Slumdog Millionaire Critical Essay

Last Updated: 13 Jan 2021
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Athos, Porthous and Latika ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ directed by Danny Boyle is about a young boy growing up in the slums of Mumbai, India. The idea of hope is developed throughout the film by using visual and verbal features as Jamal Malik faces a life in the slums and working child labour, until he finds love with Latika but the power of corrupt India splits them apart and now only destiny will bring them back together. Jamal to get Latika back goes on the Television show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” hoping she will be watching.

Colour was used very well in the costumes of Latika and she was often seen wearing a very bright yellow. This is happened at very significant events and was very symbolic. At the start of the movie amongst the riot Latika (Rubina Ali) is about 6 years old and is seen in yellow this symbolises her innocence as she doesn’t know what is happening around her and has no hope of surviving until Jamal and his older brother save her and run away. Yellow symbolises hope and innocence and makes her stick out amongst the crowd drawing attention to her, she is seen in yellow when she has hope to be set free and be with Jamal.

When Latika was forced to work with Javed she wore dull cream colours that were scruffy giving the idea she was trapped and as if she had no hope to be with Jamal. When Jamal’s brother Salim helps her escape and gives her a car to go look for Jamal so they can be together she puts on her yellow scarf symbolising hope. Setting throughout the film developed an important idea about the purpose of the film to show the audience “the real Mumbai”.

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The geographical setting of the film largely took place in the slums of Mumbai, India. This showed the audience “the real Mumbai, India”. The real Mumbai India was shown by Jamal, Salim and their mother sifting through rubbish, washing their clothes in dirty water and selling anything worth money including selling spots in line at the toilets. All of this showed the audience the poverty in India in reality with 45% of the Indian population living in poverty and the dramatic change Jamal had to go through to get Latika back.

However it was this poverty in his childhood that gave him the answers to the TV show who wants to be a millionaire and his destiny to get Latika back. Once Jamal is grown up he is on top of a high raised building where the slums used to be this is a contrast to how much Jamal has changed since he was young and in the slums to now how he is a millionaire, the buildings have changed from slums to high raised buildings. Diegetic music was used a lot throughout the film developing the ideas of hope and freedom.

A good example of this was when the two boys were running away from Maman (child slave labourer) and they were traveling by train the lyrics of the song were in contrast “they cant even catch me” helped give a happy mood as the boys were laughing that they had gotten away. Another use of sound was that of the game show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” and its theme music that created tension this helped give the idea of hope in every episode and Latika once said “It’s the perfect opportunity to start again” talking about the game show it was Jamal’s only chance to get Latika.

Throughout the film the idea of hope and freedom was shown by visual and verbal features from the costume worn to create the idea of hope between Latika and Jamal. The setting portrayed “the real India “to the audience and showed what it was like for Jamal and gave him the answers to “Who wants to be a Millionaire” which gave him the hope to be with Latika when he won. Diegetic sound created tension and showed the hope like on the game show.

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Slumdog Millionaire Critical Essay. (2018, May 20). Retrieved from

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