Slumdog Millionaire Movie Analysis

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The movie Slumdog Millionaire tells the story of Jamal Malik, a young boy from the slums of India who participates in the game show “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” The audience sees the events unfold from Jamal’s perspective as he answers every question correctly. However, the show’s producers doubt that someone from the slums could have such knowledge and subject him to interrogation methods like makeshift water boarding and electrocution. Despite the torture, Jamal refuses to speak and maintains that he knew the answers. The story begins with how he knew the answer to the first question, which was Amitabh.

The text describes a series of events in Jamal’s life. Initially, he is playing ball with other children on an airplane runway but gets chased away by guards. Their mother eventually catches them and they go back to school where they encounter “The Three Musketeers” book. Later, Jamal meets his favorite Bollywood star, Amitabh, and gets his autograph. Unfortunately, Jamal’s brother sells the autographed photograph which marks the beginning of Jamal’s misfortune. Soon after, their mother dies in the Bombay Riots leaving them without a guardian. This leads to new relationships forming and makes Jamal rely on his brother. As they struggle to survive on their own, Jamal develops a special bond with Latika who becomes an important person in his life. In Jamal’s imagination, Latika becomes the third musketeer alongside himself and Salim although he doesn’t know the original third musketeer’s name. Throughout his childhood experiences, Jamal also has adventures such as working as a beggar for a gangster named Maman.

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When Maman begins to blind the children in order to earn more money, Jamel and his brother decide to flee. While escaping, Salim intentionally refuses to help Latika on the train they are running away on. This action devastates Jamel. Throughout their teenage years, they find themselves in a series of jobs and resort to pickpocketing to sustain themselves. Despite their hardships, Jamel remains determined to locate Latika and eventually returns to Mumbai in search of her. Eventually, Salim kills Maman and teams up with Javed, Maman’s rival gang leader. Salim engages in a sexual relationship with Latika and instructs Jamel to leave. Nevertheless, Jamel never forgets about Latika and seizes the opportunity to search for both her and his brother.

Jamel eventually locates his brother and they are reunited. During this time, Jamel finds a way into Javed’s house and discovers Latika. He confesses his love for her and proposes a meeting at the train station at 5:15. Although she rejects his love, Latika still plans to escape to the train station. However, when she attempts to meet Jamel at the train station, things go terribly wrong. With the assistance of Salim, Javed recaptures Latika and takes her away. As Latika and Javed relocate outside of the city, Jamel is devastated by his loss. It is at this point that Jamel dedicates himself to getting onto Latika’s favorite game show, “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” As he climbs higher and higher up the money ladder, Jamel becomes a heroic figure.

During the game show, Salim gives his cell phone to Latika as a gesture of reconciliation and directs her to go to Jamel. Meanwhile, he fills Javed’s bathtub with money and waits with a gun. As the game show reaches its climax, the final question is revealed – the name of the third musketeer. Salim contacts his brother through a phone-a-friend lifeline and ends up talking to Latika, experiencing a surge of happiness. When Javed overhears Latika’s voice on the show, he realizes what has transpired. Seeking retribution, he confronts Salim, but ends up being shot and killed by him before Salim meets his own demise. Unbeknownst to Jamel, who doesn’t know the answer to the final question, he takes a guess without caring about winning anymore because he knows Latika is safe. In a surprising twist of events, Jamel wins the million dollars and is finally reunited with his long-lost love.

The three children are living in unfavorable circumstances, surrounded by the violence of the Bombay riots. They are also orphaned and being cared for by gangsters. It is evident that they believe money can bring them happiness and a better life. When Jamel and Latika discuss their fantasy of living in a big house on Harbour Street, they see it as an escape from their current reality. Jamel truly believes that wealth and a comfortable house would make him happy. However, as Jamel grows older, he realizes that his relationships hold more value. On the other hand, Salim does not come to the same realization and suffers as a result.

The Yagua village in the Amazon is an example discussed in the book. These villagers reside in a traditional community devoid of modern technology and minimal interaction with the external world. Despite this, they lead content lives. Comparatively, the children depicted in Slumdog Millionaire lack family and a nurturing presence, setting them apart. The Yagua village thrives on close-knit bonds while the Slumdog Millionaire children lack the care they require. Furthermore, the villagers do not encounter individuals better off than themselves, unlike those in the slums who witness others prospering daily. These are some of the factors contributing to the discontentment among most characters.

Slumdog Millionaire defines happiness as the possession of strong relationships with others. Jamel strives to maintain close ties whether it is with his mother, brother, or Latika, placing great value on these intimate connections. The movie emphasizes Jamel’s optimistic perspective on his circumstances and his refusal to succumb to their challenges. Money also appears to be a significant objective for the characters, though those who acquire wealth do not find happiness. The novel discusses how money cannot purchase joy. Particularly, we discussed a survey in which individuals were asked whether they would prefer to earn $100,000 annually while everyone else earned $50,000 or earn $100,000 annually while everyone else earned $200,000.

Most people chose the former, and that specifically relates to this. Besides the million dollar win in the end, the amount of money and lifestyle would not be considered as luxurious in the US or other first world countries. Javed and Salim wanted more in their life, and was most likely from other influences. In the ending scene, it wasn’t about money that made Jamal happy, but rather the fact he knew Latika was safe. It also made him happy to talk to her and reestablish their relationship.

Salim’s virtuous qualities as a child gradually diminish as he becomes more self-centered and deceitful as life progresses. However, he does display care for his brother Jamel by saving him from Maman and the gang, who intended to blind him. Besides this act of kindness, Salim often focuses on his own desires and attempts to take Latika away from Jamel multiple times before eventually relenting, but it is clear that these actions hinder his ability to form meaningful connections with others. His difficult life circumstances greatly influenced his path towards death. As a street child, he had limited choices and the allure of money and power proved addictive. He had little knowledge of an alternative life and grew comfortable with his chosen path. Unfortunately, this choice impedes his happiness and ultimately leads to his demise.

Latika’s childhood was presumed to be difficult, as she spent most of it in the care of Maman. Against her will, she was forced into prostitution and trained to become a skilled singer and dancer. The purpose of this training was to increase the price of her virginity. Latika’s life was decided for her, but she did not find true happiness. Even her relationship with Salim and her luxurious lifestyle did not bring her fulfillment. It was only when Jamel showed her “true love” that she finally found happiness. The book demonstrates that relationships are key to fostering happiness.

Jamel overcame a challenging childhood by taking on multiple jobs and money-making strategies. Despite the difficulties, he never lost sight of the importance of relationships and understood that they would bring him true happiness. Unlike his brother, he resisted the temptations of money and participated in the game show “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” purely to get Latika’s attention. He wasn’t driven by greed, but rather by love. Latika became his source of happiness.

Throughout his journey, Jamel learned to be happy no matter his situation, thanks to his optimistic perspective. This positivity played a crucial role in helping him find happiness, as opposed to the twins we observed in class where one had a negative outlook and the other did not. Jamel utilized his positive mindset to his advantage.

The central theme of Slumdog Millionaire is the universal possibility of attaining happiness. Jamel exemplified this by utilizing his resources and persistently pursuing his beliefs. Despite the adversities he faced, he overcame them and discovered both love and happiness. This lesson should be embraced by all, reminding us that regardless of circumstances, inner happiness can be achieved.

The film highlights the theme that money does not guarantee happiness. Salim’s relentless pursuit of wealth ultimately resulted in losing everything he cherished and his own demise. This emphasizes that greed and monetary pursuits cannot lead to a contented and meaningful existence. Instead, focusing on honest work and fostering genuine relationships should be prioritized over seeking immediate riches and surface-level connections. Salim’s life was marked by numerous tragedies, with his acceptance of his fate only occurring towards the end.

Slumdog Millionaire is an inspiring movie that shows anyone can find happiness, even those living in slums. The film’s bitter-sweet ending evokes a strong emotional response. It has a unique style with flashbacks that enhance the story’s organization. The relatable characters bring enjoyment through their humor and laughter. Additionally, the film offers insight into Indian culture, although as a Western viewer, I may not fully understand it. Nevertheless, I found the movie and its analysis enjoyable.

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Slumdog Millionaire Movie Analysis. (2016, Jun 16). Retrieved from

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