Slumdog Millionaire, Oxymoron
What is Taj Mahal? And how did Mumtaz Mahal (the wife of this legendary Mughal king) die? According to Jamal and Salim, the Taj Mahal is a 5-Star hotel and Mumtaz died in a tragic car accident.
Jamal, Salim and Latika were made orphans in a civil riot at the slums near Mumbai. Jamal, as a typical slum dweller, became a national celebrity overnight through the “Who wants to be a millionaire” show. As a tea boy (cha walla), he answered all the question right! Another story of a young aspiring genius? NO. Except for his immovable love for Latika, he is nothing more than an ordinary Indian man. And because of his contrasting ordinary, he was accused of cheating and tortured to confess how he “cheated”. In the ensuing interrogation, extraordinary stories were patched behind each of his answers.
It didn’t leave any chance to tell a true story. Innocence, betrayal, concession, courage and love were unfolded in between timid chinks at the shady side of the society. Through the eye of children, the eye of the forgotten, the disposable, the most vulnerable class in the society, the world is naked: dirty slum, injustice, arrogant police officers, merciless children trafficker, sweat train, mafia, prostitution, sly host and call centers. The ingenious screenplay strikes audience’s sensation in every imaginable and unimaginable angle! It is breathlessly action packed and sweepingly emotionally charged. Each character was so carefully, distinctively and vividly constructed, that we could meet over the corner of the streets.
I laughed at their creative tour guide; felt sore in my throat and nose when people’s life were depicted so cheap; shocked when the teenager Salim indeed pulled the trigger to kill gangster Maman; moved by Jamal’s everlasting love for Latika; electrified by the national euphoria stirred by Jamal’s stunning miracle.
I am not a movie freak. One would be more often to find an apple on an orange tree than to find me in a theater. Even I was shocked by how much I loved the story. When Jamal was escort from the police station to the “millionaire show”, I was shedding happy tears uncontrollably. That emotion caught me again when Latika gleamed behind the passing train, then Jamal rose to his feet, maneuvered towards swiftly, determinedly and carefully.
“It was written for us” he told her. I, like many others in the theater, was crying long after the last scene was cut. As it supposed to be, he believed what had been written. I was keep thinking what I do believe in my life?
It has set a new height of a good movie for me. The movie has deservingly pocketed 4 Golden Globes: Best original play, Best Motion Picture – drama, Best screen play and Best director. On top of that, it has also picked the Producer Guild Award, which is considered the most credible indication for academic awards. Put in a simple word, “if you have not seen it yet, drop everything you are doing tonight and watch it instead”.