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Slumdog Millionaire is a 2008 British drama film directed by Danny Boyle, written by Simon Beaufoy, and produced by Christian Colson. Set and filmed in India, it is a loose adaptation of the novel Q & A (2005) by Indian author and diplomat Vikas Swarup, telling the story of Jamal Malik, age 18, from the Juhu slums of Mumbai. As a contestant on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? who is able to answer every stage correctly, as a result he is accused of cheating. Jamal recounts his history, illustrating how he is able to answer each question.

After its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival and later screenings at the Toronto International Film Festival and the London Film Festival, Slumdog Millionaire had a nationwide release in the United Kingdom on 9 January 2009, in India on 22 January 2009, and in the United States on 23 January 2009.

Regarded as a sleeper hit, Slumdog Millionaire was widely acclaimed, being praised for its plot, soundtrack and direction. It was nominated for ten Academy Awards in 2009 and won eight—the most for any 2008 film—including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay. It won seven BAFTA Awards including Best Film, five Critics' Choice Awards and four Golden Globes. However it was also the subject of controversy, especially in India, due to its portrayal of Indian Society, of Hindus, the use of the word "Slumdog" in the title and perceived exploitation of some of the younger actors, among other issues.

Plot

18-year-old Jamal Malik, an Indian Muslim from the Dharavi slum, is a contestant on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, and is one question away from the grand prize. However, before the ₹20 million (US$290,000) question, he is detained and tortured by the police, who suspect him of cheating because of the impossibility of a simple "slumdog" with very little education knowing all the answers. Jamal recounts, through flashbacks, the incidents in his life which provided him with each answer.

Jamal's flashbacks begin with his managing, at age five, to obtain the autograph of Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan, where he had to jump into a toilet cesspit when his brother Salim blocked the door, who later sells the autograph, followed immediately by the death of his mother during the Bombay riots. As they flee the riot, the brothers meet Latika, a girl from their slum. Salim is reluctant to take her in, but Jamal suggests that she could be the "third musketeer", a character from the Alexandre Dumas novel The Three Musketeers (which they had been studying—albeit not very diligently—in school), whose name they do not know.

The three are found by Maman—a gangster who tricks and then trains street children into becoming beggars. When Salim discovers Maman is blinding the children in order to make them more effective beggars, he flees with Jamal and Latika to a departing train. Latika fails to board the train as Salim purposefully lets go of her hand, in revenge for an extremely embarrassing prank that Latika had played on Salim. This resulted in her being recaptured by Maman. Over the next few years, Salim and Jamal make a living travelling on top of trains, selling goods, picking pockets, working as dish washers, and pretending to be tour guides at the Taj Mahal, where they also steal people's shoes. At Jamal's insistence, they return to Mumbai to find Latika, discovering that she is being raised by Maman to be a prostitute, soon to fetch him a high price as a virgin. The brothers rescue her, and while escaping Maman they shoot him to death. Salim then manages to get a job with Javed—Maman's rival crime lord. Back at their room, Salim orders Jamal to leave him and Latika alone. When Jamal refuses, Salim draws a gun on him, whereas Latika persuades Jamal to obey his brother and go away.

Years later, Jamal, now a Chaiwala in an Indian call centre, searches the centre's database for Salim and Latika. He fails in finding Latika, while succeeding in finding Salim, now a high-ranking lieutenant in Javed's crime organisation. Jamal reproaches Salim, who then pleads for forgiveness, and offers him to stay in his luxurious apartment. Jamal later bluffs his way into Javed's residence to reunite with Latika but as he professes his love for her, Latika asks him to forget about her. Jamal nevertheless promises to wait for her every day at five o'clock at the VT station. Latika attempts to meet him there, but is recaptured by Javed's men, led by Salim, and once Javed moves to another house, outside Mumbai, the two again lose contact. Jamal becomes a contestant on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, knowing that she watches the show regularly. Much to the consternation of Prem Kumar, the show's host, Jamal becomes a wonder across India. During a break before Jamal answers the penultimate question, Kumar tries to fool him by feeding him the wrong answer whilst in the men's room. After the break Jamal uses the 50/50 lifeline, leaving Kumar's answer and one other, but chooses the other one.

The episode ends before the final question can be asked, and Kumar leads Jamal out of the studio where he is immediately forced into a police van. After an initial beating, the police inspector listens to Jamal's explanation of how he reached each answer. Finding all of them "bizarrely plausible", he allows him back on the show. At Javed's safehouse, Latika sees Jamal on the news and Salim, in an effort to make amends for his past behaviour, gives Latika his mobile phone and car keys, and asks her to forgive him and to go to Jamal. Latika is reluctant out of fear of Javed, but agrees and escapes. Salim fills a bathtub with money and sits in it, awaiting for Javed and his men as they realize that he let Latika free. Jamal's final question is the name of the third musketeer in The Three Musketeers, which he never learned. Jamal uses his "Phone-A-Friend" lifeline to call Salim's 'phone, as it is the only phone number he knows. Latika answers the phone, and, while she does not know the answer, tells Jamal that she is safe. Relieved, Jamal arbitrarily picks Aramis, the right answer, and wins the grand prize. Javed hears Latika on the show and realises that Salim has betrayed him. He and his men break down the bathroom door but Salim kills Javed before he is shot, gasping, "God is great". Soon thereafter, Jamal and Latika meet on the platform at the railway station and they kiss.

Cast

  • Dev Patel as Jamal Malik
    • Ayush Mahesh Khedekar as child Jamal
    • Tanay Chheda as teenage Jamal
  • Freida Pinto as Latika
    • Rubina Ali as child Latika
    • Tanvi Ganesh Lonkar as teenage Latika
  • Madhur Mittal as Salim K. Malik
    • Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail as child Salim
    • Ashutosh Lobo Gajiwala as teenage Salim
  • Anil Kapoor as Prem Kumar
  • Irrfan Khan as Police Inspector
  • Saurabh Shukla as Police Constable Srinivas
  • Mahesh Manjrekar as Javed Khan
  • Ankur Vikal as Maman
  • Rajendranath Zutshi as the Millionaire show producer
  • Sanchita Choudhary as Jamal's mother
  • Mia Drake Inderbitzin as Adele, American tourist
  • Siddhesh Patil as Arvind
  • Arfi Lamba as Bardi
  • Ramona Marquez as Madge's Grandchildren
  • Shruti Seth as voice accent trainer

Production

Screenwriter Simon Beaufoy wrote Slumdog Millionaire based on the Boeke Prize-winning and Commonwealth Writers' Prize-nominated novel Q & A by Vikas Swarup. To hone the script, Beaufoy made three research trips to India and interviewed street children, finding himself impressed with their attitudes. The screenwriter said of his goal for the script: "I wanted to get (across) the sense of this huge amount of fun, laughter, chat, and sense of community that is in these slums. What you pick up on is this mass of energy."

By the summer of 2006, British production companies Celador Films and Film4 Productions invited director Danny Boyle to read the script of Slumdog Millionaire. Boyle hesitated, since he was not interested in making a film about Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, which was produced by Celador. Then Boyle learned that the screenwriter was Beaufoy, who had written The Full Monty (1997), one of the director's favourite British films, and decided to revisit the script. Boyle was impressed by how Beaufoy wove the multiple storylines from Swarup's book into one narrative, and the director decided to commit to the project. The film was projected to cost $15 million, so Celador sought a US film distributor to share costs. Warner Independent Pictures stepped up with $5 million and won rights to the picture.

Gail Stevens came on board to oversee casting globally. Stevens had worked with Boyle throughout his career and was well known for discovering new talent. Meredith Tucker was appointed to cast out of the US. The film-makers then travelled to Mumbai in September 2007 with a partial crew and began hiring local cast and crew for production in Karjat. Originally appointed as one of the five casting directors in India, Loveleen Tandan has stated, "I suggested to Danny and Simon Beaufoy, the writer of Slumdog, that it was important to do some of it in Hindi to bring the film alive [...] They asked me to pen the Hindi dialogues which I, of course, instantly agreed to do. And as we drew closer to the shoot date, Danny asked me to step in as the co-director." Boyle then decided to translate nearly a third of the film's English dialogue into Hindi. The director fibbed to Warner Independent's president that he wanted 10% of the dialogue in Hindi, and she approved the change. Filming locations included shooting in Mumbai's megaslum and in shantytown parts of Juhu, so film-makers controlled the crowds by befriending onlookers. Filming began on 5 November 2007.

In addition to Swarup's original novel Q & A, the film was also inspired by Indian cinema. Tandan has referred to Slumdog Millionaire as a homage to Hindi cinema, noting that "Simon Beaufoy studied Salim-Javed's kind of cinema minutely." Boyle has cited the influence of several Bollywood films set in Mumbai. Deewaar (1975), which Boyle described as being "absolutely key to Indian cinema", is a crime film written by Salim-Javed based on the Bombay gangster Haji Mastan, portrayed by Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan, whose autograph Jamal seeks at the beginning of Slumdog Millionaire. Anil Kapoor noted that some scenes of the film "are like Deewaar, the story of two brothers of whom one is completely after money while the younger one is honest and not interested in money." Slumdog Millionaire has a similar narrative structure to Deewaar. Satya (1998), written by Saurabh Shukla (who plays Constable Srinivas in Slumdog Millionaire), and Company (2002), based on the D-Company, both offered "slick, often mesmerising portrayals of the Mumbai underworld" and displayed realistic "brutality and urban violence." Boyle has also stated that the chase in one of the opening scenes of Slumdog Millionaire was based on a "12-minute police chase through the crowded Dharavi slum" in Black Friday (2007), adapted from Hussein Zaidi's book of the same name about the 1993 Bombay bombings.

Boyle has cited other Indian films as influences in later interviews. The rags-to-riches, underdog theme was also a recurring theme in classic Bollywood movies from the 1950s through to the 1980s, when "India worked to lift itself from hunger and poverty." Other classic Bollywood tropes in the film include "the fantasy sequences" and the montage sequence where "the brothers jump off a train and suddenly they are seven years older".

The producer's first choice for the role of Prem Kumar was Shahrukh Khan, an established Bollywood star and host of the 2007 series of Kaun Banega Crorepati (the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?). However, Khan turned down the role, concerned that he did not want to give his audience the impression that the real show was a fraud by playing a fraud host in the movie. Despite the subsequent success of the film, Khan has stated that he does not regret turning the role down, and has been a vociferous supporter of the film to its critics. Paul Smith, the executive producer of Slumdog Millionaire and the chairman of Celador Films, previously owned the international rights to Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

Release and box office performance

In August 2007, Warner Independent Pictures acquired the North American rights and Pathé the international rights to distribute Slumdog Millionaire theatrically. However, in May 2008, Warner Independent Pictures was shut down, with all of its projects being transferred to Warner Bros., its parent studio. Warner Bros. doubted the commercial prospects of Slumdog Millionaire and suggested that it would go straight to DVD without a US theatrical release. In August 2008, the studio began searching for buyers for various productions, to relieve its overload of end-of-the-year films. Halfway through the month, Warner Bros. entered into a pact with Fox Searchlight Pictures to share distribution of the film, with Fox Searchlight buying 50% of Warner Bros.'s interest in the movie and handling US distribution.

Following its success at the 81st Academy Awards, the film topped the worldwide box office (barring North America), grossing $16 million from 34 markets in the week following the Academy Awards. Worldwide, the film has currently grossed over $377 million, becoming Fox Searchlight Pictures's highest-grossing film ever (surpassing Juno).

Australia

The Australian 2008 release of Slumdog Millionaire was produced by Icon Film Distribution.

Europe

The film was released in the United Kingdom on 9 January 2009, and opened at No. 2 at the UK box office. The film reached No. 1 in its second weekend and set a UK box office record, as the film's takings increased by 47%. This is the "biggest ever increase for a UK saturation release," breaking "the record previously held by Billy Elliot's 13%." This record-breaking "ticket surge" in the second weekend came after Slumdog Millionaire won four Golden Globes and received eleven BAFTA nominations. The film grossed £6.1 million in its first eleven days of release in the UK. The takings increased by another 7% the following weekend, bringing the film's gross up to £10.24 million for its first seventeen days in the UK, and up to £14.2 million in its third week.

As of 20 February 2009, the film's UK box office gross was £22,973,110, making it "the eighth biggest hit at UK cinemas of the past 12 months." In the week ending 1 March 2009, following its success at the 81st Academy Awards where it won eight Oscars, the film returned to No. 1 at the UK box office, grossing £26 million as of 2 March 2009. As of 17 May 2009, the total UK gross was over £31.6 million. The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on 1 June 2009.

The film's success at the Academy Awards led to it seeing large increases in takings elsewhere in Europe the following week. Its biggest single country increase was in Italy, where it was up 556% from the previous week. The takings in France and Spain also increased by 61% and 73% respectively. During the same week, the film debuted in other European countries with successful openings: in Croatia it grossed $170,419 from 10 screens, making it the biggest opening there in the last four months; and in Poland it opened in second place with a gross of $715,677. The film was released in Sweden on 6 March 2009 and in Germany on 19 March 2009.

India

In India, the premiere of Slumdog Millionaire took place in Mumbai on 22 January 2009 and was attended by major personalities of the Indian film industry, with more than a hundred attending this event. A dubbed Hindi version, Slumdog Crorepati (स्लमडॉग करोड़पति), was also released in India in addition to the original version of the film. Originally titled Slumdog Millionaire: Kaun Banega Crorepati, the name was shortened for legal reasons. Loveleen Tandan, who supervised the dubbing, stated, "All the actors from the original English including Anil Kapoor, Irrfan Khan and Ankur Vikal dubbed the film. We got a boy from Chembur, Pratik Motwani to dub for the male lead Dev Patel. I didn't want any exaggerated dubbing. I wanted a young unspoilt voice." The film was also dubbed in Tamil as Naanum Kodeeswaran, with Silambarasan dubbing for Patel, while S. P. Balasubrahmanyam and Radha Ravi dubbed for Kapoor and Khan respectively.

Fox Searchlight released 351 prints of the film across India for its full release there on 23 January 2009. It earned ₹23,545,665 (equivalent to ₹42 million or US$610,000 in 2017) in its first week at the Indian box office,[63] or $2.2 million according to Fox Searchlight. Though not as successful as major Bollywood releases in India during its first week, this was the highest weekend gross for any Fox film and the third highest for any Western release in the country, trailing only Spider-Man 3 and Casino Royale. In its second week, the film's gross rose to ₹30,470,752 (equivalent to ₹55 million or US$790,000 in 2017) at the Indian box office.

A few analysts have offered their opinions about the film's performance at the Indian box office. Trade analyst Komal Nahta commented, "There was a problem with the title itself. Slumdog is not a familiar word for majority Indians." In addition, trade analyst Amod Mehr has stated that with the exception of Anil Kapoor, the film lacks recognisable stars and that "the film... is not ideally suited for Indian sentiment." A cinema owner commented that "to hear slum boys speaking perfect English doesn't seem right but when they are speaking in Hindi, the film seems much more believable." The dubbed Hindi version, Slumdog Crorepati, did better at the box office, and additional copies of that version were released. Following the film's success at the 81st Academy Awards, the film's takings in India increased by 470% the following week, bringing its total up to $6.3 million that week. As of 15 March 2009, Slumdog Crorepati had grossed ₹158,613,802 (equivalent to ₹280 million or US$4.1 million in 2017) at the Indian box office.

Asia-Pacific

The film's success at the Academy Awards led to it seeing large increases in takings in the Asia-Pacific region. In Australia, the takings increased by 53%, bringing the film up to second place there. In Hong Kong, the film debuted taking $1 million in its opening weekend, making it the second biggest opening of the year there. The film was released in Japan on 18 April 2009, South Korea on 19 March 2009, China on 26 March 2009, Vietnam on 10 April 2009, and 11 April 2009 in the Philippines.

In particular, the film was a major success in East Asia. In the People's Republic of China, the film grossed $2.2 million in its opening weekend (27–29 March). In Japan, the film grossed $12 million, the most the film has grossed in any Asian country.

Critical response

Accolades

Slumdog Millionaire is a 2008 British romantic drama film directed by Danny Boyle and written by Simon Beaufoy. The film is a loose adaptation of Vikas Swarup's 2005 novel Q & A. Slumdog Millionaire premièred on 30 August 2008 at the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado, before being shown at the Toronto International Film Festival on 7 September 2008. The film opened nationwide in the United States on 26 December 2008, earning over $4,000,000 in its first weekend in wide release. Over its entire theatrical run, the film earned over $141,000,000 over 29 weeks in the United States and Canada, $52,000,000 in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and an additional $184,000,000 in other international markets.

Slumdog Millionaire was critically acclaimed, named in the top ten lists of various newspapers. On 22 February 2009, the film won eight out of ten Academy Awards for which it was nominated, including the Best Picture and Best Director. It is the eighth film ever to win eight Academy Awards and the eleventh Best Picture Oscar winner without a single acting nomination. At the same time, Taare Zameen Par (Like Stars on Earth), India's submission for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, failed to make the short list of nominations and was frequently compared with Slumdog Millionaire in the Indian media.

The film also won seven of the eleven BAFTA Awards for which it was nominated, including Best Film; all four of the Golden Globe Awards for which it was nominated, including Best Drama Film; and five of the six Critics' Choice Awards for which it was nominated.

The much acclaimed title sequence has been honoured by a nomination at the prestigious 2009 Rushes Soho Shorts Film Festival in the 'Broadcast Design Award' category in competition with the likes of the Match of the Day Euro 2008 titles by Aardman and two projects by Agenda Collective.

In 2010, the Independent Film & Television Alliance selected the film as one of the 30 Most Significant Independent Films of the last 30 years

Reactions from outside India

Reactions from India and the Indian diaspora

Academic criticism

Controversies

Slumdog Millionaire has stirred controversy on a few issues, including the welfare and illegal housing of its child actors and its portrayals of Indian communities.

The film Slumdog Millionaire, which won eight Academy Awards in 2009, has been subjected to a number of criticisms, notably regarding how it portrays Indian society and alleged exploitation of some of the actors.

Amitabh Bachchan

One of the first celebrities to discuss the film was Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan, from whom young Jamal eagerly seeks an autograph shortly after the beginning of the film and who was the original presenter for Kaun Banega Crorepati, the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? On 13 January 2009 Bachchan wrote that in another part of his blog there were "comments for the film SlumDog Millionaire" which, as he noted, indicated "anger by some on its contents." Bachchan also wrote: "It's just that the SM idea authored by an Indian and conceived and cinematically put together by a Westerner, gets creative Globe recognition. The other would perhaps not." These remarks were widely reported on by the press in India and abroad as a criticism of the film.

In a later blog entry, Bachchan stated that his remarks had been misconstrued. He wrote: "Fact is – some one mentioned the film on my blog...I merely put both of them up and invited debate [...] Media, in India has taken the pros and cons of OTHERS, as MINE, built their headlines and put it safely out, thereby, causing the consternation." In another entry, Bachchan also wrote that Anil Kapoor invited him by phone to the premiere of the film. During the same phone call, Bachchan spoke with Danny Boyle, whom he described as "gracious and complimentary to me and my work." Bachchan stated that he offered his "apologies" to Boyle for the critical comments "created by media" but attributed to him, and he noted that Boyle "understands and acknowledges my calling him." Following the film's release in India on 23 January 2009, Bachchan called the movie "wonderful" and praised the fact that A.R. Rahman had received three Oscar nominations. Bachchan wrote: "I feel this win by Rahman and Rasool is most deserving and feel extremely proud to be an Indian."

Gopal Singh Nepali

The author of the song "Darshan Do Ghanshyam" (Hindi: दर्शन दो घनश्याम) is said in the film to be the blind poet Surdas. However, the song is originally from the movie Narsi Bhagat (1957) written by Gopal Singh Nepali. His children have filed a complaint about the incorrect portrayal.

Loveleen Tandan

On 11 December 2008, the day Golden Globe nominations were announced, Chicago film critic Jan Lisa Huttner launched an online campaign questioning why Loveleen Tandan, the film's credited co-director, was not nominated along with Danny Boyle for Best Director. "Knowing that Loveleen Tandan was a critical part of Slumdog's filmmaking and marketing phases," she wrote, "how can we all sit by and watch while she's totally ignored in the awards phase?" Huttner also provided statistics showing "how rare it is for female directors to be in the awards race."

After learning of this campaign, Tandan sought to end it, stating, "I can't tell you how embarrassed I am by this [...] The suggestion is highly inappropriate, and I am writing to you to stress that I would not wish it to be considered."

Slumdog Millionaire's producer Christian Colson stated that Tandan's role as co-director was being misconstrued to place her on an equal creative footing with Boyle. Colson noted that the title of "co-director (India)" given to Tandan was "strange but deserved" and was developed over "a Coca Cola and a cup of tea" in order to identify her as "one of our key cultural bridges."

Colson's remarks triggered negative feedback from multiple organisations including WomenArts, the Women Film Critics Circle, and the Women's Media Center. Eventually, even though she was not present at any prior ceremonies (including Golden Globes, BAFTA, or DGA), Tandan was a member of the team which went up on stage to accept the Oscar for Best Picture of 2009.

On 15 May 2010, Jan Lisa Huttner received a "Silver Feather" award from the Illinois Woman's Press Association commending her for her work on the 2009 Oscar controversy.

Protests and lawsuits

Following its release in India, the film faced criticism from various members of the public alleging that the film fuels Western stereotypes about poverty in India and that it peddles "poverty porn". Tapeshwar Vishwakarma, a representative of a slum-dwellers' welfare group, filed a defamation lawsuit against the film's music composer A.R. Rahman and actor Anil Kapoor, alleging that grim depiction of slum dwellers violated their human rights. Vishwakarma's filing argued that the very title of the movie is derogatory, and he was particularly displeased that Indians associated with the film did not object to the use of word "slumdog." Nicholas Almeida, a social activist working in Mumbai, organized a protest against the film on the grounds that it intentionally exploited the poor for the purposes of profit, also arguing that the title Slumdog Millionaire is offensive, demeaning, and insulting to their dignity. The protesters were Mumbai slum dwellers who objected to the film's title and held up signs reading: "I am not a dog." Slum dwellers in Patna, the capital of the Indian state of Bihar, also protested against the movie, with the campaign reaching a climax on 26 January 2009, when "protesters tore down posters and ransacked a movie theatre" screening the film. The following day, the police in Bihar tightened security "outside theatres in the state to thwart any further attacks." Activists stated that slum dwellers would continue to protest until the film's director deleted the word "dog" from the title.

Newsweek magazine asked the film's director, Danny Boyle: "Some activists have claimed that the title is demeaning. What did you mean by 'slumdog'?" Boyle answered: "This is one of the saddest things for me.... Basically [the title] is a hybrid of the word "underdog"—and everything that means in terms of rooting for the underdog and validating his triumph—and the fact that he obviously comes from the slums. That's what we intended."

The Hindu organisations Hindu Janjagruti Samiti (HJS) and Shiv Sena protested against the film for its portrayal of the Hindu God Rama. An HJS spokesman stated that the film's portrayal of Rama is derogatory and "hurts the sentiments of Hindus." Writing for the conservative Daily Pioneer, Kanchan Gupta reiterated the objections of the activist groups that the film provides a one-sided portrayal of the complexities of religious conflict in India, and that the film depicts Hindus as "rapacious monsters".

Child actors still living in slums

For their work on the movie, according to London's Daily Telegraph, Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail (youngest Salim) was paid £1,700 and Rubina Ali (youngest Latika) £500. The children received considerably less than the Afghan child stars of The Kite Runner, who had been paid £9,000, even though The Kite Runner was far less of a box office hit. At the end of filming for the movie, both of the child actors continued to live in makeshift shacks in the illegal slums of Bandra, a suburb of Mumbai, according to The Daily Telegraph and ABC News.

On 26 January 2009, Danny Boyle (director) and Christian Colson (producer) released a written statement saying that they had "paid painstaking and considered attention to how Azhar and Rubina's involvement in the film could be of lasting benefit to them over and above the payment they received for their work." Boyle and Colson stated that they had "set up trust funds for Rubina and Azharuddin and paid for their education." The filmmakers noted that they had also hired transportation to get the children to a nonprofit English-language school for the next eight years, and that both children would receive £20 a month for books and food. The exact amount of the trust funds was not disclosed by the filmmakers. As Boyle explained, "We don't want to reveal exact figures about what's in the trust fund, what's in the bank account for them for when they leave school because it will make them vulnerable and a target really, but it is substantial, and they will hopefully gain benefit from the film long after the film has disappeared and long after the media who are chasing them at the moment sadly have lost interest in the film, and that's been our approach throughout and I think it's the right approach." According to The Economic Times, £17,500 had been placed into a trust fund for Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail which he will receive, plus interest, when he turns 18.

Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail's father, Mohammed Ismail, demanded more money for his son in light of the film's success. He stated, "My son has taken on the world and won. I am so proud of him but I want more money. They promised me a new house but it hasn't happened. I'm still in the slum. I want the money now, it is of no use later. Mr. Boyle should take care of my son." He also claimed, "There is none of the money left. It was all spent on medicines to help me fight TB." Defenders of the filmmakers noted that there was no assurance that any money given directly to Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail would not be used by his father for his own purposes, as had happened with previous Indian child actors from slums.

Both Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail and Rubina Ali attended the 81st Academy Awards on 22 February 2009, along with all the other actors who had played Salim, Jamal, and Latika. Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail was accompanied by his mother, Shameem Ismail, while Rubina Ali was accompanied by her uncle. On 25 February 2009, the Maharashtra Housing and Development Authority announced that both Azharuddin and Rubina would be given "free houses" so that they would no longer have to live in the Mumbai slum of Garib Nagar. The filmmakers stated that they had hired local social workers to facilitate this move for the children's families. In the wake of Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail and Rubina Ali's newfound relative affluence, the pressures upon them from the adults in their lives increased. Rubina Ali's custody became an issue, as her biological mother tried to gain custody from the stepmother who had raised her, apparently to get access to Rubina Ali's funds and improved lifestyle. The British tabloids reported that Rubina was also recently "offered up for sale by her father, demanding £200,000 (US$295k) for the 'Oscar child'". The allegation has been denied by the father, who alleges that the British media has misrepresented his position and libelled him. He made a public statement decrying these accusations shortly thereafter, saying:

"My children are with me, and I could give my life for them," ... "I will never sell them to anybody, no matter how much money they offer me."
―{{{2}}}


Authorities in India have conducted an investigation and have found no evidence to support the charges made by the British tabloids.

More than two years after the movie's release in London, Rubina Ali continued to live in an illegal slum in Gharib Nagar.

On 14 May 2009, the Mumbai Municipal Corporation demolished the illegal slums where Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail was living. On 7 July 2009 The Guardian reported that Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail and his mother had been given a new home. "I was shocked when I saw this house," Azhar is reported to have said, adding "I want to thank Danny Boyle for giving us this flat."

Soundtrack

Main article: Slumdog Millionaire: Music from the Motion Picture

The Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack was composed by A. R. Rahman, who planned the score for over two months and completed it in two weeks. Danny Boyle has said that he chose Rahman because "not only does he draw on Indian classical music, but he's got R&B and hip hop coming in from America, house music coming in from Europe and this incredible fusion is created." Rahman won the 2009 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score and won two Academy Awards, one for Best Original Score and one for Best Original Song for "Jai Ho". Rahman had two songs nominated for Best Original Song – the nomination for "O... Saya" was shared with M.I.A., while the win for "Jai Ho" was shared with lyricist Gulzar. The soundtrack was released on M.I.A.'s record label N.E.E.T.. On Radio Sargam, film critic Goher Iqbal Punn termed the soundtrack Rahman's "magnum opus" which will acquaint "the entire world" with his artistry.

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