Monday, January 19, 2009

Jamal Malik (Dev Patel) takes on game show host Prem Kumar (Anil Kapoor) in SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE.

SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE... I saw the film this weekend, and all I can say is, wow. It definitely deserves to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar this Thursday (that’s when the Academy announces its nominations). Dev Patel did a great job as impoverished game show contestant Jamal Malik, Freida Pinto was sweet and lovely as Latika, and Anil Kapoor did an amusing take on Regis Philbin by playing game show host Prem Kumar. I’ll never look at Who Wants to be A Millionaire? (the American version, that is) the same way again. As for Salim, Jamal’s brother, I’d say the kid who played the young version of Salim, Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, did a more memorable take on the character than the actor who played grown-up Salim (Madhur Mittal). No offense to Mittal, who still did a terrific job.

Young Jamal (Ayush Mahesh Khedekar) and his brother Salim (Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail) hitch a ride in SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE.

The movie’s premise is intriguing (though the biggest haters of this film would say that it’s really contrived...despite the fact the movie already states at the beginning and end that Jamal’s luck on Millionaire was ‘written’): A contestant being able to answer all the questions presented on a TV game show because he was unwittingly given all (but one) of the answers earlier in his life is funny. The romantic subplot in Slumdog Millionaire is obviously what gives the film its heart...especially at the end. Not to give away anything, but a 'lifeline' not only spells the difference between becoming ultra-rich or leaving empty-handed, money-wise of course, but it also spells the difference between being lonely for the rest of one’s life or finally uniting with your one true love. ‘Kay, now I'm just sounding reeaaally lame. I’ll end it here.

Jamal finally reunites with Latika (Freida Pinto) in SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE.

Needless to say, I’m now rooting for Slumdog Millionaire to come away with most of the gold on February 22. Of course, I still want The Dark Knight to get that fifth slot in the Best Picture category. *Crosses fingers.*

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