Slumdog fans flock to cinema

2009-05-03 00:00


The Oscar-winning film by Danny Boyle has finally arrived in Maritzburg, and judging by how packed the cinema was on Saturday, local audiences are as pleased as I was. Based loosely on the bestseller Q&A by Vikas Swarup, Slumdog Millionaire is a fast-paced, feel-good, rags-to-riches drama that packs lashings of style, tragedy, romance and a great Bolly-style soundtrack into 121 minutes. Like the book, Slumdog is as much about modern India as it is about its hero, Jamal.

Jamal (Skins’ Dev Patel) has landed a spot on the popular quiz show Who Wants to be a Millionaire, and, spectacularly for a “chai wallah” without what one usually thinks of as an education, is getting all the questions right. The quizmaster (Anil Kapoor) thinks he’s cheating, so Jamal is arrested and “questioned” by police (said questioning helped by the application of a car battery to his toes) and when they are unable to get a confession, Jamal begins to narrate his life story, along with dramatic flashbacks. Born in the slums, orphaned by religious violence and making his way through a hard world with the aid of theft, guile and his best friend Salim, Jamal’s experiences have provided him with the chance to become a “crorepati”, as the quiz questions seem woven from the threads of his life: his violent past and his tireless search for the lovely Latika (Freida Pinto).

Slumdog has earned both awards and controversy (mostly to do with its authenticity, or rather lack thereof). With a great child cast, plenty of action, exciting cinematography and a dance routine to Jai Ho, the hit song created just for the credits at the end, this is a must-see.


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