Last night we went to see 'Slumdog Millionaire'. I was unsure about the film, being so talked about as an Oscar contender I was worried that it had been hyped up - and simply the idea of a film based around Kaun Banega Crorepati (कौन बनेगा करोड़पति) or 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire', seemed to be rather, well, thin. I was wrong. The film was really very good. It showed the back-story of Jamal Malik interleaved with scenes from the show and with an interrogation by the police where he is being accused of cheating (this is all established very early on, so I'm not really spoiling anything). With a few notable exceptions, it was filmed in Mumbai, and does show both the wonder and poverty that exists in India. It's both gritty and heartwarming (in a good way not a cheesy way.... and normally 'heartwarming' films bring me out in a rash).
Well worth seeing at the cinema - but don't get up immediately that the film ends, there is a lovely Bollywood pastiche at the end which, like the film, shouldn't work - but it really does.
This is a near perfect piece of film-making.
Interestingly, the first question in the film has the answer Amitabh Bachchan, अमिताभ बच्चन, who once presented Kaun Banega Crorepati (कौन बनेगा करोड़पति). The presenter in the film is not supposed to be any particular presenter.
Right now, Dev Patel is superbly placed to be the first true Hollywood/Bollywood 'crossover' actor. If he can choose wisely to straddle that divide well, that is.