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Movie with a Message: Slumdog Millionaire

Updated: Aug 8, 2020

When your bad experiences, become your greatest blessings.

Hey guys! Hope everyone is having a great day so far. Movie with a message is back! And our focus for today is Slumdog Millionaire. Yes, I know its old, yes I know there are hot movies out right now that you guys would love to see, but I want to draw attention back to this great movie that was released ten years ago and left us all feeling emotional and joyful at the same time. A great story, connects with the audience and pulls on their heartstrings, and makes them feel like they are a part of the journey.

Danny Boyle and Loveleen Tandan directed this movie. In my opinion, the entire cast including Dev Patel and Frieda Pinto were all stars in the film. You know I love my Indians (See Lion & Million Dollar Arm), the children in the movie were amazing, the way they portrayed their characters, made me fall in love with this group of people even more, (I hope to visit India one day).

The film went ahead to win many awards, which included seven Academy Awards (Best Picture & Best Writing Adapted Screenplay, inclusive), four golden globe awards, a couple of BAFTA's (British Academy of Film and Television Arts), Critics Choice and People's Choice awards. 2009, was an excellent year for slumdog millionaire. Although it is not based a true story as we love over here at Let's Talk Nation, it is packed with life lessons, that we can implement as we all go on this journey called life, together. Let’s talk!

The movie set in Mumbai in 2006, follows a story of an uneducated boy, who grew up in the slums, but somehow found himself on stage, with one of the world’s most popular show—Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Jamal was on the hot seat and stunned audience when he kept on getting the questions right. Everyone was asking themselves this question; how did he do it? With the possible options of:

· He cheated

· He’s lucky

· He’s a genius

· It is written

As a Christian, you can guess that the final choice got me all excited. The Bible reveals to us that before we were born, our days were already accounted for. King David put it this way;

"And in your book, they all were written, the days fashioned for me when as yet there was none of them."

As he was being asked the questions, he thought carefully through them. It was as if every life experience he had been through, prepared him for this moment. As a little child he loved the incredible Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan, he looked up to him that he had a Polaroid picture of the actor, with him wherever he went. When he was asked on the game show who starred in a particular movie, he traveled back memory lane to when he was in a public toilet. These toilets are not what you may imagine in your head. These where open spaces, with a wooden frames built around them and a hole, carved out on the floor of the wood so that you can do your business. Now Jamal had an older brother (Salim) who was mischievous, but also business savvy. He sat on a chair in front of these ‘bathrooms’ and collected money from anyone who needed to go in.

Jamal was in the bathroom when a potential customer came and wanted to make use of it. Salim shouted for Jamal to come out, but the lad wasn’t done. The customer got upset and left, costing Salim some money, and he was upset. While that scenario was going on, a helicopter flew by, and people started chanting ‘Amitabh helicopter!' the famed actor was about to do some press for the particular movie Jamal was now being questioned about on the show. When Salim heard the chants, knowing fully well that young Jamal idolized this actor; he locked Jamal in the bathroom and ran with the crowd to catch a glimpse of the celebrity.

Jamal banged on the door with all his strength, but couldn't break down the door. He brought out a picture of his beloved actor, looked at it, and looked at the crap that was beneath him, he repeated the exercise and figured he wasn't going to let poop, get in the way of this once in a lifetime opportunity. So he took the plunge into a whole pile of crap and ran off to meet his idol. As he was approaching the scene, the stench filled the area, and people quickly made room for him, even the cops didn't want to stop him because he was covered up in poop from head to toe.

Amitabh was so kind to still sign his autograph on the picture for the little boy. I guess he figured if someone could go through this length to meet him, then he must mean something to them. As he gleefully recalled this experience, he answered with confidence—Amitabh Bachchan. The crowd cheered, and the host moved on to the next question.

As the questions deepened, Jamal had to pull more and more from his painful memories. He and his brother lost their mom, when there was a raid against the Muslims that led them to the streets, then to a home for kids, who were trained to beg for alms.

And to a very dangerous lifestyle of crime, (that was mostly his brother anyway). With each question he was asked, he remembered the story behind the possible answer. The host was overwhelmed by his performance; they couldn’t believe that an uneducated boy from the slums of Mumbai could get all the questions right on this quiz related show.

In the end, he walked away with 20,000,000 million rupees. No one could believe it. His whole slum watched with anticipation and rejoiced with him when he won. They felt if someone out of here can make it, maybe I too, can make it. It was also their victory. The scene reminded me of that in the Disney movie; Queen of Katwe, when Phiona won her final championship in the game of chess, and everyone rejoiced with her. She had a great homecoming, to the slums of katwe, where she grew up.

Jamal (Dev Patel) during his unusual victory

Lessons Learned

All the life experiences Jamal had gone through; prepared him for the moment he had on Who Wants to be a Millionaire. In the time when he was going through them, it must have seemed to him, that God had forsaken him. But Jamal wasn't alone on this journey. It sounded all too familiar with the stories I have read in the Bible, like that of Joseph and King David, just as it was written, for David to become king of Israel, and defeat Goliath in the process of becoming, it was also written that Jamal's experiences were going to be the well of wisdom he needed to get his treasure; 20,000,000 million rupees.

The movie ended with them highlighting the last option—It is written; for the possible reason as to how Jamal was so blessed to get all his questions right.

We must not go through life complaining while having a woe is me mentality. Everything we have been through makes us who we are today. And if you are going through it, know that the experiences are the tools you need for your tomorrow. Nothing is ever wasted. Yes even the tears, everything is accounted for. Your days are already written, you need the patience and tenacity to go through life until you arrive at the place that was predestined for you.

Another point I will like to highlight in this movie is the awareness it brought to displaced kids. Children who are left on the streets to fend for themselves are often abused, raped, molested, and they also turn to violent crimes, and prostitution, to make ends meet. As a society, if we keep ignoring them, thinking that they don’t affect us personally, because we don’t know them, that will be the greatest disservice we can ever do to ourselves.

Because the crime scenes would be infiltrated by these young kids, once they grow up. We must come together and fight for the future we want to see. Check out my spotlight series to learn about great organizations that are doing the work to help displaced kids and kids in slums, and how you can be a part of them.

Thank you to Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy for bringing this beautiful story to life. Even if it has been ten years, it still strikes a chord with me as it did when I first watched it in 2009. My hope is for more beautiful stories to be made, that makes you not only grateful for your own life but drives you to action. This movie is still available to watch on iTunes and Amazon.

Be sure to check it out, and find out why it is a movie with a message.

Is there any other latest or classic film you would love to see, but need a reason to watch it? Let me know in the comment box below.

Thank you for reading. Also remember to comment, like, share and subscribe to never miss an update.

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