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“Slumdog Millionaire” Analysis Essay

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Updated: Dec 25th, 2018

Numerous movies have developed moral themes that are very much contrasted to real life. Even though some stories are fictional, they have a direct connection to people, as the events portrayed have taken place at some time and in some form.

The movie “Slumdog Millionaire” by Danny Boyle tells a life story of an Indian young man who has won on the show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” (Slumdog Millionaire). The theme of the movie is that even when people live in poverty and unacceptable conditions there is still place for courage, dreams and heroism, and it does not matter where one comes from.

To the people who live in the West, the movie might seem as foreign and inapplicable to life in the United States or Europe. The traditions and beliefs of Indian culture are very much different from other parts of the world but the moral fabric of people is the same globally. In the movie, the events that are taking place presently are linked back to a man’s past.

A character by the name Jamal Malik is being a guest on the famous program “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” and in order to answer the questions correctly, he recalls events from his life and this enables him to remember the information very vividly. The only possibly fictional part of the movie is the coincidence in how the questions specifically relate to his life, even though one might argue that coincidences are all that happens in the world.

The central theme of the movie is not the game show but the life of a child who grows up in a place filled with crime and danger. The “slums” that are described in the movie are one of the worst places in any society and go back in history up to 5,000 years.

The separation between classes existed for a long time where one part lives in luxury and the other lives below poverty line. Some of the causes were the many languages spoken, geography, invasions, religious differences, practices and ethnicities. This created a separation between people, making some significantly less fortunate (Mohanty 59).

This is a direct connection to life in the United States where people live in poor conditions, limited by poverty and criminal activity. There are very many reasons why people end up living in poor areas and ghettos, and it is unfortunate that a lot of individuals who have good heart and are talented, have no choice but to have the absence of opportunities and beneficial circumstances.

The physical area of where people live, greatly determines the activities that take place and so, there is an enormous connection between poverty, crime and future outcomes.

The “slum” in India is shown to be a hostile territory where people struggle for their survival and have to deal with dominating crime lords and corruption. Historically, the “slums” were referred to as “informal area” where people lived and found employment. Even in the modern times, there are no formal infrastructures; people reside in dwellings that are beyond proper humane conditions.

An alignment with United States is drawn in the definition of the “Housing Act of 1949…that slum may include any predominantly residential area, which by reason of dilapidation,…lack of ventilation, light or sanitary facilities or any combination of these factors, are detrimental to safety, health and morals” (Mohanty 35).

As seen in the movie “Slumdog Millionaire” Jamal Malik has received no education. Right away, this fact negatively predisposes the game host and this can be seen as true in any society. A modern age requires for a person to have proper education and when someone does not, rarely are the reasons for the absence of education considered.

Even though Jamal is not formally educated, he shows signs of intelligence, honesty and kindheartedness. Through his deep internal belief, he knows that it is right to help someone who is in need and does not hesitate to offer assistance to Latika. In the slum, the hardships of life start very early but there is still enough time and place for friendship and good will (Gehlawat 195).

Even though the children are innocent and not evil, they have no choice but to pick pockets and steal in order to survive. This side of crime is the least harmful, as they do it out of necessity and in small quantities. This sort of behavior has been predominant in the “slums” for thousands of years, perpetuating the cycle and being a dead end. In a place like this, gangsters and crime lords use their power and the weakened abilities of the majority of population to take advantage and feed off their helplessness (Slumdog Millionaire).

The major theme is that morality, honesty and responsibility are universal over all cultures. A kind person will be able to find friends and like minded people in any society. Criminal activities and immoral behavior are shown to be evil throughout the world. The movie represents the fight between people who live in worst conditions but stay honest and just, while those who live in luxury become greedy and selfish.

Works Cited

Gehlawat, Ajay. The Slumdog Phenomenon. New York, United States. Anthem Press, 2013. Print.

Mohanty, Swati. Slum in India. New Delhi, India. APH Publishing, 2005. Print.

Slumdog Millionaire. Ex. Prod. Christian Colson. Pathe, United Kingdom: Celador Films. 2008. Film.

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