Globalized Slumdog

I can definitely see why this movie won awards– it was incredibly gripping. In fact so much so that it was difficult to pay attention to all of the details while being so invested in Jamal, Salim, and Latika. However, the biggest thing that jumped out at me was the urbanization and globalization that we see happen in the movie. The timeline lines up almost perfectly with the 1991-today globalization timeline that was given in class (based on what I would assume were Hindu-Muslim riots taking place in Mumbai), starting to follow Jamal and Salim at around 1992-1993.

In the beginning of the movie (chronologically, at least, as we jump back and forth between present and past) the two brothers are living in the slums in Mumbai. Clearly the poorest of the poor, after they lost their mother they were living on a literal pile of trash. Televisions or any other modern “convenience” were nowhere to be found that I could see during Jamal’s childhood. But as we follow Salim and Jamal into their teenage years (what I would assume to be the early 2000s) we see the influx of tourists, a marker of globalization. We can assume this is a new phenomenon as Jamal and Salim seem to come to the conclusion that they can scam tourists in a novel sort of way (although this could also be because they have never been to the Taj Mahal or any other tourist trap). Nevertheless, we can assume some form of globalization is taking place as tourists of the stupid, gullible variety that we see in the movie don’t frequent areas that are inconvenient. Finally, as we follow Jamal into his adulthood and during his time on the gameshow, clearly the world has changed. Television displays are now much more common, as we even see the poor working class cheering Jamal on while watching a television. Modern conveniences are more prevalent and the presence of game shows like Who Wants to be a Millionaire show just how much the culture of India (Mumbai) has been globalized. There is even a scene where Jamal and Salim are talking, looking out over the city and Salim comments on how they used to live there and how industrial it has become.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is this movie takes place during a period of rapid cultural change in not only Mumbai but all of India, and it is fascinating to see it portrayed on film in such a matter of fact way, simply as a part of Jamal’s life. It was very well done.


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