Slumdog Millionaire

The multi award winning film written by Vikas Swarup and directed by Danny Boyle explores the themes of poverty and the effects it has on a child’s life and the way they grow up. The film follows the lives of Jamal, Latika and Salim from a young age growing up and experiencing the worst of the poverty struck slums. The slums are a tough place to grow up and a large number both children and adults, just like Salim, are forced into illegal crime groups to earn money to feed themselves.
The lack of food and shelter shows that they would do anything, like trusting a man they did not know so they could have somewhere to stay and ‘get out’ of the chain of poverty. However, the experiences Jamal, Salim and Latika have throughout the film show that ‘slum dog’s have a certain resilience in the face of extreme poverty. Additionally, none of those characters would have ‘made peace’ with one another if they hadn’t have survived the challenges they faced growing up. The film ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ explores the topic of poverty in a way ta makes it a relatable and entertaining film for all.
There is a strong link between poverty and crime where young people are forced through desperation to earn money illegally. Throughout the film ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, the character Salim is constantly battling between his alter ego – the power-hunting rebel that lands him in an illegal gang. From when he was a young boy he always wanted to come out on top of his brother Jamal, and did that by sticking by Maman and playing a part in the blinding of the orphanage boy and buying a gun and killing Maman.

In the beginning of the film when Jamal and Salim end up at the Taj Mahal they begin to make a living out of illegal ‘tour guiding’. This shows the lengths the children would go to, to earn money and make a living. Salim was desperate and would do anything like taking the love of Jamal’s life and gave her to his boss to save himself from falling back into the slums where he ‘belonged’, with no money and no one. The link between poverty and crime is not just a fictional story in the film, but exists in everyday life, throughout the world. Impoverishment leads to malnourishment.
Children are especially vulnerable to the crushing lack of food and shelter. Jamal, Salim and Latika are depicted as vulnerable when they are found by Maman living under a rag looking malnourished and desperate. Maman offers the children a cold beverage and tells them to accompany with him to the orphanage. The desperation of the kids made them follow this stranger to an orphanage and along the way, they discovered this person was extremely dangerous. The children where willing to do anything and trust anyone including Maman so that they could have somewhere to sleep each night.
The children were forced onto the street each day some whose eyes had been burnt to collect sympathy money from people passing on the streets. Each of these events shows the audacious characters of Jamal, Salim and Latika. Children bought up in the slums are taught by circumstances to fend for themselves and develop strong survival skills. From when Jamal and Salim’s home was invaded by the Hindu’s and their mother dying, they immediately had to fend for themselves and one another. Jamal and Salim ended up ‘working’ at the Taj Mahal.
This is the first time the characters make their own money. Their desperation lead them to a career of illegal tour guiding. Each question in the game show, Jamal has a correct answer, with each question relating to an experience in his own short life. Throughout the film, the insight to the poverty struck characters indicates that yes there are negative effects on a child living in poverty however; living in the tough conditions sets the child up for tough challenges later in life.
Through examination of the film and an in-depth study of its characters, my hypothesis ‘poverty impacts on a child’s life in negative way’s’ is incorrect. There are challenges with living in poverty, however the character Jamal has shown how one can overcome challenges. Jamal turned his life around by wining the show ‘who wants to be a millionaire’ and shows that anyone from any background is capable of anything when they have the right determination.

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