From rags to riches: The boy from the slum becomes a millionaire after going through life’s challenges and obstacles. A typical story line in the movie industry but portrayed in different concepts, story lines and meanings. The 2008 movie, Slumdog Millionaire, written by Simon Beaufoy and directed by Danny Boyle, portrays the three musketeers, Jamal, Salim and Lakita from their young age to their adult lives. The movie Slumdog Millionaire shows us capitalism, ideology, history and culture through different scenarios with its actors and actresses.
The three musketeers always and forever. Jamal who is the youngest brother and the oldest brother Salim, live in the slums of India and are on their own after their mother’s death at a very young age. Lakita is also a street child whom Jamal invites to stay with them when he sees her standing in the pouring rain. The story then takes off from that scene and the three of them are off to search for a better life together. However, as they go on, the reality of the slums takes over their camaraderie and it turns into every man for them selves.
Maman, who is a gangster, picks up Jamal, his brother Salim and Lakita and takes them to an orphanage where he uses them to beg for money. He goes as far as blinding the children so they can be worth more in the begging process. The kids are fed and see that the hurt children are being loved and attended too so they think they are in a better place and that Maman is a “saint.” Once they realize what is going on and Jamal is going to be the next child blinded, all three of them flee and only the brothers make it on to the moving train while Latika is once again captured by the gangsters and is turned into a prostitute whose virginity is valued very highly monetarily. These gangsters have this ideology where they will live the good life and be well off financially if they use these children and corrupt them. The brothers go on together and start charging for tours at the Taj Mahal pretending to be tour guides, working as dishwashers, and stealing purses to get money out of them. They are well off and work together but Jamal’s mind is always on Latika and wondering where she is and if she is alive. They go back to the slums and find out that Lakita is working for Maman as a prostitute and go and help her escape.
The film really takes on a western and eastern point of view. As Jamal and Salim are pretending to be tour guides to an American couple traveling to India, the kids steal the tires from the tourist’s car and their belongings. As they head back and see what condition their car is in, a guard throws down Jamal and starts to kick him in the head. The American couple runs to the aid of Jamal and he says “You want to see a bit of the real India? Here it is!” To which the American lady caresses Jamal and says “Well here’s a bit of the real America son,” and hands Jamal a hundred dollar bill. This film to me brought attention to the slums and how the “real India” is. Watching it, I was appalled at what went on in the slums, the orphanages, and the interrogation of a street child who was winning this game show because all of the answers were there through his experiences as a slum dog.
The culture and the society that these kids live in shaped their lives and their future. Theses slums were norm to their lives, and they knew no different. They wished for a different life, but knew that was just another fantasy and no reality. Globalization, ideology, and capitalism all also have a role in how the slums of India are portrayed in this film. “These two interrelated processes are linked to a host of cultural and political transformations that redefine the relations between the West and it’s others. The image of a unified globe dispenses with the notion of an outside…nations have become increasingly open to the flow of capital, even as they remain closed to the movement of the poor” (Coronil, 368). Just as in the film, politics and culture played a key fact in these kids’ lives from the slums. The poor stay poor while the rich get richer…unless they are lucky enough to win on a game show.
Eventually, they all escape and go on their separate ways but destiny brings them back in the end. Their separation is a result of reality and as they get older, circumstances and destiny leads them to different parts. Salim, who was always the “leader” of the three and who was always the one figuring out ways to make money, went back to work for one of the biggest gangsters in the slums. Salim was always putting money before anything and anyone and even went as far as selling his brothers prized autograph of an Indian actor. He put himself first before anyone, although he did take good care of his brother throughout the film. Jamal goes on to be a contestant on India’s version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” and ultimately becomes a millionaire and through that show connects with Lakita on the last question about “The Three Musketeers.” Lakita ended up with the gangster that Salim was working for and had lost hope of ever seeing Jamal.
Coronil, Fernando. "Towards a Critique of Globalcentrism: Speculation on Capitalism's Nature." Public Culture 12.2 (2000): 358. JSTOR. Web. 3 May 2010.