Slumdog Millionaire, a film released in 2008 by director Danny Boyle explores the lives of two young brothers, Salim and Jamal from the slums of Mumbai, India. Throughout the duration of the movie, the lifestyle and health of the boys vary drastically due to individual aspects and environments influencing these changes.
At the beginning of the movie, we are introduced to Salim and Jamal as young boys living with their mother in the Indian Slum of Bombay, characterised by a high population of low income settlers and poor living conditions. The physical environment of Jamal and Salim is poor. Living in poverty and squalor, Jamal and Salim face issues such as inadequate access to clean fresh water, poor infrastructure and quality of housing, overcrowding, a poor education with large numbers and few resources and poor sanitation facilities. The economic environment in Bombay is extremely poor. Residents do not have access to healthcare and hospitals, nor do many have work, which means they cannot afford healthy, sustainable food and medication to improve physical health. Bombay’s political environment is sketchy; the criminal justice system is all but withdrawn and with the social division of Hindi and Muslim religions, riots and attacks towards the other has made the city unsafe. Socially, Jamal and Salim have a close family relationship with each other and their mother who cares solely for the boys herself. The brothers, despite unlikely circumstances, do not seem to struggle with physical or mental health conditions and emotionally are happy, energetic children.
Following a violent religious clash against Muslims, Jamal and Salim witness the killing of their mother and many other residents and are forced to flee for their lives. This terrifying experience undoubtedly affected the young boys’ mental and emotional health, as seen by Jamal’s anxious flashbacks during the screening of ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire’ when he revisits the traumatising memories. Once fleeing to the outskirts of Bombay, the brother’s physical environment deteriorates further and they are forced to live and hide in large pipes with inadequate food. It is at this stage, Jamal meets Latika, a young Indian girl whose family also disappear in the riots. Jamal makes friends with Latika and she contributes to the improvement of his emotional and social wellbeing, growing to love her as he matures. After the killing of their mother, the brothers now no longer attend school, which sacrifices their education and future prospects of obtaining a decent career and stable income. This is a regular occurrence for children raised in Slums.
The physical health of Jamal, Salim and Latika is endangered as they are forced to rely on seconds foods and abandoned materials to shelter them from the Indian weather conditions. Dehydrated, starving, weak and dirty, the luck of the young children seems to change when they are found by orphanage operator Maman, who invites them to stay with him. The following weeks indicate improving health of the children. Jamal and Salim are given a place to sleep, food to eat, a place to shower and are surrounded by many other orphans who though at times bully each other with harsh pranks, seem to get along quite well. To ‘earn their keep’ Jamal and Salim are taught to sing and spend their days begging on the streets to provide an income for Maman. Unknown to Jamal and Salim, Maman is essentially a child kidnapper who once satisfied with the singing ability of his children, brutally blinds them before thrusting them back onto the streets, believing they would “make double.” Salim’s progressively aggressive behaviour towards the people in his social environment attracts the attention of Maman who orders Salim to direct the orphans under his instruction. This is when Salim learns of the fate of the orphans and Jamal and Salim, with Latika, flee to a departing train. Salim however lets...