The movie is about a guy from the slums in Bombay, Jamal Malik, now a chaiwala (or a waiter) at a call centre, who goes on the Indian version of ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire’. However, he is arrested at the end of the show — one question away from winning the big one. After all, how can anyone from the slums or a mere chaiwala know the answers to all these questions, right?
At the police station, he explains how he does really know the answers and how they are all in some way or the other connected to his past. In short, we get to see Jamal as a child growing up in the slums of Bombay with his brother Salim, losing their mother in a Hindu-Muslim riot, being found by an ‘orphanage’ along with their friend and companion, Lathika, going all the way to Agra and conning people at the Taj Mahal to survive, coming back to Bombay to find Lathika. He finds her, only to lose her again.
Anyway, he’s on the show and doesn’t really give a damn about the money. So what is it that he wants? Well, you have to watch the movie for that.
I loved the way the movie was done i.e. the present and the flashbacks merged together. The child stars were, in short, amazing! I don’t know if they’ve acted before, but they were brilliant. I also liked the realism regarding the slums. I don’t know if they did, but it certainly seemed to me like they actually shot it in the slums of Bombay. The actors were quite good too especially the guys playing Jamal (Dev Patel) and Salim (Madhur Mittal), and surprisingly enough, Anil Kapoor as the host of ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire’. The one flaw: In India, the currency is not in millions unlike as shown in the movie. The only thing I didn’t like: the song-and-dance number at the end of the movie — very Bollywood and not my cup of tea!
It probably is a movie with the usual formula — love is everything, rags to riches, the underdog trying to overcome the odds and all of that. But it works and seems different in its own simplistic manner.
Would recommend it if you are in for a light and optimistic movie!
Until next time,