The title Slumdog Millionaire is indeed significant as it showcases the great Indian polarity. While there are million slumdogs below the poverty line on one side, there are also numerous Millionaires caught in the corporate rat race.The metaphor of the gameshow,is the game of life where each question is the rung of the ladder to success/failure.
At the surface, Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire is a fairytale story from rags to riches. It also stands for the dreams and aspirations of millions of Indians out there to make it big, without any financial element to boost, or sound education to boast of. This movie teaches us that experience is the best teacher; and each incident in the street child, Jamal’s life functions as a pointer to help him win the ultimate game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire. The flashback technique illustrates this perfectly. Jamal(Dev Patel) is determined right from his childhood, as we see him bent on obtaining an autograph from the legend Amitabh Bachchan .This episode foregrounds his perseverance to succeed in any endeavour. Salim, his brother, sells these off in the first instance of selling off Jamal’s dreams .Jamal loses his mother in the Mumbai riots. The loss of a woman in his life paves way for another-Latika(Freida Pinto). She is his childhood sweetheart who he single-mindedly pursues till the end.
Though Salim is reluctant to befriend Latika, Jamal suggests that she function as the third musketeer in their trio, though they do not know the name of the character from the Alexandre Dumas novel. This aspect marks the bridging of Eastern raw energy and Western sophistication. The three are found by Maman (Ankur Vikal), a gangster who cheats them into to begging for a living. However,as the trio realize that they had fallen prey to a gang blinding children to realize their ends, they manage to free themselves from the shackles of ‘manipulative poverty”. This incident functions as a parody of how politicians and corporate houses even utilize poverty in order to stage-manage and reach their ends. As they flee on to a departing train, Latika tries to catch up and reaches for Salim’s hand. Nevertheless Salim purposely lets go. She is recaptured by the goons.
The next years sees Salim and Jamal going through a series of ups and downs. They earn their bread selling goods, picking pockets, washing dishes, and posing as tour guides at the Taj Mahal. Jamal’s love for Latika drives them to Mumbai yet again where they find Latika trained by Maman to become a prostitute in order to trade her virginity for a delicious price. This is just a smaller instance where women are posed as commodities not only in smaller markets; but in corporate houses as well where women as models are utilized as eye-candies and forced to reveal in order to sell. Particularly, in a country like India, where the feminity of a woman is synonymous with her modesty. Latika is rescued by the duo. Salim then manages to get a job with Javed (Mahesh Manjrekar), the crime lord of the place. Salim commands Jamal on gunpoint to leave him and Latika alone. From this point the three are separated for several years.
We find Jamal, years later working as a tea server at an Indian call centre. Jamal goes through the database to locate Salim and Latika.He succeeds in finding Salim, who now functions at a higher post in Javed’s crime organization.It reveals how success and money are a matter of time and space, and relative to circumstances. As they are reconciled,. Salim regrets and requests for pardon. Jamal finds his way into Javed’s residence and reunites with Latika. As Jamal expresses his love, Latika entreats with him to forget her. In his attempt to reunite with Latika,he showcases himself on the show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire hoping that he will be located by her . Despite the antagonistic attitude of the show-host, Prem Kumar (Anil Kapoor), he makes it to the final question. The host frustrated at his own attempts to misguide him makes a complaint to the police of Jamal’s cheating on the game-show. Jamal’s justification to the police is deemed “bizarrely plausible” .He makes an incredible return to the show. Salim, dies in act of retribution exclaiming that “God is great” and recues Latika in the process. The love-birds are united at the railway station with the train at the background. The train, a symbol of the Journey of the Life is indeed momentous. The film ends with a dance performance on the railway platform “Jai Ho.””Jai Ho” is the celebration of life and marks man’s victory of attaining the unattainable. To quote Ernest Hemingway: “Man can be destroyed, but not defeated.”