We hate to break it to you, but Danny Boyle’s deservedly hyped new film Slumdog Millionaire is not about getting rich.
As Millionaire‘s writer Simon Beaufoy (of The Full Monty fame; he wrote the screenplay) explained at last Saturday’s New York screening of the film, he couldn’t write that type of story. “I didn’t want to make a movie about people getting rich,” he says. “I don’t want to see a guy drive off in a Bentley at the end; it’s not the way to a great film.”
Given the current financial climate, it’s a good thing Beaufoy didn’t go the rags-to-conspicuous-consumption route; we doubt anyone would want to watch that.
What Millionaire does show is a more complicated, realistic portrayal of Mumbai than just the city transforming India into an economic powerhouse. As Western financial journalists, we’ve always seen Mumbai as the site of hedge fund and banking investments and expansion. But the extreme poverty that the country is known for very much remains in this financial centre.
But Mumbai native and Millionaire‘s female lead Freida Pinto says audiences will take away from the film “the absolute true picture of Mumbai. It’s not a one-sided poor portrayal of Bombay or India. You have everything: you have the good, the bad, the ugly, and all of it actually co-exists in Mumbai.”
Beaufoy adds, “If you go there, it’s a frightening, extraordinary experience going to that city…It’s very exciting being there because of the movement of people, because of the wealth, the poverty, but anything that moves at that pace is kind of brutalizing for a lot of people. It’s leaving a lot of people behind. That’s what we’ve made the movie about is this incredible city; it’s one of the most extraordinary places on earth at the moment in its development.”
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