Friday, January 30, 2009

Movie Slumdog Millionaire is based on a true story.

BBC UK - Slumdog Millionaire, Danny Boyle's new film based on a rags-to-riches tale of an Indian slum boy. This actually happened. A guy from slum got a chance in India's version of Who wants to be a millionaire. He started giving all answers very correct. The show host and producers said educated and rich people from high society were not able to answer tough question than how come a guy from slum answering. So they got him arrested at the end of first day of show saying he might be cheating. He was beaten by the police and was told to get out of the show the next day by giving wrong answer.

Slumdog Millionaire, Danny Boyle's new film based on a rags-to-riches tale of an Indian slum boy, has already become one of the hits of the year. The BBC's Soutik Biswas wonders whether it is really the "masterpiece" it is made out to be.

Like his protagonist, a gutsy 18-year-old slum boy who is on the verge of winning 20 million rupees (about $400,000) in a popular TV quiz show, Danny Boyle has hit an unlikely jackpot with Slumdog Millionaire. 
And much like Jamal, a child who nobody believes could get this far on the TV show without cheating, Boyle is being roasted by some critics for taking an easy shortcut and "using" poverty to serve up a we-are-poor-but-we-are-happy story. 

Poverty, like a lot of things, is good business in a free market. But India is also exceedingly cruel to its poor and callous towards its children, and is one of the most unequal societies in the world. 

Everybody loves a good underdog. That is why Slumdog strikes a chord with audiences in these depressing times. But a clever telling of the story cannot hide the banality of it. 
Slumdog proves - like many films - that globalisation has largely failed to make cultures understand each other better. Because Indian cinema is synonymous with feckless Bollywood fare to many in the West, a vast body of critically acclaimed and often, popular, work which has consistently exposed India's underbelly with more ferocity and vigour than any foreign film is routinely ignored. 
Remember Satyajit Ray, India's only Oscar-winning filmmaker - derided in his own country as a pedlar of poverty - and his early work based in famished Indian villages.

"Slumdog Millionaire" is based on the novel "Q&A" by Vikas Swarup. It's about a young man named Jamal who, as the film begins, is one question away from the grand prize on the Indian version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" But how did this poor orphan get so far on the seemingly impossible game show?

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