Friday, January 31, 2014

01/31: Slumdog Millionaire

Who would have thought that a British love story (made in India) that was originally to be 'direct-to-DVD' in the United States would go on and win Academy Awards including Best Picture? The movie did have competition that year as it competed with Milk and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. It was a sleeper hit, no doubt, as it slowly built fanbase. Movie lovers and critics paid attention to its excellent story and its somewhat offbeat plot which involved a very popular TV game show at the time.

At the beginning of the movie, we know Jamal Melik (Dev Patel) is one question away from the highest prize (he is a contestant on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?). But first, before the game concludes, Jamal is taken away by authorities on suspicions that he cheated throughout the game. Did he know the questions and answers? If so, how? Jamal while captured and held in custody, explains his case one by one. How did he know who invented the revolver? Who was Amitabh Bachchan? Turns out he knows from life-changing experiences. But I'm getting a little ahead of myself.

Oh, and about the love story part: in this coming-of-age film as Jamal and his brother drift throughout the lands of India, he meets his love interest: Latika. They would be separated and reunited throughout the film, as Jamal takes dangerous risks to get to her. That's all I'll say as I would be giving away too much.

I do rank this as one of my favorite movies of the last decade. Nothing to do with its accolades (although they did bring my attention to the movie), but story and characters always count in a movie. I'm not much of an escapist movie-watcher, but I'm always for stories, not necessarily realistic, that relate to one's personal lives. And this one seemed to have combined many elements, so many to speak of.

My rating: 8 out of 10

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