The American Interest

Books, Film, and History

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Mumbai Masala

In Slumdog Millionaire, director Danny Boyle’s fast-paced, frenetic style suits the chaotic, East-meets-West world of modern Mumbai.

Published on March 1, 2009
Slumdog Millionaire Directed by Danny Boyle & Loveleen Tandan 120 minutes (Fox Searchlight)
Filmmakers seeking to capture life in the crucible of some volatile historical moment have sometimes succeeded by forcing the viewer to assume the perspective of a child. From within the intimate, laconic world of childhood—where fantasy and magic can infiltrate even the most harrowing of experiences—the mayhem of historical dislocations can be conveyed with immediacy and lyricism. Because life is new for children, the outer world still thrilling and unexplained to the inner one, they confront the aberrant with curiosity rather than fear, with play rather than...