From Slumdog to Top Dog

How an Anglo-Indian film that nearly went direct to DVD became the Oscar front runner


Jamal (Patel) is as stunned by success as Slumdog's markers are

It defies the laws of sociopolitical physics: a young man of low birth and no formal education amassing a fortune by answering obscure questions on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Yet Jamal Malik (Dev Patel), a sweet-souled 18-year-old, aces questions about Indian history because he's lived through it--just barely. He's grown up in obscene and criminal poverty with his tougher brother Salim (Madhur Mittal). Jamal wants to stay on the show long enough to attract the notice of his lifelong love, Latika (Freida Pinto), whom he's lost in the billion-strong crowd but who must be out...

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