Slumdog Millionaire Cultural Arts Review

Posted on October 23, 2012 by


Jamal and Salim in Slumdog Millionaire

Hello and welcome!  This is Dylan Jensen from the 8am World Religions class coming to you from his dorm room on his laptop.  Today I am doing a cultural arts review on Slumdog Millionaire.

The movie is based on a true story about a man named Jamal Malik who is a contestant on India’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?  The format of the movie is a side by side comparison of Jamal’s answers to the questions and how he knows them.  The tales of how he knows the answers are told as he is being interrogated by police for the possibility of cheating on the show.  There is a great deal of discrimination in this movie and many influences and connections to religion.


On the show there are all sorts of intellectual people who play but none of them have gotten as far as Jamal.  This controversy causes suspicion and begins the interrogation using electricity and cheap blows.  They find it hard to believe that such a “slumdog” could be as intelligent as them.  This is caste discrimination and is attributed to beliefs that still exist between Dalits and Brahmins.  Such an association can be made by contrast of intellect for the slumdog and purity for the Brahmin.  I believe that by being habituated to this kind of discrimination, some citizens of India generalize this idea and spread it to other areas such as intellect.


When Jamal recalls some of the events one of them is about his mother.  When he was bathing in a local river with his brother Salim, the area was raided by radical gangsters who sought to kill any believers of Islam for the sake of Rama.  These radical Hindus believed that Muslim’s were so vile they were willing to kill them in exchange for bad karma or in the name of Hinduism.  In Christianity, Christians do things to others that may be frowned upon by their god.  A simple example would be “what would Jesus do”.  Despite knowing it is wrong in the eyes of their spiritual leaders or founders, they dictate actions by emotion or falsify the intentions of these founders and leaders by associating personal goals with Christianity.  In this situation there is a confusion of dharma and the letting of emotion take over.


Another part of Jamal’s experiences is when he was a beggar.  The man who looked over all the orphans would make them beg for money and maim them if it meant more income.  People who give money to these children either do it because they feel bad, make up for something they have done, or make up for bad karma.  This is similar to the laity seeking good merit from the monks in their symbiotic relationship.  The laity needs the monks for their purity and the people of India need the beggars for reassurance that they are good people.


Later on in the game show Jamal remembers Salim’s first murder.  After Salim murders the man who made them beg he feels a great sense of power.  This power makes him feel more powerful than Jamal later on and makes him feel necessary to kick his brother out of his life with this new found power.


The last memory that deals with discrimination is when his brother and he were stealing on a train.  While in the act they made eye contact with a boy who was in the family they were stealing from.  All they took was a bit of bread but the boy pointed them out which caused them to be thrown off the train.  The boy was the same age as Jamal and Salim but of different social class.  There is no difference between the three, but due to the caste system they were cast off the train.  This reoccurring theme of different aggregates divides the castes and separates the most similar of children and adults.


All of these are examples of division upon aggregates.  Class, power, religion, jobs, intellect, and guilt are some of the main aggregates that divide in Slumdog Millionaire.  For me, Slumdog Millionairedrew into perspective the discrimination that happens around the world reaching as far as India.  Being a child of the United States, my idea of discrimination is that of race, those who are not heterosexual, and religion.  I am aware of the other types of discrimination but have not been subjected to them as much as civilians of India and other similar civilizations around the world.


This is why I like this movie so much.  I was able to see a different part of the world and realize how lucky I am to be where I am now.  I was able to see the differences among culture, both good and bad, and apply what I have learned from world religion to the story as I watched.  I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and recommend everyone to watch it themselves.

Photo Credit:

photo credit: <a href=””>Lord_Henry</a&gt; via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;

photo credit: <a href=””>lecercle</a&gt; via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;

photo credit: <a href=””>Claudio.Ar</a&gt; via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;

photo credit: <a href=””>Stuck in Customs</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;

photo credit: <a href=””>Tigresblanco</a&gt; via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;

photo credit: <a href=””>Stuck in Customs</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;

photo credit: <a href=””>Shrimaitreya</a&gt; via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;

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