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22 January 2010

jai ho

now i know why 'slumdog millionaire' was a triumph at the oscars. i was overwhelmed with emotions while watching this illiterate slum kid serve tea in a call center, absorbe everything around him and, when needed, deal with cranky ladies.

i watched him growing up, falling in love, coming close to death and constantly teetering on the brink of escaping from his terrible destiny in mumbai, a place of unforgettable brutality and terrifying poverty. all this without compromising his integrity.

then i watched him go on the local TV version of who wants to be a millionaire and come off like a brainiac. it is not destiny anymore. jamal negotiated every obstacle before him and teetered between intelligence, luck, and a destiny that he had in large part made for himself.

every incident of his life, including watching his mother die in a riot, feeded into his answers on the show. okay, the concept bends coincidence to the breaking point but jamal's traumatic youth is his lifeline. and with his story, the history of modern india itself. so the guy's life experiences are tied together with his answers, every question brings him closer to his one true love.

it was impossible not to feel good as the cast kicked up his heels in the final scene at the train station, breaking into a song, bollywood style, as the final credits rolled. impossible not to feel good, even if i was crying and quaking from the wonder of it al. jai ho!

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