Slumdog Millionaire Hits The Jackpot
Ron Millennor, Executive Sports Producer
What do you get when you cross an orphaned, illiterate, abused boy from India with the TV show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Ten Oscar nominations, including one for Best Film. Danny Boyle's Slum Dog Millionaire is a love story that's a contrast to the senses. One minute, dark, bleak and hopeless, the next, bright, cheerful and hopeful. You know you're in for an unusual ride when the movie opens with the main character being brutally tortured by the police. Yes, I said this is a love story.
This love conquers all tale traces the path of Jamal Malik (wonderfully played by Dev Patel) from his troubled childhood through young adulthood. Growing up in the slums of Mumbai he sees and does things that will scar him for life...including witnessing the murder of his mother by a group of rampaging, religious radicals. The only ray of sunshine for Jamal is his relationship with another orphaned slumdog, Latika (the lovely and talented Freida Pinto). The pair, along with his older brother Salim, wind up at an orphanage where the men that run it use the children to do their dirty work...steal, sex, nothing is off limits as long as it brings in money. Eventually the brothers are separated from Latika in a scene that is incredibly heartbreaking. The rest of the movie is Jamal's quest to reconnect with the love of his life, Latika.
His search leads him to Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, India's most popular TV show, in hopes that Latika would see him and make contact. The show is hosted by a real sleaze-ball (Anvil Kapoor) who's a disturbing blend of Ron Jeremy and Regis Philbin. As Jamal continues to advance the host convinces the police that he's cheating. With just one question remaining to win the jackpot Jamal is arrested. While in custody the police are determined to beat the truth out of him. But through a series of flashbacks we learn how the illiterate orphan was able to answer the questions correctly.
Meanwhile Latika, who through a set of circumstances that involve his brother Salim, is now a plaything for a crime boss. But, like the rest of the country, she has been following Jamal's journey on the TV show. I won't give away the ending other than to say that you'll leave the theater feeling better than when you entered. That's what a good movie does.