Jamal Malik is an impoverished Indian teen who becomes a contestant on the Hindi version of ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’ but, after he wins, he is suspected of cheating.
A couple of my friends have told me this is the Kite Runner of 2008 and although I can kinda see what he's saying, I think it's closer to "City of God" from a few years ago. What's similar in the movies is the portrayal of children in poor, third world countries and how hard it's been to grow up in the seventies and eighties where they are whether it's in the midst of poverty or drugs or guns.
The director, Danny Boyle, has an interesting resumÃ©. Best known for either the cult classic "Trainspotting" or the Leonardo DiCaprio vehicle "Beach", this is his follow-up to last years turkey "Sunshine". He steers the story of a the two street kids growing up in the slum of Bombay gently and with such clarity that it might bring him an award or two come Oscar night.
The story is layered cleverly and through each question and the corresponding flashback, we find out the history of Jamal, now 18, and the story of how he gets to sit there, in that chair on the Indian who wants to be a millionaire. And the more we learn the more we care about him and he's trials and hope that he'll get his girl in the end.
If you liked the honest portrayal of Rio de Janeiro in City of God and loved the redemption story of an Afghan kid witnessing a horror in Kite Runner, you'll be touched by this. The actors playing the main characters in different parts of growing up all shine, specially young Jamal, in this very touching story about proving your worth to yourself and to the person you love.