The director of Trainspotting (1996) is right back on form with this smoothly designed film about Jamal Malik, an uneducated Indian from the slums who becomes a national hero by winning millions of rupees in a TV quiz. ‘From rags to raja,’ according to the quizmaster with a superior grin. How did he do it? The film offers four options: he cheated, he was lucky, he's a genius, it's fate. The police are suspicious, and in between the two days in which the live broadcast takes place, Ja is subjected to a hard handed interrogation. In order to explain the right answers to the quiz questions, he describes to the officer his childhood, which we see passing in flashbacks.
As a child, Jamal was inseparable from his brother Salim in a huge violent slum district. Gradually the two brothers start to vie for attention as they grow up, fed by a shared and continual interest in beautiful Latika.
Boyle edited the two periods together beautifully and plays with tilted frames, depth of focus, close-ups and moving camera, thanks to cameraman Anthony Dod Mantle (Festen, 1998). The scenario refers regularly to Oliver Twist and is by Simon Beaufoy (The Full Monty, 1997), based on Vikas Swarup's novel Q&A. The soundtrack is an encounter between East and West with songs by the English-Sri Lankan artist M.I.A. (Paper Planes) and a soundtrack by Bollywood master A.R. Rahman.

Filmmaker
Danny Boyle
Country
United Kingdom
Year
2008
Medium
35mm
Length
110’
Language
English, Hindi
Producer
Christian Colson
Production Company
Celador Films, Warner Bros. Pictures, Film4
Sales
Pathé International
Writer
Simon Beaufoy
Cinematography
Anthony Dod Mantle
Editor
Chris Dickens
Production Design
Mark Digby
Sound Design
Glenn Freemantle
Music
A.R. Rahman
Cast
Dev Patel, Madhur Mittal