Slumdog Millionaire and Globalization

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Slumdog Millionaire

If you’re totally illiterate and living on one dollar a day, the benefits of globalization never come to you. – Jimmy Carter
As described in Tom Zaniello’s book Cinema of Globalization, there is no shortage of films espousing anti-globalization messages. Whether railing against international corporations, big oil, United States foreign policies or Wal-Mart, world cinema filmmakers have no shortage of topics. In a refreshing change of pace, the film Slumdog Millionaire proudly demonstrates that through the benefits of globalization, the poorest of the poor can breakthrough to overcome the social stratification and restrictions of the Indian caste system.

Adapted from the novel Q&A by Indian author Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire, directed by English filmmaker Danny Boyle, opened to huge fanfare during its release in 2008. It would go on to win 8 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. In addition to being the biggest awards winner at the 2009 Academy Awards, the film also received more than 100 additional awards the same year (IMDB). Undoubtedly, much of the films worldwide appeal comes from Boyle’s unique ability of mixing both influential Western filmmaking style and culture while simultaneously and seamlessly infusing traditional Indian culture and filmmaking as well.

The movie tells the story of underprivileged 18 year old Jamal, who grew up orphaned with his brother Salim in the slums of Mumbai, India. At the beginning of the film, we are introduced to Jamal as he is one question away from winning 20,000,000 rupees on the popular Indian version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”. As the episode runs out of time, Jamal will return the following day to answer the final question, however, the movie cuts away to show him being abused and interrogated at a police station as they try to determine how he could know all the answers. The comments by the police inspector show his...
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