DVD: Slumdog Millionaire (15)

Rob Sharp
Friday 22 May 2009 00:00

If you've not heard of Danny Boyle's vibrant journey through Mumbai's slums courtesy of brothers Jamal and Salim Malik (a variety of Indian and British actors playing them as they age) then you've been living on another planet.

The multi-Oscar-winning film begins with Jamal (Dev Patel) appearing on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? As he progresses through the show, the programme's host, Prem Kumar (Anil Kapoor) become increasingly unbelieving that Jamal is answering the questions legitimately, and organises for the young call centre worker to be taken in by the local police and interrogated. Under duress, it emerges that Jamal knows all of the show's answers due to the serendipitous circumstances of his struggle to survive in the slums of Mumbai. The film's narrative is then told through flashbacks explaining each of these circumstances.

It's a clever premise, and while the film cannot hope to realistically portray slum life, and observations that it is a telling portrait of class snobbery in India are perhaps wistful (we'll leave that to the book it was based on, Vikas Swarup's Q&A), if you're after a tear-jerking romantic romp with a modern twist this might be it. The cinematography stands up on DVD, where the picture is finished with some glitzy, if not massively insightful making-of featurettes.

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