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?
Factual Mistake When Jamal explains the answer for "truth alone triumphs" question, Jamal asks the inspector for the price of Pani Puri, but the visual shown is that of Dahi Puri.
Factual Mistake 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 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.
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
In almost all the scenes showcasing the character Latika, she is seen to be wearing something yellow.
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.
When Jamal talks to Latika on the phone while 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.
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 producer Subhash Ghai did not find it fitting in the movie and let the song be used for this production.
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.
Local Indian authorities stepped in and moved the children and their families from slums to new houses.
One of two Best Picture Oscar winners to show a child jumping into the waste pool under a toilet. The other being Schindler's List.
Screenwriter Simon Beaufoy had visited India thrice while writing the screenplay.
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