Friday, December 26, 2008

Slumdog Millionaire is my Christmas surprise

I had not heard of Slumdog Millionaire before lining up for it at Celebration Cinema Christmas night with the Wildt crew.

False. I had heard of it. A douche-bag friend of mine has had a facebook status update of " a slumdog millionaire" for weeks. With his ringing endorsement, I wasn't expecting much.

But I was wrong. It's been called a masterpiece and is already Oscar-bound.

Told through a series of questions on India's "Who Wants to be a Millionaire," where the top prize is actually 20 million rupees, Slumdog is the story of Jamal Malik's rise from Bombay-slum outhouse attendant to television millionaire sensation. Each question leads to a different chapter in Jamal's life, and each right answer leads Jamal, an assistant at a call center who serves a mean glass of tea, closer to his childhood-dream girl, Lakita. (After the movie, Dave Wildt said she might be the most beautiful woman in the world.)

The film benefits from a unique and drama-laden story vehicle - the game show - a universal plot - persistence on the reward of love - and two genius child actors - Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail and Ayush Mahesh Khedekar - who play the young Jamal (Khedekar) and Salim, his brother. The children live on screen with the same ironic joy and aloofness as children in "City of God" another tragic slum movie.

It's a compelling story, based on the book Q&A by Vikas Swarup, with a Boxcar Children-lovable cast and, though you have to wait for it, a killer Bollywood dance number at the end.

Check it out.


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