From the slum to the palace.
Maybe there are only two kinds of movies: one for a large audience and another one for a smaller audience. In the first case the movie has all kind of effects to keep the eyes to the screen. The storyline not too difficult, so when you miss a part you can still follow the story. In movies for a snall audience more attention is required. The emotions are more subtle. There are less concessions to the audience. The moviemaker speaks from his own heart.
Of course this is a general division. There are a lot of movies that hang in the middle somewhere. Slumdog Millionaire is such a one. It is a wonderful movie made for a larger audience with its explosion of spectacular sounds (voices, violins, music), colours and pictures, so it is not surprising that it won a lot of prices.
We go to Mumbai, 2006. There is a quiz on television going on. Who wants to be a millionaire? We see Jamal Malik, who works for a telephone compagny callcenter as a tea boy. The presentator is quite cynical about a telephone basher, bringing tea around.
The quiz is all at the sudden about the beating up of Jamal. It is the police who is doing that. Even with electricity wires. ‘Tell us how you cheated,’ a police officer asks. Jamal faints and comes back to life again. ‘I knew the answers,’ he says.
In the movie we see the quiz and the interrogation by the police combined with experiences that Jamal has, when he finds the answers. The boy lives in the slums near the airport and has been locked up in a toilet when his hero Amitabh arrives by helicopter. Jamal escapes through the sewer to get his signature, but later on his older brother Salim sells it.
They loose their mother in a religious riot, but he knew what Rama had in his right hand. Salim and Jamal meet the girl Latika who doesn’t have a mother anymore either. They are brought to an orphan house and have to beg in the street. Later on when the cruel boss Javed wants to make them blind, they escape by train. Latika stays behind.
It is a great scene in which they are on the roof of the train and try to steal food from persons inside. They lift to the Taj Mahal, work in a kitchen and go find Latika, who is a dancer still in the service of Javed. They have a fight about her. Salim wins. Jamal takes part in the quiz to find Latika again. The last question is about the three musketeers: Athos, Porthos and Artamis.
As I said, there is a lot to experience in this movie: adventure, melodramatic moments, beautiful pictures of the Taj Mahal and of Mumbai with its 19 million inhabitants.
The movie has been based on Q and A written in 2005 by Vikas Swarup.