Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

The boy who had the answer to every question.

Jamal Malik is just one question away from winning a fortune on India’s version of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” But how has this uneducated young man from the slums succeeded in providing correct responses to questions that have stumped countless scholars before him? And will he ultimately win it all or lose everything, including his true love? Starring Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Madhur Mittal, Irrfan Khan, Anil Kapoor and directed by Danny Boyle. Winner of 8 Oscars, including Best Motion Picture of the Year, and 4 Golden Globes.

Information

Dev as: Jamal Malik
Directed by: Danny Boyle & Loveleen Tandan (co-director)
Written by: Simon Beaufoy & Vikas Swarup (Novel)
Other cast: Freida Pinto (Latika), Madhur Mittal (Salim), Irrfan Khan (Police Inspector), & Anil Kapoor (Prem).
Release Date: August 30, 2008 (Telluride) | November 12, 2008 (USA)
Runtime: 120 min
Boxoffice: $377,910,544 (Worldwide)
Critical Acclaim: 92% Rotten Tomatoes | 86 Meta Critics Score

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Production Notes

The global adventure of making Slumdog Millionaire began with an unpublished manuscript from an obscure Indian writer: the debut novel of diplomat Vikas Swarup, Q and A, which traced the circuitous story of a young slum-dweller charged with foul play after winning a massive fortune on the nation’s most popular TV quiz show. The story’s mix-mastering of high comedy with deep poignancy, and its journey through a modern India teeming with equal parts human strife and human wonder, attracted the attention of executive producer Tessa Ross, the head of film and drama at Channel 4.

Dev Patel became the only one who ended up being cast from London – most were cast in Mumbai — which only seemed to enhance his character. “We felt Dev had a wonderful fish out of water quality,” says Colson. “He’s immensely likeable and sympathetic. There’s a great innocence to the character of Jamal, a great optimism if you like. He’s someone who never loses his goodness, despite all the various evils that are perpetrated on him.”

For Patel, the lengthy auditioning process was excruciating. “I went home from my last audition nearly crying, in tears,” he recalls. “Then I remember my mum was at the bank and I was meeting her to do shopping and when I arrived she had tears in her eyes. I said, `Mum, what’s wrong?’ She said, `You wouldn’t believe who I’ve just had a call from.’ And she told me the news and we were ecstatic. I was literally shocked. I couldn’t believe it to be honest and I really wanted to get hold of Danny to check if it was legitimate or if someone was playing a trick on me.”

Being his first feature film role, and having grown up in Harrow in North West London, Patel was nervous about portraying a character born to a cutthroat life in the slums of Mumbai. He felt enormous pressure to get the accent – and the essence of Jamal’s hidden dreams. Arriving in India some time before his scenes were scheduled to shoot, he immersed himself in the vibrant, strife-filled atmosphere of the Mumbai streets to absorb the local mannerisms and tone, a revelatory experience in many ways for him. “Being a London kid, a British Asian, and having the chance to go to India and get in touch with those roots was really nice,” he says. “It’s like I found another piece of myself.”

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