Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Friday, February 20, 2009

Learn more about Slumdog Millionaire by listening to this Q & A

One of the major Oscar contenders this year is Slumdog Millionaire,a rags to riches story that takes place in India and is based on the novel by Vikas Swarup. While the book is still on my waiting list of reading rentals,I have been listening to the audio edition of it and find that the narrative is fascinating,regardless of format.

There are a number of changes from the book to film,such as the name of the lead character(the movie calls him Jamal Malik while the book has him as Ram Mohammad Thomas)but the basic plot structure is the same: a poor young man working as a waiter in Mumbai unexpectedly wins a quiz show that is loosely based on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire .In order to get out of paying the huge cash prize,the show's producers have the young waiter be arrested and tortured by the police to get a confession of cheating out of him:

The young man is rescued from his gruesome fate by a compassionate lawyer(in the movie,it's a police inspector)to whom he tells his life story,which oddly explains how he knew the answers to all of the twelve questions.

His various adventures include being recruited and trained to sing by a crime boss who creates blind beggars out of desperate and abandoned children,working as a household servant for an aging actress and later for an Australian diplomat who has a sideline as a spy and a violent train robbery that ends with a terrifyingly heroic twist. While his acquired knowledge didn't come from more conventional means,there's no denying that Ram does honestly know what he knows:

The audio edition of Q & A is read by Kerry Shale,who won an Audie Award for Best Abridged Fiction for the book and he richly deserved it. Shale's voice work is most impressive,creating the various verbal inflections for each character that seem to speak in rhythmic harmony that ties the story line along,bit by bit,without becoming too similar in style.

The content is abridged,but the listener won't feel as if they're being cheated out of any important details(if anything,this makes you want to read the book all the more)or deprived of the beauty of the narrative. Shale's storyteller skills make the characters and their plight come alive and highlight the talented words of the original author.

While those who have seen the movie first may be surprised about the lack of a love story (something that was expanded upon in the screenplay)and a few other changes,the theme of holding on to your dreams and trusting in fate despite the odds still holds strong. No matter how you experience it,the fever of the favor for this compelling tale is well worth the savoring. Having it read aloud is a bonus,since it is a classic Cinderella story in the best sense of the word:

1 comment:

Ladytink_534 said...

Great post! Now I'll have to make sure to see/read it :)