Oscar-winner on big screen

2009-05-01 00:00

THE Oscar-winning film, Slumdog Millionaire, has finally arrived in Pietermaritzburg and if you’re one of the many fans who’ve been dying to see it, then make sure you get to CineCentre at the Mall this weekend.

Slumdog tells the story of Jamal Malik (Dev Patel), an 18-year-old orphan from the Mumbai slums, who is just one question away from winning 20 million rupees on the Indian version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? The show’s host, Prem Kumar (Anil Kapoor), isn’t happy — having clawed his own way up from the streets, he doesn’t like the prospect of sharing the limelight, and refuses to believe that a kid from the slums could know all the answers.

Convinced the teenager is cheating, he gets the police to arrest Jamal. Under interrogation from a police inspector Jamal reveals how he knows the answers and as he does so, the extraordinary story of his young life begins to emerge.

When his mother is killed in a religious uprising, Jamal finds himself living by his wits on the streets with Salim, his older brother, and another orphan, Latika (Freido Pinto).

But while his childhood doesn’t tarnish his good-hearted nature, his brother hungers for wealth and power. Tensions between the brothers intensify until a betrayal forces the three friends apart, and Jamal loses Latika, just as he realises he loves her.

Despite himself, the police inspector finds himself drawn into Jamal’s story and releases him to go back onto the show to answer the final question.

Slumdog Millionaire was the big winner at this year’s Academy Awards — wins included best film and best director (Danny Boyle). It also won six British Academy of Film and Television Awards (Baftas) and four Golden Globes.

Speaking about the making of the film, Boyle said that arriving in India was something of culture shock for the crew. “I’d never been to India,” the director added. “My dad was there in the war and had talked to me endlessly about it and I’d always wanted to go.

“I thought it was an extraordinary place in the extremes that you experience there. But, more importantly, the challenges that you face are just beyond anything you can imagine.”

Boyle also admits to being fascinated by the mixture of absolute poverty and India’s huge technical advancement: “I’ve been to slums before but in different places in the world, but this was like … there’s this smell you get first of all … this incredible mixture of our excrement (it belongs to all of us) and then saffron. It’s just this mixture of the sweet and the sour.

“What is extraordinary about India is that it’s one of the world’s leading nuclear powers. It’s in the top six or eight nuclear powers in the world. But on the other hand, there are no public toilets.”

The crew shot Slumdog in India’s largest slum, Dharavi, and in one of its most vibrant, Juhu, which is situated next to the Mumbai airport. The population levels are estimated to be more than one million people.

“We put as many of those real slum-dwelling people in the film as we could get,” said Boyle.

Also opening: X-men, ‘Hannah montana’ and ‘surfer dude’

HUGH Jackman takes centre stage in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, directed by South Africa’s Gavin Hood (Tsotsi), which opens at CineCentre today.

Set before the three previous X-Men films, it tells the story of Logan’s (aka Wolverine’s) violent and romantic past, his complex relationship with his brother Victor Creed (Sabretooth), and the top-secret Weapon X programme.

For more on the film and Hood’s role in directing it, see Weekend Witness tomorrow.

Also opening at CineCentre today is Hannah Montana: The Movie, which takes the Disney channel phenomenon to the big screen.

As fans of the show know, Miley Stewart (Miley Cyrus) enjoys the best of both worlds — a normal teenage life in sunny California with her family and friends, and adulation from thousands of fans as pop sensation, Hannah Montana.

The fourth film opening today is Surfer Dude, starring Matthew McConaughey as Steve, a laid back, stoned, shirtless and barefoot surfer, who lives off his endorsements. It also stars Woody Harrelson and can be seen at SterKinekor.

STILL ON CIRCUIT

• CineCentre: I Love You Man, 17 Again, Marley & Me, Hotel for Dogs, Fast and Furious 4.

• SterKinekor: Dragonball Evolution, Monsters vs Aliens, 12 Rounds, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, Friday the 13th, New in Town.

• NuMetro: 12 Rounds, Gran Torino, Monsters vs Aliens, Tornado, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

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