If there is one film I would definitely like to see again, it would be Slumdog Millionaire. This was a true treasure of a film and is something that requires a little research to understand. The culture and history of the Indian subcontinent portrayed in this film have been the subject of controversy because some believe it isn’t quite accurate and is being exaggerated (like the issue of poverty in India), while others see this as a way for the country to improve the state of its cities.
Once a sleeper hit in 2008 that wasn’t expected to do much, it went on to win many awards, including eight Academy Awards, one for best motion picture of the year. The film was first shown at a private film festival before being released to the U.K. and elsewhere. As with many of these international films, they don’t usually gain widespread popularity until something big happens, such as winning major awards. I love these kind of films that have very little widespread promotion and go on to become big hits later on. They are instant classics in my mind, one of a kind films that deserve a little more thought and analysis when viewing them.
When I first watched the movie (getting it off a bootleg Internet site), I had no idea the answers to the questions for the eventual Who Wants to be a Millionaire? segment were shown in different scenes of the film. When the quiz show contestant Jamal Malik (played by Dev Patel) got up to the 20 million rupees (US $300,000) question, he was suspected of cheating because no one would have thought a simple “slumdog” would know so much with very little education. He was beaten and tortured by the police and asked how he got the answers. Jamal confesses that his secret to getting so many of the questions correctly was based off his past experiences, such as getting the autograph of a famous Bollywood actor and the death of his mother in the Bombay riots. The police questioning him think this is a ridiculous idea and eventually let him continue playing. He ends up getting to the final question that asks who the third musketeer in The Three Musketeers was. After using his Phone-a-friend (calling his brother Salim in his prison cell), his childhood friend Latika picks up and tries to help him. She doesn’t know the answer so he randomly chooses Aramis, getting the question correct and winning the grand prize of 20 million rupees (the same currency used in the Zelda games).
When watching this film again, I’ll look for those subtle clues that lead up to the ending. It’s quite a far-fetched plot that is used and is quite unbelievable but I still loved the film otherwise.
I have figured that the final question given to Jamal about the musketeers was supposed to be simple enough (even a child could have answered it) in order for the organizers to prove that an uneducated slumdog couldn’t possibility walk away with the big money. They thought he wouldn’t even be smart enough to make it that far, let alone past the first few questions, which is why the questions were set up the way they were, but he proved them all wrong. His winning was all based on a lot of real good luck and being in the right places at the right time, which I see as a rather convenient plot device by the writers, but done in a way so as to amaze the viewers later on.
Millions (of rupees)