The rags-to-riches love story Slumdog Millionaire has arrived on DVD and Blu-ray from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. M&C was lucky enough to have a quick chat with Slumdog’s Anil Kapoor about his career and the film’s incredible journey from India to the Oscars.
Slumdog Millionaire is loosely based on the fictional novel “Q and A” by Indian writer Vikas Swarup, which tracks the life of Jamal Malik, an impoverished child living in Mumbai’s sprawling slums.
After losing his mother, Jamal (played as a teen by Dev Patel) and his brother Salim (played as a teen by Madhur Mittal) must do whatever necessary to survive. Jamal’s travels are filled with memorable encounters, good and bad, but along the way he meets another orphan child, Latika (played as a teen by Freida Pinto).
When Jamal and Latika become separated, he becomes romantically determined to reunite with Latika… even if it means appearing on the Indian version of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” Jamal begins drawing on his past experiences to answer the questions that will inevitably lead him to vast wealth and lost love.
But after lasting longer than anyone ever expected, Jamal is accused of cheating and must prove to the police and the show’s producers how he knows the answers by retelling his arduous childhood in a series of flashbacks.
To Bollywood veteran actor Anil Kapoor, “Slumdog Millionaire” “was a miracle.” The little movie that could won eight Academy Awards, including best picture, and has surpassed its small $15,000,000 budget.
The 49-year-old’s career has spanned over 30 years and he’s made over 100 films. Kapoor has won several Filmfare Awards in India for supporting and best actor since 1988. He also won the National Film Award in 2001 for the movie “Pukar.” This award is equivalent to the Academy Award. “Slumdog Millionaire” is “my first international film in 35 years,” he said.
In “Slumdog Millionaire,” Kapoor plays Prem Kumar, the smarmy and condescending host of the Indian version of the TV game show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.”
Kapoor said, “I was lucky [to get the role]” and that he didn’t need to audition for it. He explained that he had received a phone message from director Danny Boyle, who he only knew of vaguely.
He casually mentioned to his teenage son that Boyle was interested in him. It turned out that his son was a big Danny Boyle fan. His son then proceeded to educate him and asked his father to do the movie.
Kapoor explained that “everyone was surprised” by the movie’s success. “There are no words for it. It was a miracle. I can’t express it; it was a phenomenon. It’s a love story, [with] this storytelling, and the music. It was something beyond what we made and what it became.”
“Every time we won an award,” he continued, “we were happy, excited and thrilled.”
From its first screening at the Telluride Film Festival in August, 2008, the movie went on to win the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film gathered up steam and continued to win at the Golden Globe Awards, a variety of film festivals and critics association awards, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the BAFTA Awards, and then winning big at the Academy Awards.
“It kept happening more and more. No one expected that,” he said.
Kapoor explained that “he’d like to find more work in the states and in India.” It has been reported on various entertainment websites that he will be appearing on the popular Fox TV program, “24.” He will play an Indian anti-terrorist policeman working with Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland).