Slumdog Millionaire, directed by Danny Boyle, is a film that follows the films protagonist, Jamal, as he endevours on a winning stint on the popular show Who wants to be a Millionaire? Jamal is a slumdog a boy who was raised on the poverty of the Mumbai slums. The director uses setting, colour, juxtaposition and dialogue to give the viewer a strong idea of the importance of money in an impoverished society.
The setting of the Juhu slums gives the audience an insight into the important of money through the occupants lack of. Unimaginable to Western viewers the residents of the slum live in utter poverty – they bathe and wash thier clothes in dirty water, they sift through garbage in attempt to find anything of worth to make a small income. The directors purpose in revealing this terrible poverty to the audience is that it gives a bastion with which we can compare thier situation to anothers. The audience can then appreciate the importance of money in an impoverished society because they can see part of thier own life in that of the slumlord Javed Khans: the car, the suit and the sunglasses; and also appreciate the total poverty that shadows having nothing. The audience is asked to empathise with people who live a life totally different from thier own, and understand how money allows them to shape thier own destiny through education, travel and opportunities unimaginable to the slumdog.
Secondly, colour shows the importance of money in a different light. The colours of the Juhu slums are bright and vibrant, the colours of a brimming culture and community. However, the colours in the slumlords house, Javed Khan are washed out pastel colours. This colour difference shows the audience that money is not all that is important for survival in life. Dreams and morals are sold cheaply – in the slums, shown by the sale of treasured autographed picture for a mere few coins, but at what cost? Salim betrays Jamal for selfishness and money, when family love is one of the most supporting and important thing in life. This shows the audience how people are betrayed and hurt due to a vicious search for money. The Oliver – Twist like colours’ in the Juhu slums show the audience how money consumes community, culture and spirituality, and the audience is asked, is that right? The audience may then understand exactly how important money is in an impoverished society, morals and human decency thrown away for coins that allow survival. In the slums, it is survival of the fittest.
Juxtaposition of the aforementioned Juhu slums and a high rise apartment building gives the audience a strong idea of the importance of money in an impoverished society because it demonstrates how money facilitates dreams. The in-progress high rise, destined to be finished and house well-off citizens of Mumbai is built alongside the Mumbai slums. When Jamal stands in this high rise, looking out at the slum, he is not only above the slums (symbolically showing through his job he is seen as a ‘better person’), it shows how money allows plans for the future. The people in the slums have no way to shape thier destiny, as they are too strangled in the vicious poverty cycle, they can only plan to survive from day to day. This high rise apartment building however, shows how those with money can plan for the future, as the building owner is planning to accommodate the modernised India that has not developed yet. This juxtaposition also shows the possibilities and opportunities available through money – the opportunity to chase your dreams and be who you want to be. This technique, the audience is able to compare thier lives to the lives of those less fortunate, and to appreciate how Westerners and capitalists are able to take hold of thier own destiny, because money facilitates freedom and choice.
Finally, the important of money in an impoverished society is evident in the restriction it places on the blooming of the love between