Some movies educate, some entertain. This film does both. This story with no big-name actors, has a powerful punch, set in present day India. The up close view of the slums of Mumbai opens the audiences eyes to the fact they are already out of their comfort zone as the lives of two little boys unfold.
The storyline is simple, yet tangled with Jamal being tortured for the suspicion of cheating on the TV Show, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, with his past as a street kid, to his ultimate goal of finding his true love Latika. This young man could so easily have become corrupt and hardened as his brother Salim did, but he maintains his big heart throughout the movie, simply wanting Latika to be safe and with him. He knows she watches the popular TV show and if he can get on it, they might have a chance of finding each other again. He doesn't care if he wins or not, yet each question posed has him remembering a time in his life and the correct answer tumbles out. All of India is cheering him on to win, but time runs out and the game has to be continued the next day. He spends the night being tortured by the police as they quiz him how he knew answers a slum dog would never know.
The book's title is Q&A, by Vikas Swarup, and is quite different from the movie, but Jamal's big heartedness threads through it. Both have dark spots with an Oliver Twist feel to it.
Dev Patal, the actor portrays the young man Jamal, and his innocent look and demeanor pulled me into the movie quickly. Even the little children who played the parts of a young Jamal and Salim were so engaging, I wanted to know more about their lives, how they survived in such harsh surroundings. In two short hours I watched Jamal grow into a street wise young man with a good heart. His brother chose another path yet the family bond stuck tight to both. The glimpses of India also changed in those few hours, showing the progress of a third world country.
If Slum Dog Millionaire is in your area, I hope you take the time to see this enthralling movie of young love withstanding numerous obstacles as the characters develop in ways society forced them into. Be sure to stay for the credits, the actors perform a dance at the train station that is high energy and pulls on your heart.
Slum Dog Millionaire is Oscar worthy!
Til next time ~