Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Movie Review: Slumdog Millionaire

Dev Patel: (Older) Jamal Malik
Anil Kapoor: Prem Kumar
Madhur Mittal: (Older) Salim

Freida Pinto: (Older) Latika

Ayush Mahesh Khedekar: Young Jamal

Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail: Young Salim
And a longer list of great cast members.

I had the pleasure of seeing Slumdog Millionaire in the movie theater the other night. It is most unusual because the movie theaters here where I live rarely show independent or artsy films, so I ran to see it before they took it out of the theater.

Slumdog Millionaire is the story of a young man who goes on the Indian version of Who Want's to be a Millionaire? and makes it to the second to last question all in one night. After the show wraps he is whisked away by Indian authorities under suspicion for cheating., how could a young man from the streets of Mumbai know all the questions so easily? Through Jamal's answers to the detectives' questions we learn of his hard life and his connection to the woman of his dreams - Latika, a fellow "slumdog" whom he has lost in the chaos of the Mumbai underground. The main question of the movie is can Jamal convince everone that he isn't cheating and reunite himself with his lost love?

I loved this movie. I laughed and cried and probably annoyed people by my silly giggles at times that I noticed things they probably didn't because of my new-found familiarity to some of Indian pop-culture. The scene in which young Jamal runs to get Amitab Bachchan's autograph had me rolling in a fit of giggles. The story brings to light the darker side of Mumbai, the side that most Bollywood movies ignore. I am glad that they decided to use such a great ensemble cast and as Dev said on the Today show a few weeks ago "they couldn't get a Bollywood actor that looked as Geeky as me" (I'm para-phrasing beause I don't remember the exact words.) I tried to imagine this movie with Salman Khan, Shahrukh or anyone else, even John Abraham, would have seemed to not really fit this role. Dev Patel was wonderful, I feel that he deserves all the fan-fare and awards that he has been getting already. I hope that they do well at the Golden Globes - the movie is nominated for four of them. I know this isn't a Bollywood movie, but it is about India and i tseems to tell the story of real India, instead of the fanciful one portrayed so much more often. It's like our movies here, they usually show the bright side of things, and it takes quiet, independent films to show the real parts of our society that everyday citizens face. It's a great movie, and if you get a chance to see it I recommend going to see it in theaters.

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