Friday, 1 January 2010


Directors: Danny Boyle & Loveleen Tandan (co-director: India)
Running time: 120 mins (approx)
Certificate (UK): 15

Watched on DVD Friday 1st January 2010.


I have heard a lot about this film since its release almost a year ago, but it has not been until now that I’ve had a chance to watch it. I must say that most of the good things I’ve been hearing are true! The setting is India, where a young man, Jamal K. Malik, from the slums of Mumbai has the chance of winning 20 million rupees! He is on the show ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ and things are getting tense as he gets nearer to the big prize.

We start with Jamal in a police station being questioned as to how he was cheating on the game show. Unfortunately for the police he cannot say because he is not cheating. Eventually they settle down and put on a tape of the show and the film goes into flashback and tells how he knew each answer from the events of his life to date. We begin when he is seven where Jamal and his older brother, Salim, run from the police at the airport where they were playing cricket. They run through the slum that is their home and end up being caught by their mother. Later on, after their mother has died, Jamal befriends Latika, a girl who also has no family and they live together until they are taken in by an orphanage. Here they become street beggars and after one particularly nasty experience at the hands of the guy running the orphanage, Jamal and Salim run away but Latika is unable to escape with them. The rest of the film tells how Jamal tries to re-unite himself with the love of his life and how he came to be on ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’. I think that’s enough spoilers for now.

A really well made film where the narrative keeps you guessing all the time. I enjoyed the look into the lives of the less fortunate in India which, at times, looked pretty brutal. Also some great visuals in this movie, but then, I’m told, India is a quite visually stunning place. Great performances from all of the leading cast, Dev Patel as Jamal K. Malik, Anil Kapoor as Prem (the host of the TV show), Freida Pinto as Latika, Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail as Youngest Salim, Ayush Mahesh Khedekar as Youngest Jamal, Rubina Ali as Youngest Latika, Tanay Chheda as Middle Jamal, Ashutosh Lobo Gajiwala as Middle Salim, Tanvi Ganesh Lonkar as Middle Latika and Madhur Mittal as Older Salim.

Over all, a great film that takes you on a journey full of unexpected twists and turns. I found it very entertaining and very different to most mainstream films made today. If you haven’t seen it I can heartily recommend it, very compelling and a joy to watch, if a bit harrowing at times.

My score: 8.5/10

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