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Movie of the Year?

By: Leslie Cebula
By: Leslie Cebula

Last weekend I saw "Slumdog Millionaire." Having already won 4 Golden Globes and 10 Academy Award nominations, it has been a big hit at the box office in the U.S. but what has the reaction been in India?

 

What is it like in the slums of Mumbai?  I have never been there so I cannot answer this question but the cinematography in "Slumdog Millionaire" seemed to transport me there.  There's an uproar in India about how the country is portrayed.  According to NEWSWEEK "a lawsuit alleges it defames Mumbai's urban poor and many take offense at the appearance of "dog" in the title."

Director Danny Boyle told NEWSWEEK he meant for the name "Slumdog Millionaire" as a combination of the word "underdog" because of it's meaning of someone overcoming mounting odds against them like the main character does along with the fact that he comes from the slums.

However there's also controversy about the children who star in the film and are really from the slums.  ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY reports Boyle and the producers were setting up a trust fund the kids could only get into if they go to school until they're 18 but Britain's "The Telegraph" has published an article with interviews from the children's parents alleging exploitation of the kids.

It's hard to know what to believe but I just hope these kids do get to benefit from this. 

I think the film brings up the entire topic of social change.  This was not a documentary so it is hard to differentiate between what really goes on there and what does not.  The images that stick out to me from the movie are from the slums.   There's a message of hope but if this is really how it is there, what is being done and can be done to change this cycle of poverty?  I know this is a great rags to riches tale for two people but what about two of the children in it?  What about the others?  I do not mean rescuing anyone but rather helping others become self sufficient.

I thought the film was very well done and it's a story, image, and movie that I will never forget.  It was like a roller coaster for me- I was laughing, crying, and gasping-at any given moment. 

What did you take away from the film?

Here is a synopsis of the movie.  It's the story of  a young boy named Jamal who grew up in the slums but makes it to the the Hindi version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire."  Some may say it's a far fetched fairytale but somehow it seems so realistic.  His story is told through the show.  What I mean by this is the film flashes back in time to tell you the story of why he knows the answer to the question.  Each question and answer takes you back to a certain part of his very hard life.  He and his brother watched their mother be killed by Hindus and grew up as orphans.  According to ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, two of the children actors starring in the film (Jamal's brother, Salim, and the girl that they meet, Latika) are from the slums where it takes place.

 

These are the links to the articles I mentioned.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

http://popwatch.ew.com/popwatch/2009/01/slumdog-controv.html?iid=top25-'Slumdog+Millionaire'+controversy%3A+Is+there+a+there+there%3F

The Telegraph

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/4347472/Poor-parents-of-Slumdog-millionaire-stars-say-children-were-exploited.html

NEWSWEEK

http://www.newsweek.com/id/182341

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