets a beautifully surreal movie like Slumdog Millionaire. I saw this movie when a friend at work – we share similar tastes in movies – could not stop raving about it! He is an American who has visited Bombay and has seen the poverty there. Another recommendation came when I was watching a show on the telly and the Razzie recommendations were being dished out (for the curious cats, Paris Hilton’s The hottie and the nottie topped the list of that recco!). It was during that segment that the anchor mentioned that Slumdog Millionaire is a must see movie! It was settled then!

Note – the story will not be revealed in the review. Read to your heart’s content!

Simply speaking, the movie captures the story of two slum-kids and how they make lemonade when life throws lemons at them. Only, the movie captures it brilliantly! I cannot help but compare the movie with a classic heart touching movie – Children of Heaven by Majid Majidi! (Yes, Slumdog is really that good) It is also made like a documentary – meaning, the realities of life are not sugar-coated to make it easy for the audience to swallow the movie. In fact, it is this unadulteration that makes the movie a must-see for anyone interested in knowing the real Bombay!

Having grown up in the city of Bombay and travelled across the country, I can vouch for the authenticity of the scenes shown in the movie. The plot of the movie itself was quite in-genuine and most of the movie is a flashback. A tea-seller from Bombay has his shot at becoming super-rich overnight when he is 1 question away from winning the Indian version of Millionaire. He is suspected of cheating as he has reached that point in the show by answering national and international questions with ease. He also plays with the show-host’s ego when he steals the show from him with his dry-witty-straight-from-the-gut replies to verbal insults from the show’s host (played by Anil Kapoor). The show ends for the day when Jamaal (played by Dev Patel), suspected of cheating is taken in by the police for questioning. The movie is a narration of his life story to the inspector (Irrfan Khan) and the hawaldaar (Saurabh Shukla).

The movie shows how Jamaal and his brother grow up being poor Muslim kids in the city of Bombay (I hate the name Mumbai). They are typical slum-kids who enjoy the simple pleasures of life and learn everything about life from the best teacher there is, life itself! The movie shows various phases in Jamaal’s life – each phase being a new chapter in the story of Jamaal’s life that are interlaced by the questions on the TV show. While all the chapters are written in flashback, the final chapter cuts to the present and the story unfolds to bring us to the climax of the movie. Each chapter unveils a new twist in the plot, teaches the character of the movie a new lesson in life and leaves the viewer glued to the seat, with ever-growing suspense. (If anyone told you that art-movies are boring, Slumdog Millionaire surely breaks that perception!)

Having given us movies like Trainspotting, The beach, 28 days later, Director Danny Boyle gives us yet another masterpiece – perhaps his best till date. The movie is also co-directed by Loveleen Tandon who has worked on contemporary art-movies like Monsoon Wedding, Vanity Fair, Earth and The Namesake. Loveleen has ensured that the movie retains its Indian authenticity in each scene.

After watching the movie, I was discussing it with my American friend and that led to many interesting observations about life. The movie reminds us of the adversity faced by Billions of people in developing countries like India and Africa – while the privileged few lead a sheltered life and take many things for granted. The conclusion of our discussion was that richness and poverty is a relative thing – you consider yourself rich or poor depending on where you hail from – not very profound, but worth mentioning none-the-less as the conclusion was achieved in 5 minutes while sitting in the confines of the office and without the aid of any ‘truth-serums’ (read alcohol)! πŸ˜€

Slumdog Millionaire is a wonderful movie that shows the harsh realities of life while telling a lovely, romantic, wise tale os the struggles and triumphs of Jamal! The acting in the movie is top-notch as is the direction, screenplay, music, editing – the best part of the movie would be the screenplay and direction! I wanted to pick the story, but a bad screenplay and bad direction can easily ruin a good story.

Conclusion – In case you are still in any doubt, let me re-iterate! GO WATCH IT! You will love it for its realism. The movie has a rating of 8.7/10 on IMDB. I give it 10/10 as it portrays the true and real Bombay on the big screen in a surreal way! Love it, Love it, Love it!

  1. mightyatoms
    January 21, 2009 at 17:50

    Agree with your last statement. But would wait to judge the movie till I watch it.

    Nice review.

  2. eye-in-sty-in
    January 16, 2009 at 03:23

    My liking for Aamir has dropped after TZP… It dropped further with the SRK-dog incident and now, post Ghajini antics, Aamir is just another actor for me.

    Perhaps AB’s ego was not massaged with SRK being invited and not him… or perhaps the director must have asked him for an honorary appearance and he declined – so the director showed him the way he was shown in the movie… Who knows! These big stars have real fragile egos once they become ‘superstars’! They forget being real and start thinking they are GOD and go on shooting sprees, smuggling arms and mowing down people with cars! What happened to eing happy and enjoying their personal life without being a nuisance to society!

    There was nothing wrong with the portrayal of Bombay in the movie. It is what it is. Any foreigner visiting the city is greeted and is bode farewell to by the humongous slum near the airport. They also see the same thing while seeing the TAJ in Agra. Whats the point in being all clean on celluloid when the real life is crappy! Its time we got real.

  3. eye-in-sty-in
    January 16, 2009 at 03:11

    Hi Valarine,

    Welcome to my blog. I know what you mean – even I dont jump on the hype bandwagon too easy. (I saw TZP months later – after it was all hyped out.) However, the hype around this one is genuine. The movie was never intended to be a big hit. It was made just to make a good movie. However, dont get affected by the hype and watch the movie at ur leisure and more importantly, with an open mind. If what your taste in movies is what I assume it to be, U’ll love it! Its a very realistic movie…

  4. Oxy
    January 15, 2009 at 11:58

    Hahaha, Aamir did nail him there, but he ain’t saint either.. remember pet dog case whom he named Shah Rukh.. actually I feel that was quite hilarious incidence but otherwise he too has claimed that if SRK thinks he is Baadshaah then I am Ace… Lolz.. these beggars..

    And now Amitabh has expressed his distaste for Slumdog.. Was he pissed that Mumbai was shown that way or Was he pissed cuz GG invited SRK and not him to present the award.. Lolz… these beggars

  5. Valerine
    January 15, 2009 at 06:18

    well I have yet to watch the movies with all the hype around…..But then I have heard of Majid Majidi & infact have watched Children of Heaven….its an awesome movie…..well but have also heard people saying that the movie has been directed really well and its the unusual bollywood flick, which I would want to watch…..

  6. eye-in-sty-in
    January 15, 2009 at 04:59

    its one thing if SRK breaks new ground, but its ths same set of people blowing his trumpet and as if thats not enough, he has to do it too! Aamir nailed him right by saying “You dont hear AB saying I’m No. 1. If you are No.1, you dint have to say it”. LOL…

    Dont these stars know that oversell and over-exposure can actually be a bad thing? If being plastered all over the town was the measure of success, then Hrithik should be a failure. HA!

  7. Oxy
    January 14, 2009 at 21:40

    A big deal abt SRK gets made quite often here and we all are so tired of him.. He is everywhere,… Cinema, TV, Commercials, Hoardings… We are sick of him and same goes for Akshay…

  8. eye-in-sty-in
    January 13, 2009 at 17:54

    Oxy: thanks 4 clarifying. during the Golden Globe awards, SRK was on stage and a big deal was made about Bollywood. Then I checked the banner under which it was released and all was clear.

    Varun: Welcome 2 my blog. Nice 2 meet a fellow tifosi! Glad u liked the review. Its a very realistically made entertainer. I may even watch it again just 4 kicks πŸ˜€

  9. Varun
    January 13, 2009 at 14:38

    1. Loved the template as I am huge Ferrari Fan πŸ™‚

    2. I haven’t watched Slumdog but have heard a loooot about it. It will be my movie for the weekend.

    3. Cool Review πŸ˜€

  10. Oxy
    January 13, 2009 at 10:58

    Nopes its not in Foreign Language Category as it was released in English in November.. It’s not a Bolly movie mere dost.. Now here on 23rd Jan movie is getting released in both English and Hindi , for Hindi it’s called Slumdog Crorepati.

  11. eye-in-sty-in
    January 13, 2009 at 04:47

    Smita: I watched the awards function live yesterday and was very happy for SDM. Anil kapoor jumped out from his seat when his name was called out by the director at the awards.

    Oxy: Ur late to this post! Chalo, der aaye lekin durust aaye! Thank goodness SDM is not featured as a Foreign language film! (or is it). Majidi will pose serious competition if SDM is pitched against his movie.

    CP: I should have clarified that the razzie-listing-host seriously reccoed SDM and that it was NOT in the list of razzies. Then again future readers can read it here πŸ˜€

    Thanks for commenting!

    SDM is a must see movie of this year. It winning the awards is well-deserved, but I feel it may also have something to do with the fact that India-US ties are stronger now than ever before. While that is good for business, i seriously hope and pray that India does not go the Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan route while rubbing shoulders with the US!

  12. couchpapaya
    January 13, 2009 at 02:03

    didnt think being mentioned at the razzies wld be reccomendation for any movie. we see now how appearances can deceive πŸ™‚ have been wanting to watch this movie, hopefully with the awards garnered, it should open p in more theatres and with more shows all over!!

  13. Oxy
    January 12, 2009 at 11:05

    Why the hell it shows 1 week ago in my roll? I mean it is over a week ago but it wasn’t showing till now..

    Anyways the movie has grabbed lots of attention everywhere especially on PFC and blog world.. I too had written last month how eagerly I am waiting for this.. and now 5 Golden Globe.. .too much.. I have it downloaded, will watch before the theater release and again in theaters.

    Majidi’s Children of Heaven is a masterpiece which won Best Foreign Language Oscar and this year again he has one in the nominations (forgot the name)..

    I hope ARR wins Oscar for this. I truly hope.

  14. Smita
    January 12, 2009 at 04:17

    As am writing this SDM has already won 3-4 awards, isn’t it great?

    With you putting it in the same category as “Children of Heaven” (BTW I have now seen that movie and simply loved it for it’s simplicity) means a lot, it has to be very good.

    Am yet to watch SDM as it is yet to release here and hopefully will see it soon.

    Your discussion remninded me of “The Relativity Theory of Macro Economics” πŸ˜€

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