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It begins with Jamal Malik (Dev Patel, from Channel 4's Skins), an 18-year-old call-centre chai-wallah, or tea-vendor, fluking his way onto the Indian version of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?Here, though uneducated, and patronised by the show's host Prem Kumar (Anil Kapoor), he gets through round after round of questions to stand on the brink of winning the top prize.
Yet the film, which for all its breathless intensity rarely subverts our expectations, and which in its final section sticks closely to the conventions of modern action drama, never fails to grip or to delight.
It's easy to sense the excitement that Boyle – and his cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle – felt when shooting in Mumbai.
" But when the show breaks for the night, police arrest him on suspicion of cheating; how could a street kid know so much?
Each chapter of his story reveals the key to the answer to one of the game show's questions.
Intrigued by Jamal's story, the jaded Police Inspector begins to wonder what a young man with no apparent desire for riches is really doing on this game show?
When the new day dawns and Jamal returns to answer the final question, the Inspector and sixty million viewers are about to find out...
Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire is the film equivalent of Usain Bolt's performance at the Olympics: funny, shocking, spectacularly turbo-charged.
It takes your breath away at the same time as it makes you want to holler with joy or to grab the person next to you: "Yes!
Desperate to prove his innocence, Jamal tells the story of his life in the slum where he and his brother grew up, of their adventures together on the road, of vicious encounters with local gangs, and of Latika, the girl he loved and lost.
Each chapter of his story reveals the key to the answer to one of the game show’s questions.