By Taran Adarsh, Bollywood Hungama News Network
First things first! SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE deserves all the accolades and awards that it has been receiving of late and will continue receiving in the future. Also, in this writer's individualistic opinion, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE doesn't make a mockery or an attempt to sell the poverty of India to the West.
Sure, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE depicts life on the mean streets of Mumbai, so what? Doesn't it exist? Should we ridicule the effort it just because a gora has made it? We don't raise a noise when Indian film-makers do so, so why now? Double standards!
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE is, at heart, a love story and director Danny Boyle treats it like a Bollywood film. In fact, the screen writing [Simon Beaufoy] is so smart, so energetic [he must be a big fan of Bollywood] that everything is spoon-fed to the viewer, unlike most international films.
Sure, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE is dark and gory at places, but at the end of it all, it offers a ray of hope for those who've been plain unlucky when it comes to the materialistic things of life and most importantly, love.
So what's the final word? Jai Ho!
Accused of cheating and desperate to prove his innocence, an eighteen-year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai reflects back on his tumultuous life while competing to win the prized money on India's 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire'.
Jamal [Dev Patel] may not have a penny to his name, but that could all change in a matter of hours. He's one question away from taking the top prize on India's most popular television game show, but as with everything else in Jamal's life, it isn't going to be easy.
Arrested by police under suspicion of cheating, Jamal is interrogated by the authorities. The police simply can't believe that Jamal could possibly possess the knowledge to get this far in the game, and in order to convince them of how he gained such knowledge, Jamal begins reflecting back on his childhood.
As young boys, Jamal and his older brother Salim lived in squalor and lost their mother in a mob attack on Muslims. Subsequently forced to rely on their own wits to survive, the desperate siblings fell back on petty crime, eventually befriending adorable yet feisty young Latika as they sought out food and shelter on the unforgiving streets of Mumbai.
Though life on the streets was never easy, Jamal's experiences ultimately instilled in him the knowledge he needed to answer the tough questions posed to him on the show.
Danny Boyle and screenplay writer Simon Beaufoy join hands to create one of the most engaging rags-to-riches story of a boy raised in the slums of Mumbai. A few scenes may put you off completely, but if you're a Mumbaite, you must've surely encountered such characters on the back of your street.
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE keeps you hooked, there's not a single dull moment and most importantly, your heart pines for the lovers [Jamal and Latika] to unite, after all that they've gone through in life. That's one of the prime reasons why SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE works big time.
If Boyle's direction and Beaufoy's screen writing works, so does A.R. Rahman's exuberant musical score. The background score is eclectic, while the song 'Jai Ho' [at the conclusion of the film] is mesmeric. The camera [Anthony Dod Mantle] captures the streets of the metropolis remarkably. Note the chase at the very start, with a constable chasing the young Salim and Jamal in the slums. Brilliant!
Dev Patel is top notch, while Anil Kapoor is highly competent. Freida Pinto does very well. Irrfan Khan gives his individualistic style to his role. Mahesh Manjrekar and Saurabh Shukla are first-rate. Madhur Mittal [older Salim] is alright. Ankur Vikal spells terror. Special mention must be made of the young actors in the film; they are such fine actors. Especially the young Salim and Jamal.
On the whole, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE is a must-see! One of the finest films of our times, this one should not be missed for any reason.
Bollywood.com Rating: 3.5