There is something about Danny Boyle films. No matter how dark, honest, and gruesome they are, you always walk out of the theater with some kind of hope. Not hope for yourself, but hope for the world. That this world can be a better place and there are people out there, individuals that make it so. Slumdog Millionaire is just that, it is the perfect balance of the harsh realities and the true beauty of life in one awe-inspiring package.
The TV show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” appears to be the backbone of the story until you realize that the show is actually a vehicle for love. Jamal (Dev Patel), is a boy from the slums who somehow manages to make it to the top. Of course, this is unbelievable to anyone on the show, so they try and torture the truth out of him. What they don’t know is that the reason he doesn’t quit, the reason he doesn’t take the money and run is because he is hoping that the love of his life Latika, who he knows is a fan of the show, might be watching. The longer he’s on the show, the better the chance of her seeing him.
Everyone around Jamal seems to be trying to take him down. From the government, the TV show, missionaries, and even his own brother, but none of them can destroy him because although he is lead by honesty, truth, and love, it is his destiny to succeed and yet again save the love of his life.
And yet this film is so much more than a love story. It’s about the struggle of three children from the slums trying to find their way in the face of much adversary. It’s about not pitying yourself but rising above it. It’s about finding what you love and following it no matter what.
The actors in the film all worked together to create three amazing characters at three different points in Latika, Jamal, and Salim’s life. Latika, who is Jamal’s love interest and called “the most beautiful girl in the world” is played by (in order from oldest to youngest) the stunning, Freida Pinto, the beautiful Tanvi Ganesh Lonkar, and the adorable Rubina Ali who actually is from the slums of India. Jamal was played by (same order) the soon to be Hollywood hit Dev Patel, Tanay Hemant Chheda, and Ayush Mahesh Khedekar. And lastly the evil (or rather tortured) brother Salim is played by Madhur Mittal, Ashutosh Lobo Gajiwala, and Azharruddin Mohammed Ismail who is also from the slums.
Every single one of these actors deserves mention because although it seems impossible, every single one of them is amazing and helped to create the true spirit of their character. The actors were chosen because of their attitudes and dispositions, not their looks and it paid off beautifully. As Dev said in a recent interview with ScreenCrave: “Cause when they cast it, they didn’t go 100% on the looks, it was about our aura.”
There is already Oscar buzz beginning to build around it and for good reason. The film is fun, intelligent, and most importantly gives you hope for a better world (and we all know we could use that).