Tuesday, December 23, 2008


With some Hindi dialogue and English subtitles

Originally called Bombaim by the Portuguese in the 16th century, it was anglicised by the British to Bombay even though it was known as Mumbai or Bambai by the locals. In 1996 the city’s name was officially changed to Mumbai. With a population of 13 million, it is the second most populous city in the world.

1,000 rupees is worth approximately US$20.

Irfan Khan: the Police Inspector
Dev Patel: as the 18 year-old from the slums of Mumbai, Jamal Malik
Anil Kapoor : Prem Kumar, MC of a popular tv game show
Madhur Mittal: Jamil’s older brother Salim
Frieda Pinto: their friend Latika

Some may find the first few minutes a bit disturbing but then it settles down to a pattern of a question posed to Jamal on a game show then a flashback relating to that query.

These snippets of Jamal’s past generally involve his brother and Latika as well. They are not all the same: some are quite funny, others are sad or touching and a few are disturbing enough I had to look away. In each instance the music is an important element in setting the tone and expertly chosen.

Both the editing and the cinematography are very well done. Together they sometimes make the slums of Mumbai look beautiful. Sometimes.

for some violence, disturbing images and language. As far as I’m concerned that classification is too severe as many of the big Hollywood movies have far more of these elements and they only get a PG rating.

At the very beginning there is an on-screen title indicating the year to be 2006 but the huge cheque is dated 2005.

Although the movie shows the real India, stick around while the end credits roll to view the producer’s concession to the very popular Bollywood-type movies.

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