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Slumdog Millionaire Essay

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Updated: Oct 14th, 2019


The ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ is a film adapted from Vikas Swarup’s Q & A. The film and the play revolve around the life of a poor boy who has spent most of his life in the slums. The police arrest the boy after the producer of a television game show accuses him of cheating in a game or rather quiz.

The bulk of the story entails the life experiences of the boy, which justify his ability to answer all the questions in the quiz. This paper details the cinematic and theatrical elements of the film as well as the changes in drama and premise of the story. The film exhibits changes in the premise as well as dramatic structure in bringing out the cinematic and theatric elements of the story.

Changes to the premise and the dramatic structure

There has been a substantial change in the premise of the story. Swarup, the author of Q & A, bases his story on the injustices that the less privileged in the society face as they climb the social ladder but Danny Boyle, the director of the film, gives the story a romantic twist emphasizing that undying love for someone motivates his/her ambition in succeeding in his/her goals.

The protagonist of the story, the poor boy who wins the television game show, is able to withstand the pressure from the poor society in achieving his dream.

He is Jamal Malik in the film while in the play he is Ram Mohammad Thomas. Boyle portrays Salim as his brother rather than his best friend as it is the case with the Swarup’s play. Jamal and his brother are Muslims living in a community where Islam is underappreciated.

He falls in love with a Hindu girl, Latika, who they met in their childhood. He later lost contact with the girl but since he knew that she used to watch the television quiz, ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire?’ He chooses to participate in the show. He believes that his participation would help him regain his contact with the girl.

He is able to reach the final stage of the show drawing the attention of masses. Fortunately, Latika is able to meet Jamal through the show. On the other hand, in Swarup’s Q & A, the protagonist of the story, Ram, falls in love with a prostitute towards the end of the story. There are also changes in the order of events in the story.

Ram also has numerous relationships with women unlike in the film. In Q & A, Swarup answers the questions without a chronological order applying key experiences in Ram’s life. The film’s flashback employs strict chronological order of events in answering the game’s questions. It is a vivid example of how the screenwriter, Simon Beaufoy, adjusted the story to give a fluent flow of the events in the story.

Cinematic and theatric elements used in the film

The ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ comprises of a mixture of an endless array of cinematic and theatric elements. They serve as a method of heightening the incredibly reflective and emotional propulsion of the story. The cinematic elements in the ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ combine rhythmic music and Bollyhood lushness.

It also has a heavy dose of in-your-face close-ups. It also employs different camera angle directions enabling the audience to watch Jamal, the protagonist of the story, from every possible angle of his life. The performance of actors exemplifies the acting choice of the film. Several close-ups of Dev Patel as well as Ayush Mahesh Khedekar take the roles of older and younger Jamal respectively.

Despite being a British production, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ has the appearance of an Indian production. The shape-shifting auteur in the film took a massive gamble in pitching a unique fable story. The film portrays the honest pain and injustices in the Indian society.

As the story unfolds, the film director takes the audience through the gaudy memories of Jamal’s past with each sight and texture, smell and occurrence palpable beyond any words.

The last scene of the film ends with Jamal and Latika, the two lovers, kissing. Most Indian filmmakers conventionally avoid this shot in their movies/cinemas but to the audience, this ending is quite satisfying. ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ blends genres, emotions, and unbridled energy that the film producer achieved through his masterful grasp of light techniques.


The slumdog millionaire is a film with much elegance and grace giving a well-assembled story love story. Though there is change of the premise and dramatic structure of the story, the film still transcends into answering the theme of hope and the restoration for the less privileged in the Indian society.

It employs massive use of vibrancy, swirling, and visual splendor in bringing out a clear picture of all the events in the story. The changes of characters names as well as the order of events play an important role in enhancing fluency of the film as compared to the play. The artistic use of rhythmic music and light in the film helps in creating a vivid picture of the story in the audience’s minds.

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"Slumdog Millionaire." IvyPanda, 14 Oct. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/slumdog-millionaire/.

1. IvyPanda. "Slumdog Millionaire." October 14, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/slumdog-millionaire/.


IvyPanda. "Slumdog Millionaire." October 14, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/slumdog-millionaire/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "Slumdog Millionaire." October 14, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/slumdog-millionaire/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Slumdog Millionaire'. 14 October.

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