Slumdog Millionaire

One often questions what the director was thinking during the creation of a film. What is the purpose of the film and why does it portrays certain characters in certain shades of light? One character I would like to specifically dissect is Salim, Jamal’s brother and one of the main supporting actors of the film. The first question I would like to ask about Salim is what does he represent? From my perspective I would describe Salem as the lost and contrasting figure to Jamal. Jamal is the protagonist who is the depiction of what an Indian “should be” and how they “should act”. Jamal plays the important Indian figure that represents the wrong reaction to the issues the movie represents. The main theme of the the movie could be described as the socio-economic situation of India and the inhumane poverty that occurs with the rule of civilized Indian Tyrants. Jamal is the character that breaks this glass ceiling of poverty through courage and through a heart of gold for his fellow Indian. Unlike other Indian movies that depict the antagonist as an outside source such as the British, Slumdog millionaries antagonist are rich and powerful Indian men. For that reason the movie points the focus inwards on Indian society and its structure, not upon an outside source and therefore needs Jamal to show how Indians are often forced down the wrong path.

Juxtaposing the two figures of Jamal and Salim gives us the needed material to see how the two opposing sides of society interact. This contrast in characters first shows up in the scene where Salim collects the autograph of his favorite writer. This scene represents the two ways an Indian can react to his desires either by taking the easy road that so many others take(Salem locking in Jamal), or the hard road that will turn out more profitable in the end. It was the hard choice of jumping into the pile of poop and sacrificing his smell and body that inevitably allows him to collect his autograph. Another scene that contrasts these two brothers is the night that they make Latika the third musketeer. Jamal takes the high rode and thinks of another instead of himself, yet it is Salim that wants to let her freeze in the rain. Another recurrent theme of the movie I liked was the depiction of Jamal and the disbelieve that others had of his success at the gameshow. I thought it cut threw the stigma and stereotype of the unintelligent poor indian and tried to tear apart this common notion. Ending back on Salim, the movie does show that it is possible to reconcile past mistakes with good deeds, it might just be costly to pay for those mistakes. Salim commits the selfless act of letting Latika go even under punishment of death. In that ending, Salim is reconciled with his evil deeds and the audience would see him once again as a poor Indian boy who tried his best to stay alive.

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