Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Dev Patel, Anil Kapoor, Freida Pinto, Irrfan Khan

"Love and money ... You have mixed them both"

No wonder this delightful movie won all the major film awards (so far), it is a gem! A smorgasbord of all the emotions known to mankind all neatly manifest themselves within the film. It deals with grief, intrigue, happiness, envy, vengeance, personal triumphs and most of all love with a capital L.

It is the story of Jamal whose very interesting life unfolds on screen through his answers on the game show "Who wants to be a Millionaire?". Set in the chaotic slums of Mumbai, this vibrant city is vividly exposed in all its raw, poverty stricken elements.

The cast is composed of characters of all sizes and shapes - you have shady villains (corrupt policemen, syndicate members prying on innocent kids, envious game show host), innocent children growing up in very harsh conditions. But most of all, it is the two or I should say the three main characters - Jamal, Latika and Salim - whose various struggles and daring exploits contributed the necessary ingredients to make every single minute of this gripping human drama worth watching. The young actors (especially the toddlers) delivered very believable performances, their portrayal was very poignant and really heartwarming. A feat for first time actors.

The film is accompanied by a musical score that is filled with typical Indian melodic music/songs composed by A.R. Rahman, one of India's best musicians/composers. Most of the dialogue is in the Hindi dialect with English subtitles.

My formative years were spent growing up in New Delhi so I am quite familiar with the antics of the Indian populace. Their hero worship of Amitabh Bachchan (a local actor) is very well portrayed in the film. It simply cracked me up. Some of the Hindi words used in the dialogue made me nod with comprehension. The film is also a very realistic depiction of life in general in the Indian subcontinent. The huge gap between the haves and the have nots. The grim existence in the slums area. The corrupt public officials. Even the sweaty humid weather was clearly evident in the numerous scenes.

But inspite and despite the mayhem and the hardship, a pure love story blossoms. A romance that slowly yet definitely touch at your heartstrings. The kind of love story that is rarely depicted in films, nowadays. It was refreshing to watch it unfold.

I certainly won't be surprised if this film bags the best film honors at the upcoming Academy Awards this Sunday.

I'd have to say the film is worth watching several times if only to get some of that positive energy vibe to rub off on us during these tough economic times.

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