A Mumbai teen who grew up in the slums, is miraculously on the verge of winning the Indian version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" He is arrested under suspicion of cheating, and while being interrogated, events from his life history unfold, explaining why he knows the answers.
This is the evocative tale of Jamal Malik, an 18 year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai, who is about to experience the biggest day of his life. With the whole nation watching, he is just one question away from winning a staggering 20 million rupees on India's Kaun Banega Crorepati? (Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?) But when the show breaks for the night, police arrest him on suspicion of cheating; how could a street kid know so much?
Desperate to prove his innocence, Jamal tells the story of his life in the slum where he and his brother grew up, of their adventures together on the road, of vicious encounters with local gangs, and of Latika, the girl he loved and lost.
Each chapter of his story reveals the key to the answer to one of the game show's questions. Each chapter of Jamal's increasingly layered story reveals where he learned the answers to the show's seemingly impossible quizzes. But one question remains a mystery: what is this young man with no apparent desire for riches really doing on the show in the first place?
Tagline: Love and money... You have mixed them both.
Hindi Name: स्लमडॉग मिलियनेयर
Based on 1 rating
Based on 1 rating
Did you know? When viewers objected to the term "Slumdog" as racist-sounding, director Danny Boyle explained that it wasn't; the word is a combination of Jamal's twin standings as a "slum-dweller" and an "underdog". Read More
Factual Mistake In the movie, the correct answer to the question of who wrote the song "Darshan Do Ghanshyam Naath" is shown as 16th century poet "Kavi Surdas". However in reality, this song is written by Gopal Singh Nepali for the movie Narsi Bhagat. This song is also credited as traditional and originally written by 15th century poet Narsinh Mehta, whose life that film is based on. (Many, including the film, mistakenly attribute it to the 16th-century poet Surdas due to the fact that Surdas was blind and the song is a prayer asking God to "appear" before him, for his "eyes thirst for Your sight".)
Factual Mistake When Jamal explains the answer for "truth alone triumphs" question, Jamal asks the inspector for the price of Pani Puri, but the video shown is that of Dahi Puri.
Factual Mistake The "Millionaire" format is sold worldwide with the same rules, with small variations, like the amount of the final prize to adjust for the currency value. One rule is the presence of the two milestone - or "parachute" - questions (#5 and #10), to prevent the contestants' prize from falling further if they answer wrong. Yet the host keeps mentioning that if Jamal answers wrong he will "lose everything" or "get nothing".
Factual Mistake When the policeman handcuffs Jamal to the chair he uses handcuffs that click shut. In India Darby handcuffs are used.
Errors in Geography When the American couple gives money to a freshly-beaten Jamal, the husband is wearing his wedding ring in the European fashion, on his right hand, rather than the left.
Errors in Geography The cricket match shown between India and South Africa was played in the Belfast, whereas the commentator says that it's being played in the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
Errors in Geography When the policeman handcuffs Jamal to the chair he uses handcuffs that click shut. In India, Darby handcuffs are used.
Continuity When Salim and Jamal find Latika in the dance studio she is seen without and then with a nose ring.
Continuity While in the police station Jamal drinks down a glass of Chai and sets it on the table in front of him. In the following shot the glass is full again.
Continuity When Jamal is asked by Latika to leave the mansion and forget about her, he accidentally pulls up one side of his collar when taking off his apron. However, in the next shot, his collar is down again. When he actually leaves the mansion his collar is up once again.
Continuity A large pimple on the right side of Jamal's face appears then disappears then reappears, depending on whether he is being interrogated by the police or is answering questions as a television game-show contestant, even though those events supposedly occurred in the plot within a span of just a few hours.
Continuity When Jamal is at the front gate of Javed's house and is telling the guard that he is the new dishwasher, his shirt changes from a dark patterned long-sleeved button-up shirt to a lighter blue short-sleeved button-up shirt. When Jamal enters the house, he is wearing the long-sleeved shirt again.
Continuity When Jamal asks Latika to leave with him from the gangster's home , she has a visible bruise under her left eye that appears and disappears between shots.
Continuity Jamal is shuttled directly to the studio from the police station where he was beaten and tortured. His swollen eye clears up entirely by the time he gets to the show.
Continuity Jamal's skin as a kid is brown, but as an adult it's much whiter.
Continuity While preteen Jamal is at the opera wetting his face with water, his black eye, which he sustained as a tour guide for the American couple after Salim orchestrated the stripping of the car parts, briefly switches from his left eye to his right eye when he turns his head to the right (no, not in the reflection in the water) then returns back to his left eye.
Continuity The sequence of answers to the game show questions should be "A, B, C or D". In several scenes, the actual sequence can be seen alternating between "ABCD" and "ADCD"
Continuity When Jamal is answering the question about Jack Hobbs, there are only two answers to choose from: B & D. Jack Hobbs is D, but Jamal keeps saying, "A...Jack Hobbs." He says "A" more than once.
Character Error The host used the expression "cell phone", which is mostly used in North America, while India and most of the Commonwealth world uses "mobile phone".
Miscellaneous In the room where Latika is dancing, when Jamal and Salim come to free her and Maman shows up with his tough guys, a boom mic operator can be seen in the mirror in several shots.
Audio/Video Mismatch In the scene where Javed is partying with his friends and Latika is held captive, the audio playing in the background is from the movie Don, whereas the visual shown on TV is from the movie Yuva.
Audio/Video Mismatch When Salim & Jamal goto rescue Latika, he pulls out his gun and you hear the hammer being cocked and when he points the gun at the gang member the hammer is not cocked
Miscellaneous Although the events of the movie are set in the summer of 2006, the cricket match being played at Javed's house between India and South Africa was played in 2007.
Miscellaneous The scene where young Jamal tries to steal food, hanging upside down on the train shows a window which had removable bars (it's like a fire escape). These kind of bars were not installed until after the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Miscellaneous The trains on which Jamal and Salim escape and live for many days have compartments painted in blue color. The blue color compartments came into existence at a later date. The compartments were painted Red back then.
Miscellaneous In the scene where Salim and Jamal are working the crowds at the Taj Mahal in 2002, Jamal has a 2006 $10 bill in his hand.
Miscellaneous The movie shows news reports from Live India, a television channel. The plot says that is 2006, but Live India was launched in 2007. It was previously called Janmat.
Miscellaneous At the end of the last song and dance sequence on the railway platform, hoardings for shows on NDTV Imagine (and entertainment TV channel) are prominent. NDTV Imagine launched in 2008 and the promotion could not have began in 2006 - the year where the story of the film happens in.
Danny Boyle originally wanted Indian actor Shah Rukh Khan -- who had hosted the final season of Kaun Banega Crorepati? (the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire) -- to play the game show host, but the actor was not available. The actor who plays the host, Anil Kapoor, was a guest on the show and won 5,000,000 Rupees.
Indian diplomat Vikas Swarup wrote his debut novel "Q and A" after he was inspired by Professor Sugata Mitra's "Hole in the Wall" experiment, which set up computer kiosks in Indian slums so that anyone could use them and have access to the Internet. The novel was then adapted into the screenplay of "Slumdog Millionaire". The Hole in the Wall experiment has gone on to become Hole in the Wall Education Limited (HiWEL), which has 300 kiosks available to over 300,000 children in India and several African countries.
In almost all scenes with the character Latika, she is seen to be wearing something yellow.
This is the first "de facto" foreign film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture since The Last Emperor in 1988. Neither films were produced or supported by a major American film studio.
Frederick W. Stevens' name is on a pillar in the railway station that Jamal sits next to towards the end of the movie. Stevens worked for the British colonial government in Bombay as an architectural engineer and designed the station, known as Victoria Terminus.
Danny Boyle: [Scotland] The first customer Jamal speaks to while working on the phones at the call center is an irate Scottish woman who lives in Kingussie, Inverness.
When Jamal talks to Latika on the phone as he is facing the final question, she starts to tell him "God is with you" in unsubtitled Hindi just as the call is cut off.
At the end of the film when Salim is killed, his death mirrors the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. Both were shot in the chest at point blank range, and Salim's last words - "God is great" - were, according to a number of eye-witnesses, also Gandhi's.
The opera that Jamal and Salim see a bit of from under the bleachers at the Taj Mahal is Christoph Willibald Gluck's "Orfeo ed Euridice" based on the Greek myth in which Orpheus, distraught at his wife Euridice's death, travels all the way to the Underworld in an attempt to retrieve her. Jamal's lifelong quest to rescue Latika from the various "underworld" figures who have control of her is an echo of this myth. Furthermore, the first singer to perform the role of Orpheus (in 1762) was a castrato, which means that while he was a little boy, he had been castrated so as to allow him to continue hitting the higher notes that boy singers can reach before they undergo puberty and their voices drop. The film's subplot in which children are kidnapped by Maman and mutilated so that they will be more lucrative beggars and street singers is an echo of this opera's history.
Jamal and Latika's dance at the end of the movie was originally choreographed for the song "Aaj Ki Raat" from "Don". Editor Chris Dickens is responsible for synchronizing the steps with the beats of "Jai Ho". "Aaj Ki Raat", however, is also part of this movie.
Mercedes-Benz asked that its logos be removed in scenes taking place in the slums. The company, according to Danny Boyle, did not want to be associated with the poverty-stricken area, fearing that that might taint its image.
The pile of excreta that the young Jamal jumps into was made from a combination of peanut butter and chocolate.
When viewers objected to the term "Slumdog" as racist-sounding, director Danny Boyle explained that it wasn't; the word is a combination of Jamal's twin standings as a "slum-dweller" and an "underdog".
Jamal was asked to name the all-time highest scoring cricket star, on the Indian version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire". One of the four possible candidates offered to Jamal, in fact the winning choice, was Danny Boyle. Boyle is the film's director.
The actor whose autograph young Jamal gets is Amitabh Bachchan. Amitabh Bachchan is a very real, and very famous Indian actor, the original host of the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (called Kaun Banega Crorepati?), and also the father-in-law of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (or Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan as she is known after marriage).
The cricket match being shown on television in Javed's house is the 1st one day international of the Future Cup between India and South Africa played at Civil Service Cricket Club, Stormont, Belfast on June 26 2007. As shown in the movie, Sachin Tendulkar, the Indian batsman, was run out on 99. India went on to score 242 and South Africa won the match by 4 wickets with 3 balls remaining.
The film used a prototype Digital Cinema Camera from Silicon Imaging. When used in Mumbai, there were SI technicians on set constantly to deal with any problems the prototype had, of which there were many.
Director Danny Boyle placed the money to be paid to the 3 lead child actors in a trust that is to be released to them upon their completion of grade school at 16 years of age. The production company has set up for an auto-rikshaw driver to take the kids to school everyday until they are 16 years old.
Chris Tarrant, the host of the original, UK version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, featured in Danny Boyle's debut film Shallow Grave. He appears as the host of another TV quiz show "Lose A Million" but only on a TV screen.
The current exchange rate for 20,000,000 Rupees (the grand prize on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire") is USD$411,600.
The film was originally intended to receive a PG-13 rating. In the end, it received an R rating because of its intense tone. With no time or money for appeals, the film was released with its given rating.
Approximately 20% of the movie's dialog is in Hindi (with English subtitles).
This movie almost was released straight to DVD instead of getting a theatrical release.
A.R. Rahman took just 20 days to compose the entire soundtrack.
The song "Jai Ho" was originally made for movie Yuvvraaj, composed by A.R. Rahman and lyrics written by Gulzar, but the producer Subhash Ghai did not find it fitting in the movie for the actor Zayed Khan, so he let the song be used for this production.
In the scene early in the film where Maman approaches Jamal and Salim to give them a cool drink, the "Thums Up" branding had to be removed on the request of the manufacturers who did not want to be associated with the film.
As of 2010, this and "Schindler's List" are the only films to win Best Picture, Director and Screenplay at the Golden Globes, BAFTAs and the Oscars.
Longiness Fernandes was the choreographer of the dance sequence set to the song "Jai Ho", which is played during the end credits. But his name was inadvertently left out in the credits of the film. Upset with this, Longiness skipped the preview parties. Danny Boyle was also upset over this mistake and promised Longiness that he would make it up to him, and did it in style. While accepting the Best Director Oscar, he admitted his mistake before the audience and thanked Longiness. The song "Jai Ho" also won the Best Song Oscar for A.R. Rahman and Gulzar.
Local Indian authorities decided to step in and move the children and their families from slums to new houses.
Inside the police station, photographic portraits of Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, Indira Gandhi and Mohandas K. Gandhi can be seen on the wall.
This movie is the first Best Cinematography Oscar winner to be predominantly shot in digital. This is also the first Best Picture Oscar winner since 1928 not to be shot on Kodak film (35mm segments were filmed on Fuji stocks).
Throughout the film, particularly in the scenes where Jamal lives as a child in the slums, we can see the word "chaiwala" (tea server) which will be Jamal's profession.
One of two Best Picture Oscar winners to show a child jumping into the waste pool under a toilet. The other is Schindler's List.
Screenwriter Simon Beaufoy visited India three times while writing the screenplay.
When initially released on DVD in the United States, March 2009, Fox Home Entertainment accidentally shipped to retailers millions of rental DVD copies packaged in retail DVD cases. These DVDs were distinguished by having none of the bonus features advertised other than several movie trailers. As a result, a massive recall effort was implemented over the web, with the assistance of UPS for customers to exchange the rental DVDs for the retail ones.
Ranked number 2 in Empire's top films of the year 2009, losing the top spot to Let the Right One In.
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