I don’t watch many movies, but Slumdog Millionaire was well worth the time. I borrowed the book from Queens Library the next day I watched the DVD in my tiny living room with my roommate. It was written by Vikas Swarup and was originally published under the name Q & A. Usually when books are remade into movies, there is found to be a whole lot of difference. It is true for this one.
The differences between the book and movie start with the main theme itself. The movie was no doubt very well made. If it is the intense action and romance that pulls you in deep, it is the bruised characters that hold you to the film from the beginning to the end.
Only the broadest outline of movie’s story resembles the book. Jamel is not Jamel, he is Ram and he has no brother. His love, Latika appears in the book but is not his love. She appears for the first time in the 11th of 12 chapters. The program is not Who Wants to be a Millionaire, but is rather Who Will win a Billion? The top prize is not 20 million rupees, it is rather 1 billion rupees.
From my point of view, the movie is darker in some ways than the book. The movie diverges completely in most of the places and takes the route of fiction, away from the facts as given in the book. It makes me certain that the director did this to increase the drama quotient of the movie. All the actors performed amazingly, including the kids.
However, there is much to be gained from reading the book. It provides another, almost completely different perspective on urban living in India. Both the movie and the book are highly recommended. (Somehow I love the movie more.)
P.S. I really like that one song from the movie that they play on the radio. This movie really put my quality of life into perspective for me.