Slumdog Millionaire: Global Film?
The Media Student’s Book: p.163
- Explain where the storyline for the film came from. Give examples.
The story begins with Vikram Swarup, an Indian diplomat in London and author of the source novel, Q&A. He appears to have drawn on two specific new stories – one in the UK and one in India. A retired army officer in the UK was convicted of fraud after Millionaire (WWTBAM). Since the show was also massively popular in India, Swarup then thought, who would be the least likely winner of the top prize In the Indian version – who might be accused of cheating? A scientist in Delhi experimented by putting a computer only accessible to children in to a poor area of the city. The children quickly learned how to use the computer without any help from adults. From these two stories Swarup constructed the narrative of a young man from the slums who knows the awnsers to the quiz questions because they each refer to something he has experienced in his life. Rather than knowledge he thr0ough education.
- List the ways in which Simon Beaufoy changed the story. Explain why this was done.
- The central character becomes Muslim and one of thw two brothers from a Mumbai slum. His name is changed to Jamal. In the novel, the character is an orphan brought up in an English clergymans house in Delhi and there is an explanation of why he can speak English and why he has a name that spans Indias three major religions.
- Several of the sub - plots are removed to make the story line clearer.
- The romance element is made more important and runs across the whole storyline. The story would be further tweaked when Danny Boyle came on board as director, but in the final script Boyle would claim that the narrative goal -essentially to bring the childhood sweethearts together - was not American since it downplayed winning the money. Winning the girl seems to have worked with American audiences though.
- How did Tessa Ross and Christian Colson arrange funding? Why is this significant? Tessa Ross thought that it was essential to be able to use it in the film. When colson secured these rights, he was able to fund the production of the film and then sell the distribution rights of the finished film to pathe in the UK and ireland and France, Warner Bros in North America and other companies in the territories around the world. With the revenue from this scale, Colson could cover the costs of production, but would retain control - meaning that the film would remain a UK production without interference from the Hollywood distributor.
- Explain the term ‘Bollywood’
- What was the impact of Warner Bros closing it’s ‘specialist’ film labels on the distribution of Slumdog Millionaire? How was this resolved? (p. 166)
- Slumdog Millionaire is not a Hollywood film. Explain how it has been caught between Hollywood and Bollywood. (p. 167-170)
- In your opinion, what made Slumdog Millionaire a successful film? Discuss pre-production, production, distribution and exhibition.