An eighteen-year-old from the slums of Mumbai finds himself competing on the game show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” where the questions he must answer offer a look back at his earlier life. The show’s host, however, insists that he must be cheating and takes steps to force young Jamal to admit that a boy from such an impoverished background could not possibly possess the knowledge necessary to win the show’s top prize. by oscar.com
The story 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 “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 game show? When the new day dawns and Jamal returns to answer the final question, the Inspector and sixty million viewers are about to find out. At the heart of its storytelling lies the question of how anyone comes to know the things they know about life and love. Written by Fox Searchlight Pictures
Eighteen year old Jamal Malik is having an amazing answering streak on the Indian version of the television game show, “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”. He’s only one correct question away from the big prize. However, some, including those associated with the game show, question how someone like Jamal, a self confessed non-genius who grew up in the slums of Mumbai, can be doing so well on the show when others who are brighter, more educated and wealthier than him have failed. Is Jamal cheating? Is it purely luck that they have asked him the questions to which he knows the answers? Seeing Jamal’s life journey to this point ultimately answers these questions. His life journey includes being orphaned at an early age; growing up with an older brother, Salim, who was both his guardian/protector and antagonist; and having a relationship since childhood with another orphaned child, a girl named Latika. His motivation for being on the show also may provide some answers to his success. Perhaps it was all just meant to be. Written by Huggo
In Mumbai, the eighteen year-old orphan from the slums Jamal Malik is tortured by the policemen in a precinct accused of cheating a game show. Jamal, who has no education and works in a call center serving tea, is close to wining twenty million rupees in the show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” hosted by Prem Kumar, giving precise answers to the questions and raising suspicion of fraud. The police inspector shows the videotape and after each question, Jamal tells parts of his childhood with his brother Salim, his crush for Latika and their fight to survive on the streets to justify each correct answer, guided by his common sense and past experience, and prove his innocence. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Oscar winner for:
Best Achievement in Cinematography
Anthony Dod Mantle
Best Achievement in Directing
Best Achievement in Editing
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
A.R. Rahman (music)
Sampooran Singh Gulzar (lyrics)
For the song “Jai Ho”.
Best Achievement in Sound
Best Motion Picture of the Year
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
* 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 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”, and also the father-in-law of Aishwarya Rai (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 UK version of ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’ featured in Danny Boyle’s debut film Shallow Grave (1995). He appears as the host of another TV quiz show ‘Lose A Million’ but only on a TV screen.
* In the opening chase scene where Jamal and Salim jump down from a building to the ground is an reference to Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting (1996) in which the main character Renton jumps down into the frame at a drug dealers to eventually overdose on heroin.
* In the scene where the adult Salim’s phone rings soon after the adult Jamal finds him, the ringtone is part of the theme music from A.R. Rahman’s work on the Indian movie Swades: We, the People (2004). Rahman is the music composer for Slumdog Millionaire.
* 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).
* The second Danny Boyle film to feature a protagonist diving into a toilet, after Trainspotting (1996).
* The pile of excreta that the young Jamal jumps into and was made from a combination of peanut butter and chocolate.
* When Salim goes to Javed’s den to announce that he has killed Maman, the movie playing in the theatre nearby is the Sunil Shetty starrer Maseeha (2002). Mahesh Manjrekar, who plays Javed, made his acting debut in Kaante (2002), which was released exactly a week after ‘Maseeha’.
* This movie almost was released straight to DVD instead of getting a theater release.
* A.R. Rahman took just 20 days to compose the entire soundtrack.
* The song “Jai Ho” was originally made for movie Yuvvraaj (2008), composed by A.R. Rahman and lyrics written by Sampooran Singh Gulzar, but the producer Subhash Ghai did not find it fitting in the movie for the actor ‘Zayad Khan’, so he let the song be used for this production.