As the credits rolled at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin on Friday night, the audience clapped and cheered for this movie. You stand up reluctantly because you know that movies like these don't come by often enough and you don't want it to end. Danny Boyle takes unknown faces, adds a stellar crew and a terrific soundtrack from Rahman to create a movie that epitomizes the spirit of humanity.
Set in Mumbai, this is a Dickensian story of a slumboy whose life is in equal parts love, passion, luck and destiny. You care for this slumboy and root for him till the very end, leaning forward and holding your breath as he walks his tightrope life without a safety net. It could be that despite incredible odds and a life characterized by brutality, Jamal is pure. Despite the harshness of his environment which enslaves his brother.
This stark love story is anchored in Jamal's fierce intent to find his childhood friend,Latika against all odds. Love, passion and courage create luck and can rewrite destiny as it is said that even the gods can't fight that kind of force. How often do we see that kind of faith and trust. Jamal journeys from the slums of Mumbai to Agra and back, landing finally on the set of "Who wants to be a Millionaire".
Was it just Destiny that brings him on the gameshow with a slim chance of winning millions...not sure. Destiny can be fickle. Which is why no astrologer or palmist can accurately predict the future. They may be able to see the signposts. There are a few pre determined conditions that are present in life (your birth, parents, place etc) and multiple cross roads that take us in different directions. And who can forget cause and effect.
Two brothers, same environment, different choices and therein lies the heart of this tale. We are not just the sum of our experiences but how we interpret our experiences.