Slumdog Millionaire Thoughts and Reflection Essay

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Slumdog Millionaire


Slumdog Millionaire, directed by Danny Boyle, addresses a range of complex social issues that are endemic to India as well as the greater global world. The film portrays the life and times of Jamal Malik an adolescent from Mumbai who originates from the slums who becomes a contestant on India’s version of the game show, “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?” His performance on the game show is so excellent and flawless, people think he had to have been cheating or up to some sort of foul play. However, once under cross-examination, the filmmakers use a creative method to share Jamal’s life story. Through a series of adventures and tragedies in his life, he has a gained a richness of understanding that has helped him to evolve, gaining insight and wisdom.

The scenes of the film that portray Jamal’s childhood in abject poverty are the most moving: he lives beside a large dump of trash, he cleans himself in dirty puddles, and he has to beg for money on the street after his mother is murdered by Muslims. His life is just a backdrop of poverty, struggle and tragedy. One of the major questions that the desolation of Jamal’s life brings up is why do people in countries such as India, Bangladesh, Cambodia and others have to live in such desperate conditions? It forces one to confront the major factors that have contributed to such situations and asks the individual to look inward and outward for an answer. Of course, answers like geography, culture, religion, history and globalization have all contributed to the more desperate situations in these third world nations.

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Many developed nations like the United States and those in Western Europe, have made their fortunes at the expense of third world nations such as those in South Asia and Southeast Asia. The film, by showing the misery and humanity of Jamal’s childhood, forces the spectator to examine the bigger picture of the how the global economy works and who suffers from the mighty hand of all the super-powers.


When the film was over, one of the major issues that I was turning over in my head was about fairness, justice and karma. I understand that life isn’t fair but I have always thought that ultimately, there is some sort of overall fairness that touches people’s lives from the greater creator. When I see someone who has grown up in abject poverty, I wonder why I was so lucky to be born in a first world nation, where we have the luxury of taking things like clean running water for granted, and warm soft places to sleep and a decent public education system. This film made me reflect on why some people are born into such misery and why others are born into such splendor.

The film also made me reflect on how much we take for granted as members of a first world nation. It is common for us to have our petty complaints….....

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