Director: Danny Boyle
Cast: Irfan Khan, Anil Kapoor, Dev Patel, Freida Pinto.
Information: Contains strong language and violence
Running time: 120mins
Release date: 9 January 2009 by Pathe Distribution Ltd.
Slum kid cum call-centre chaiwala, Jamal (Dev), is about to answer the last crucial question to win the jackpot on the television show, Kaun Banega Karod Pati - India's version of 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire?' game show.
Flashbacks reveal Jamal’s life in the Mumbai slums with elder brother Salim (Mittal) after loosing their mother during the Hindu - Muslim riots. This resulted in lack of basic education for the brothers suddenly forced to fend for themselves.
So, Prem (Anil), the show’s host, is mystified by the correct answers to difficult and rather tricky questions from an illiterate Jamal.
But when the show runs out of time and breaks for the night, a suspicious Prem gets Jamal arrested by police officers. Tortured and badly bruised in the dilapidated police cell, a desperate Jamal, tries to prove his innocence.
We witness the brothers’ adventures on the rough, mean Mumbai streets through flashbacks. Amazingly, each answer from the game show's questions relates to Jamal’s gruesome life’s experiences.
With no interest in winning the jackpot, a passive Jamal hopes that his television appearance will reunite him with his childhood sweetheart, Latika (Frieda). Because somewhere, somehow, she must be watching!
English director, Danny Boyle, skillfully and meticulously flits between glamour and glitz of the television show to the dark, dingy makeshift slums of Mumbai.
Graphic torture scenes making you cringe in horrific disgust is equally interspersed with humour and heartache in this emotionally charged drama.
Full credit goes to writer Simon Beaufoy for a heart-rending script shockingly depicting child abuse and exploitation. Dev Patel is sensational as a struggler trying to survive the harsh realities of India’s economic boom surrounded by heart-wrenching poverty, corruption, cruelty and lust.
Madhur Mittal’s is effective as the domineering notorious gangster / elder brother redeeming himself in the end.
But it is Ayush Khedekar playing the youngest Jamal and the other slum kids that tug your heart-strings with a spellbound performance throughout. Their realistic portrayal is worthy of many awards.
The film has already won four Golden Globe Awards and is already a strong contender for the Oscars in various categories which will be announced on 22nd January 2009.
Slumdog Millionaire is a hard hitting thought provoking film leaving a long lasting impression. Watch it - crossover at its cinematic best!
Reviewed by Manish Gajjar
BBC Bollywood Correspondent