Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Review: Slumdog Millionaire

Book: Slumdog Millionaire (Originally published as Q&A)


Author: Vikas Swarup

My review: Fast paced and interesting with a detailed look at the life of the poor in Mumbai. Has all the ingredients for a successful bollywood (or even Oscar winning Hollywood) movie – action, romance, comedy.

My rating: 4.5 Stars


 

When I saw the movie “Slumdog Millionaire”, I had no idea it was based on a book. And when I did find out that it was based on Vikas Swarup’s Q and A, I had to read the book. I have always been a staunch “book-before-movie” kinda person and when I picked up the book it irked me that I had seen the movie before I actually read the book. But I realized that I liked this much better than the other way around.



When I usually watch a movie after reading the book, I am almost always upset with the movie. Obviously a lot of the stuff has been left out and the story edited to suit the movie better. I enjoyed watching “Slumdog Millionaire” and then I read the book and liked that as well! So I guess in future, if I have to enjoy the movie, I should watch it before I pick the book up!



Well, I guess most of you are familiar with either the book or the movie or both. In case there’s anyone who is still not familiar, here’s a brief description for you. The book is about Ram Mohammed Thomas, a poor orphan boy who goes on to win “Who Will Win a Billion”, a game show closely resembling “Who wants to be a Millionaire” or its Indian counterpart “Kaun Banega Crorepati”. There is obvious doubt that he has cheated since he is illiterate but on further questioning, he describes the incidents in his life that gave him the answers to the questions asked in the show.



In spite of having already watched the movie and knowing the story I enjoyed the book. I guess this could partly be due to the reason that the book was very different from the movie in many parts. The differences were not just in minor details like the names of the protagonists, etc but also in the storyline and well as the questions in the TV show. Ram Mohammed Thomas was a likeable as Jamal and though I did miss the prolonged romance of Jamal and Latika, I could see traces of Latika in Nita (though she hardly had any role in the book!)



It is definitely an interesting read and I would definitely recommend that you read it even if you’ve watched the movie. I am sure you’ll enjoy it equally or maybe even more!



Have you read the book? What are your thoughts on it? Read the book and watched the movie? How do you compare the two?

16 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I really enjoyed the movie - it sounds like I need to check the book out!

bethany said...

I loved the movie and went out and bought the book too! I still need to read it, but I will soon. Great review and glad you liked it. :)

Valerie said...

I just started the book yesterday and even though I haven't seen the movie yet, I could tell that a lot of things probably are not the same--the main character's name for one.
Now, after your comments on this book, I will just enjoy the movie when I finally see it and not worry about how close it is to the book :-).

Trish said...

I LOVE this movie, but for me I can't read a book after I've seen the movie. It seems that when I do that the book isn't as good (Stardust and Big Fish immediately come to mind). I am glad that it worked for you, though. I think if I put enough time between seeing the movie and reading the book it would be fine, but I don't want to wait too much longer to re-watch this one.

Ramya said...

@bermudaonion - I enjoyed the movie as well.. and I loved the book! Read it sometime!

@Bethany - read it soon! I can't wait to see what you think of it and the differences between the book and the movie.

@valerie - the movie and the book are very different in many ways. Of course, the basic premise is still the same - the game show and the flow of the story.. but the questions are different and hence the background story.. watch the movie.. you'll love it too!:)

@ trish - this was the first time i read a book after seeing the movie and i guess it was the difference in the story that made me enjoy the book. I don't know how it will work for other book/movies. I know for a fact that if i watch a movie after reading the book, I land up not liking the movie too much. This is such a tricky situation!

Literary Feline said...

I really enjoyed the book as well as the movie of this one. As you said, they are very different, but both so good!

I do know what you mean. Although I prefer to read the book before seeing the movie, sometimes I find it works out better if I do it the other way around. For me, it depends on the type of movie or book.

S. Krishna said...

I'm glad I read this - I was waiting to watch the movie until I read the book, but now I'm going to go ahead and watch the movie!

Kim L said...

I liked the movie quite a bit, and that makes me hesitant to read the book. I think I might be disappointed, even if the book is good, because its not the movie. Maybe I will have to try it though!

PM said...

hey i read this book more than a year back when I had no idea that Slumdog would be a movie. I found it a bit slow but thought the idea was really novel and nice :) ...now guess who has borrowed the book ?? Santosh :) :)

Priya Iyer said...

i saw the movie and, though i found the storyline interesting, i didnt like it much.. i have the book with me, and have the feeling that i would somehow like reading it... gonna check the book out soon :)

Anu said...

Great !! so you read the book and liked it.... i wanted to read it too, but had second thoughts after watching the movie.....

Ramya said...

@literary feline - I agree.. I remember watching "The Kite Runner" after I had read the book and enjoyed the movie just as much!

@swapna - watch it.. and you won't regret watching it before getting to the book.. at least, I didn't!

@kim - I was definitely worried about that as well.. I kinda had a feeling that I wouldn't get through the book.. but the differences between the book and the movie definitely kept me going..

@preethi - santosh borrowed your book?? Lol! so he's decided to expand his reading to three books huh? 2 by chetan bhagat and this one!:) You found the book slow? I guess watching the movie before reading the book helped me with the images and gave me the impression the book was as fast as the movie..

@priya - you didn't like the movie too much? why?? was it the plot or just the portrayal? give the book a shot.. it might work out better for you..

@anu - read it!:) let me know what you thought of it!:)

Priya Iyer said...

i liked the storyline a lot... didnt like the way it was portrayed in the movie.. somehow.. hope i fare better with the book, though :)

Anna said...

Glad to hear you enjoyed both the book and the movie. I haven't seen the movie yet, and I'm the type that likes to read the book first. We'll see. Thanks for the recommendation!

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

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