Slumdog Millionaire is a 2008 British drama film that is a loose adaptation of the novel Q & A (2005) by Indian author Vikas Swarup, telling the story of 18-year-old Jamal Malik from the Juhu slums of Mumbai. Starring Dev Patel as Jamal, and filmed in India, the film was directed by Danny Boyle, written by Simon Beaufoy, and produced by Christian Colson, with Loveleen Tandan credited as co-director. As a contestant on Kaun Banega Crorepati, an Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Jamal surprises everyone by being able to answer every question correctly. Accused of cheating, Jamal recounts his life story to the police, illustrating how he is able to answer each question correctly.
Eighteen-year-old Jamal Malik, an Indian Muslim from the Dharavi slum, is a contestant on Kaun Banega Crorepati, and is one question away from the grand prize. However, before the ₹20 million question, he is detained and tortured by the police, who suspect him of cheating. Through a series of flashbacks, Jamal recounts the incidents in his life that provided him with each answer.
At five years old, Jamal manages to obtain the autograph of Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan after jumping into a cesspit. Jamal's older brother Salim later sells the autograph. Their mother dies during the Bombay riots, and as the brothers flee the riot, they meet Latika, a girl from their slum. Salim is reluctant to take her in, but Jamal suggests that she could be their "third musketeer", a reference to the Alexandre Dumas novel The Three Musketeers. The brothers refer to themselves as Athos and Porthos but do not know the third musketeer's name.
The three are found by Maman—a gangster who trains street children to become beggars. When Salim learns that Maman is blinding the children to make them more effective beggars, he escapes with Jamal and Latika to a train. The brothers successfully board the moving train but Latika is unable to keep up. Salim grabs her hand but purposefully lets go, leaving her to be recaptured by Maman. For the next few years, Salim and Jamal travel around on top of trains, making a living by selling goods, picking pockets, washing dishes, and pretending to be tour guides at the Taj Mahal. At Jamal's insistence, they return to Mumbai to find Latika, where they discover that she is being raised by Maman to be a prostitute. The brothers rescue her, shooting Maman dead. Salim gets a job with Javed—a rival crime lord. In their room, Salim orders Jamal to leave him alone with Latika, presumably to sleep with her. When Jamal refuses, Salim draws a gun on him and Latika persuades Jamal to leave.
Years later, Jamal, now a Chaiwala in an Indian call center, searches the center's database for Salim and Latika. He learns that Salim is a high-ranking lieutenant in Javed's crime organization and confronts him, Salim pleads for forgiveness and Jamal lies his way into Javed's residence to reunite with Latika. Although he professes his love for her, she tells him to forget about her. Despite the refusal, Jamal promises that he will wait for her every day at five o'clock at the VT station. Latika attempts to meet him there but she is captured by Javed's men, led by Salim. Jamal loses contact with Latika and in a final attempt to reach her, he decides to become a contestant on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, because he knows she watches the show.
Jamal is extremely successful on the show and becomes popular across India, much to the dismay of the show's host, Prem Kumar. Kumar attempts to trick Jamal by feeding him the wrong answer to the penultimate question. However, Jamal uses his 50/50 lifeline and answers correctly, raising suspicion that he is cheating.
When the episode ends, Jamal is arrested. After an initial beating, the police inspector listens to his explanation of how he knew each answer. Finding his stories "bizarrely plausible," the officer allows him to return to the show. Latika sees Jamal on the news. In an effort to make amends for his past behavior, Salim gives Latika his phone and car keys. He asks her to forgive him and to find Jamal. After Latika leaves, Salim fills a bathtub with money and sits in it, waiting for Javed to realize Latika is free.
For the final question, Jamal is asked the name of the third musketeer. He laughs and uses his "Phone-A-Friend" lifeline to call Salim, because it is the only phone number he knows. Latika answers and tells Jamal that she is safe, although she does not know the answer. Javed hears Latika on the show and realizes that Salim betrayed him. He and his men break down the bathroom door but Salim kills Javed before he is shot and killed by Javed's men. Relieved about Latika, Jamal picks the first answer, Aramis. He is correct and wins the grand prize. Jamal and Latika meet on the platform at the train station and kiss. The movie ends with a Bollywood-style musical number, "Jai Ho".
Why it rocks
- The first film to use digital cinematography.
- Great acting from all actors and actresses.
- The film concludes with a song, called "Jai Ho". This is one the best ending moments in history.
- The film won 8 awards in 81st Academy Awards, including the Best Original Score, Best Original Song, and Best Picture.
- The soundtrack became an international hit, and also won an Oscar for the Best Original Score.
- MPAA Rated R instead of PG-13.
- Salim Malik became a villain after led by, Javed, but at the end, Salim became nice and betrayed Javed.
- Actor Aamir Khan states, that he didn't "see Slumdog...as an Indian film. I think it is a film about India like Gandhi (that) was made by Sir Richard Attenborough. Similarly, Slumdog...is about India but it is not an Indian film."