by Omar Mazariego
Ask me about Slumdog Millionaire and I’ll compare it to City of God, but with a love story at the center. Slumdog is a Titanic-sized love story that takes place in the ghettos of Mumbai, India, where the hard streets are beautifully captured by the camera and you are surrounded completely in their essence. This is a place that so extensively educated one kid to the dark side of men that he ended up on India’s “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” Funny enough, the only game shows Brooklyn has prepared me for are “Let’s Make a Deal,” “Deal or No Deal” and “Double Dare.”
The movie begins with po-po torturing a kid in order to get him to confess his cheating methods on the show (torture that I’m sure Abner Louima and Michael Mineo would have gladly preferred as opposed to what they allegedly got from the NYPD). The cops refuse to believe that the kid was smart enough to know all the answers to the questions and put the hurts on him until he finally begins telling them how he knew the answers. That’s where the movie starts to take shape and draws you into the world of the young man, named Jamal K. Malik (played by Dev Patel). In 99-percent of the world a man like Jamal would be considered a nerd. Lanky and doofy in his movements, the kid could only be considered cool by Rick Moranis and AC “No Nookie For Me” Green. Yet in spite of all this, Jamal’s lived a life so hard and unjust that he probably should’ve just been born to Joe Jackson or Octomom.
At one point in his childhood, dude jumped in a pool of sh*t just to get a movie star’s autograph. I wouldn’t jump in a pool of crap if it meant creating the beast with three backs with Beyonce and Joe Budden’s wifey, Tahiri. (Well, OK, I can’t guarantee that I wouldn’t do that for a night of passion with either one of them.) I’m liable to do regretful things to get some. One time I got on some T.I. sh*t and straight balled outta control on this shorty. I took her to the 99 Cent store and told her, “You can have whatever you liiiiike.” I’d give anything to get that $10 back. Anyway, that was just one memory of his that answered one of the many “Millionaire” questions.
Other questions, like “In depictions of God Rama, he is famously holding what in his right hand?” and “The song “Darshan Do Ghanshyam” was written by which famous Indian poet?,” all led to story sequences that moved you through emotional and suspenseful scenes which captured your undivided attention. Not only because of what he went through to constantly track down the woman he loved since childhood, Latika, but also because of the person he had to put up with for most of his life, his older brother, Salim. Every time Salim saved Jamal’s life, he’d sabotage his happiness in another way.
Every question was correctly answered because the pain of life was much more educational and impressionable than anything he could’ve ever read in a book or learned in a class. And the source of his pain all led to one natural cause: a woman (Big surprise there). Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em. No matter if she was free or property of your deadly neighborhood mob boss, Jamal would risk it all to get his girl. And man did he risk it all.
Anyway, I don’t want to give anything away. I’m just here to say that Slumdog Millionaire is worthy of 5 Gangstas.
A fairytale that took place in an environment of despair is the best way to describe this movie. And yes, it deserved every Oscar nod it got and award it won. The story (or stories) were creative, well shot and entertaining. Loved that M.I.A’s “Paper Planes” song was thrown in there, too. And enough can’t be said about the cinematography and acting. Even the little kids were light years ahead of Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker from Episode II and III). By the end of the movie all you could do is appreciate that special someone in your life or long to find them.
With that said, please believe me when I say this: I believe in true love. I believe that there’s someone for everyone in this world. True love can be had if there’s a true connection between two people. They say when you truly love someone you’ll go through hell with/for them and if you come out right then it’s meant to be. This movie embodied that very notion and is inspirational to those looking for what Jamal and Latika had.
I myself hope to find a love like Jamal found one day. If the woman I love is being held as a sex toy by a mob boss that runs the slums, then best believe I’m taking the “L” on that one, like, “Damn, ma, you f*cked up in the game. Oh well, we’ll always have the 99 Cent Store.”
Now I ain’t no punk, but I ain’t willing to die for a goldfish in the pond when there’s lobster in the sea to be had. But that’s just me. Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. I’ll cross that bridge when I get there in life. But for now all I’m saying is that Slumdog Millionaire is an incredible movie with a heart wrenching love story. I loved it.