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Themes of Slumdog Millionaire Essay

Prejudice happens when people have a false preconception about an individual or a group. It is seen throughout this movie and even in the title of the movie Slumdog. Jamal comes from a one of the poorest areas in India Mumbai. He has no education, no family and no means to support himself. His whole life he is categorized as a Slumdog because of his where he raised as a child. Coming from the Slums of Mumbai other Indians categorized Jamal as someone of no importance. As Jamal is being interrogated by the police inspector they wonder to themselves how can a Slumdog answer all those questions correctly. Jamal because of his social-economic standing was thought to have cheated when he answered the questions correctly. It was believed that this lower class Indian (A Chia-wallah Slumdog”) should not have been able to answer such questions because they were not relevant to his world. He was from the streets of Mumbai. These questions were thought to only be able to correctly be answered by a better educated middle or upper class Indian. This was obvious by the way the game show host would talk down to Jamal and even refer to him as a Slumdog on national television. The game show host has an air of superiority and a condescending manner to Jamal.

The theme of poverty is seen throughout this movie as the viewer is given a glimpse of the life that Jamal and his brother had to endure.

When someone is up against a situation that may be dangerous, difficult or life-threatening, they may resort to violence. Violence can be a method of coping or someone’s way of solving their problems. Violence is common in the movie “Slumdog Millionaire

when two brothers Jamal and Salim Malik are very young. Living in the slums of India, families are prone to violence. Jamal and Salim grew up seeing violence because of where they lived, and became used to it. They had been born into absolute poverty and at such a young age had no way out. Violence comes into play when the Bombay riots occur and the result is the murder of the boy’s mother and the murders of many others. At this point the boys are all alone; they only had a mother so now they have to survive on their own. You can see from the movie that people in Mumbai are not afraid to use authority. If the people feel like they are more superior or upper class that they have the right to treat the lower class with little respect. For instance when the boys are late for school the teacher had no problem hitting Jamal on top of the head with a book, he treats him as if he is his own child.


‘Slumdog Millionaire’, directed by Danny Boyle, is the uplifting story of a young street boy who exceeds expectations and wins big on the TV game show ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.’ Two key themes that the film highlights are Money and Justice, an example of these themes being used is that Mumbai is portrayed as a place of terrifying poverty and unforgettable brutality where both money and justice are a thing of scarcity, Justice in particular is seen as favouring the rich while Money is used as a dividing line between the rich and the poor.

‘Slumdog Millionaire’ presents money as something of high value and a symbol of wealth in comparison to the high level of surrounding poverty; this is clearly seen early in the film when gangster boss Javed is being driven through the slums, his rich façade contrasting with the surrounding poverty.

The film commonly suggests that money corrupts; this can be seen in many instances such as when Jamal and his brother Salim begin scamming people into tours of the Taj Mahal or how Javed expresses his wealth through a richly decorated house.

A key message brought in towards the end of the film is that Money is less important than love, we see this when Salim sets Latika free and sacrifices himself for the preservation of others. It can also be seen when Jamal speaks to Latika over the phone and realising that she is safe no longer cares about the million dollar question at hand.

The story line of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ is centred on the theme of Justice; the Christian view of justice is the ‘Justice of God’ meaning the prevalence of sin. Justice in the film is seen from a variety of perspectives including that of sinful nature,…

“Your destiny is in your hands brother” To what extent do the characters in ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ have control over their own fate?
Throughout the course of the film, each character displays differing amounts of control over their lives. Latika has limited influence over her destiny unlike Salim who has the most. Jamal however, experiences a mix of influences as well as his own decisions which influence his fate.

Latika lives her life making minimal decisions about her destiny. As a young, beautiful, female, she is constantly targeted by men. As this began when she was an orphaned child, it became her way of life. She never had to make decisions about her life, as someone was always there to do it for her. When she does try to take control, such as when her, Salim and Jamal ran away from Maman, it resulted in her being punished. This control by men is highlighted in the close up Salim letting go of Latikas hand during their escape from Maman. This action ultimately decides that she will be under Mamans control. Again, whilst in Mamans possession, her path is being chosen for her. Maman decides that she will become a prostitute as he see’s her as a way for him to make money.

“Have you any idea what this virgin is worth?” Once rescued, Latika comes under Salims control, as is Jamal partly. Again, whilst she is with the brothers, she needs not make any decisions as they are all made for her. Salim decides that Latika is now his, not Jamals. “I’m number one now”. He emphasizes this through the closing of the hotel room door, which is seen in a close up shot from Jamals perspective. Salim again takes control of Latika in scene 24 which is seen through the wide shot of Salim giving Latika his car keys. This scene highlights Salims control over Latika yet again, however it also displays that Latika is finally making decisions for herself, to go after Jamal, even if the opportunity is set up by Salim and is highly influenced by him.

Struggle of a childhood:

The 2008 British drama film, Slumdog Millionaire, produced by Celador films and Film4 productions, was written by Simon Beaufoy, directed by Danny Boyle and co-directed by Loveleen Tandan. The film was released in United States on November 12, 2008 and in the United Kingdom on January 9, 2009 with its grand premiere taking place in Mumbai on January 22, 2009. Slumdog Millionaire is one of the most awarded movies of the past decade winning, eight Oscars, seven BAFTA Awards, five Critics’ Choice Awards and four Golden Globes. The movie takes the viewer on a journey through the reality millions of children continue to live through in the slums of Mumbai, India; one critic says, the film is: A gaudy, gorgeous rush of color, sound and motion, “Slumdog Millionaire”, the latest from the British shape-shifter Danny Boyle, doesn’t travel through the lower depths, it giddily bounces from one horror to the next. A modern fairy tale about a pauper angling to become a prince, this sensory blowout largely takes place amid the squalor of Mumbai, India, where lost children and dog sift through trash so fetid you swear you can smell the discarded mango as well as its peel, of could if the film weren’t already hurtling through another picturesque gutter” (Dargis, 2008).

The major theme of the movie deals with the struggles of children living a squalid existence dreaming of a better life.
Slumdog Millionaire is a movie about true love and destiny, presented in a flashback format, running back and forth between three different time frames, in which the main character, Jamal Malik, (portrayed by Dev Patel) an 18 year-old orphan who has grown up in the Dharavi slums of Mumbai, India, who in 2006 recounts deeply disturbing episodes of his life as flashbacks that lead him to the correct answer for each question formulated on the Hindi version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, where he participates as a contestant on the television show while the entire nation…

Cultural Issues:

“Slumdog Millionaire”, a film set in the Twenty-first century of modern day India, is a great case for the Cultural and Economic Globalization theory. This movie has at its core a western influence and a quest for freedom through economic empowerment (capitalism), utilizing the love of western culture and modern technology. The film has as its central character a young Indian man name Jamal Malik, who was born into misfortune, which is to say he was born into absolute poverty. He was an orphan, and he was from the slums of Mumbai. He grew up with his 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. Jamal, had no education and worked in a call center serving tea. However, his resourcefulness and street smarts helped him to adapt to his ever challenging environment and navigate his way through his very difficult life. According to India’s traditional (albeit disappearing) caste system, he is expected to remain in abject poverty until death. This young Indian man’s life was forever altered by western culture and technology, through the popular Indian version of the American Television show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”.

Lifestyles of the broke & unknown:

In 2009, the Oscar for Best Motion Picture of the Year was awarded to Christian Colson for the movie Slumdog Millionaire.
This is the success story of an uneducated youth, raised in slums of India, who was granted the opportunity to compete in the Indian version of the popular US TV game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire.

In the end our main character, Jamal Malik (played by Dav Patel), wins the 20 million rupees. A big question wondered by the game show host is how a young man from the slums knows the answers to every question when other worldly and scholarly men, in high ranking positions were never able to answer every question. By chance each question he is asked manages to pertain to an event of importance in his life. With every question we flashbacked to a time in Jamal’s life where something happened to him and he picked up some fact along the way. Coincidentally those memories of the moments in his life would be the answers he would use to change his life.

Most of the experiences depicted in the film of Jamal’s life, starred a young girl named Latika (played by Freida Pinto). She became not only the love of his life but also his motivation that drove him to play the Who Wants to be a Millionaire in the first place.

“Was she pretty? … I guess not.” –Police Inspector “The most beautiful woman in the world.”—Jamal Malik
“He means “the bitch of the slums.” [Laughs] –Constable His integrity and honesty are called into question the further he advances in the game.
A main focal point of this movie was Jamal’s social class status, his gender among his social class and the comparative to other classes. The background story to this movie also shows the status of Latika’s gender in her race and social class in comparison to the opposite gender in any other class.

Strong and good moral will eventually succeed.

I think the main message is that a person with a strong and good moral will eventually succeed. I think that is the major issue raised while watching this movie. Slumdog millionaire is a movie about love, passion and hatred. It shows how 2 brothers choose very different roads to gain success. One wants money the other wants love.

In this movie, what defines success is also inner peace. And one of the brothers will never stop until he gets it. In one of the scenes we see a group of people running through the slums of Mumbai. They kill many people; Jamal’s mother was beaten to death with a club. After this incident, Jamal, Salim and Latika run to safety. This is the first and maybe worst thing that the boys experience. They lost their mother and they also saw how much suffering the people was put through.

All this causes a change in them, they have to rely on each other from now on. This is the start of their friendship. That is what I’ll be focusing on, the struggles and relationships between Jamal, Latika and Salim.

Early in the movie images of his own mom appear in Jamal’s dream. When he wakes up from his dream, he sees Latika outside the tent they are sleeping in. She is freezing, and Jamal feels sorry for her. He wants to let her inside the tent. He wants to make her their third musketeer. Salim disagrees. In the movie Salim is very dependent on Jamal. Not for protection but for brotherhood. He doesn’t want Latika to take his spot. He is maybe hiding a fear for losing his brother. The movie holds a sort of anger between Salim and Latika where they both want Jamal. After a while Latika is allowed in the tent and they share their names. Jamal, Salim and Latika later meet a gangster named Maman. His entrance in the movie is a huge contrast to Jamal. He wears fine clothing…

Slumdog Millionaire, the 2008 Oscar-winning film is largely popular for its exposure of problems and issues within modern-day society.  The motion picture illustrates the life of Jamal Malik of Mumbai, India, and his journey in life to be with Latika, a childhood friend. The film shows Jamal as a contestant on the popular hit show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” as well as being questioned at the police station. Flashbacks occur of Jamal’s life with each question asked on the television show and when the detective asks. Slumdog Millionaire is of literary merit because it challenges readers to face the raw, cruel nature of modern-day society and the people living in it. Based on the novel Q&ump;A by Indian author Vikas Swarup, who wrote the novel to show the corruption he was exposed to all his life. Jamal, his older brother, Salim, and Latika are all dubbed ‘slumdogs,’ or poor people that grew up in the slums. A slumdog is comparably the same thing as what Americans know to be a gangster.

Jamal and Salim lose their mother at very young ages, and are forced to depend on themselves, and the easiest way they see is to lie, cheat, steal, beg, gamble, and even later in the film, murder to get what they want.

The film shows Salim murder a man so he can take Latika from him, as well as murder other people for various amounts of cash. He even puts a revolver to Jamal, his own brother’s head, and tells him he will shoot if he does not leave so he can rape Latika. The sick side of common life is shown here.

Latika is also shown as being forced into prostitution so her ‘owner’ can make money. Other immoral activities highlighted include intentional maiming of children, suicides, and corruption of family and self.

Slumdog Millionare of 2008 has won over one hundred various awards for its rawness and severity of the truth. It bravely exposes everything wrong with society and the problems with nobody doing anything about it.


A film like “Slumdog Millionaire” doesn’t come along very often. But when it does, we end up falling in love. Slumdog Millionaire is one of the most heart-warming and inspirational stories in recent years. It takes place on Mumbai, India, where eighteen year old Jamal Salik is a contestant on the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?.

Jamal is one question away from winning the top prize of the show, but the host can’t understand how an uneducated young boy from a slum knows the answers to the difficult questions in the show, so he has Jamal arrested and interrogated after being convinced that he’s cheating. The rest of the movie employs flashbacks to narrate the turbulent story of Jamal, his brother Salim, and Latika (a girl from their slum). Although Jamal’s life wasn’t easy, his life experiences gave him the knowledge to answer the tough questions on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

In the movie, Jamal and Salim choose two very different paths in their life. These paths lead to two opposing outcomes. Jamal ends up winning the Indian version of the show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, while Salim dies at the hands of his gangster boss’ employees.

Nevertheless, to say that Salim is a bad person who made all the wrong choices, whereas Jamal is the typical good-doer hero of the movie is an oversimplification of their characters. To understand how they ended up in these different situations, we must first understand the experiences that shaped their lives.

Salim and Jamal are both orphans who lost their mother on an anti-Muslim attack on the slum where they lived. They didn’t have the opportunity to attend school for very long. In fact, Jamal only learned the names of two of the Three Musketeers while in school. He referred to Latika as “the third musketeer” (Aramis), he referred to himself as Athos, and his brother as Porthos.

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