Slumdog Millionaire is a multi-layered celluloid saga of extraordinary brilliance. It is the journey of three
orphans, the three musketeers, their aspirations, despairs and hopes. This is the story of the essence of life…phases of life disappearing disastrously and resurfacing miraculously. The flow of life goes through the extreme struggle for mere existence and the rhythm of living finally finding the rhyme of love, the dharma of life.
Jamal is a chaiwala in Mumbai and participates in a TV reality show Who wants to be a Millionaire. He gets the answers right and accused of cheating. He is interrogated by the police.
Every question he answers takes him back to a phase of life and gives him the clue to the right answers. In a see-saw swing the story moves in time frames showing the struggle of three children, their growing up,
taking them in three different ways, the challenge of answering questions and the final culmination of the love between Jamal and Latika. The third musketeer Salim succumbs to greed and adharma. Jamal takes the risks and wins Rs 20 Crore.
The three children, orphaned in a riot, eke out their living by begging, petty crime and fall into the hands of baddies. Salim and Javed run away and come back to Mumbai as adolescents and re-discover Latika. Salim joins the underworld. Latika becomes a victim of commercial lust. Jamal works as a chaiwala at a call centre.
Then the TV show Who wants to be a Millionaire happens, bringing a flood of bygones of despair in the life of Jamal and his friends and fittingly redeeming a life gone astray with hope and twenty million rupees and Latika, of course.
With author backed roles, Dev Patel is simply outstanding and so is Freida Pinto. Their subdued yet intense emoting is a pleasure to watch. Anil Kapoor and Irrfan Khan are confident and convincing in their roles as quiz master and police officer respectively. Mahesh Manjrekar as the don is very appropriate.
The sheer brilliance comes from the child artistes Madhur Mittal, Ayush Mahesh Khedekar, Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, Rubiana Ali, Tanay Chheda, Ashutosh Lobo Gajiwala and Tanvi Ganesh Lonkar. Their exuberance and ebullience is simply unbelievable.
All other actors are more than adequate in their supporting roles.
The USP of the film is the gripping screenplay and the masterful direction. The city of Mumbai comes alive with all its energy and excitement as a backdrop of the film. The scenes seamlessly merge in spite of the frequent convergence of flashbacks.
The cinematography is breathtaking. The dark and bright moods of the story are exceptionally filmed, edited and supported by eloquent silences and brilliant musical score by AR Rahman.
The techniques employed are so effective that nothing in the film looks unnatural. The flow of narration is smooth even with the turbulent episodes in the story.
Slumdog Millionaire is truly a brilliant film. It’s multi-layered tracks entwine seamlessly to make you swing with the hopes and despairs, dreams and disasters, laughs and sorrows of the three protagonists.
Slumdog Millionaire is a must-watch film. Do not miss it.
The Cast and Crew
Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Anil Kapoor, Irrfan Khan, Saurabh Shukla, Mahesh Manjrekar, Ankur Vikal, Madhur Mittal, Ayush Mahesh Khedekar, Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, Rubiana Ali, Tanay Chheda, Ashutosh Lobo Gajiwala, Tanvi Ganesh Lonkar, Dan Fleury
Screenplay : Simon Beaufoy
Adapted from : Vikas Swarup’s novel Q & A
Music : A. R. Rahman
Cinematography: Anthony Dod Mantle
Editing : Chris Dickens
Co-director : Loveleen Tandan
Director: Danny Boyle
Producer: Christian Colson
Banners : Celador Films and Film4
Distributors: Fox Searchlight Pictures, Warner Bros.(US)
4 out of 5
Review by Deen Kumar