April 02, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire was a book

Every time someone mentions 'Slumdog Millionaire', and stresses how wondeful a film it is, I can't help feeling slightly smug. Because years before the film came out, I read the book!

'Slumdog millionaire' is based on a 2005 novel called 'Q&A', by Vikas Swarup. And it doesn't surprise me that the film became such a success, because the book is absolutely magnificent! I bought it on a whim in an airport somewhere, and it then proceeded to become one of my favourite books. I won't explain the plot, bacuse chances are you've already seen the film, and therefore know the story. If you haven't, all I will say is that it's an original plot, a fascinating story that depicts the different facets of modern India in a captivating way, and a twisted but perfect ending. It's up to you if you want to see the film or read the novel, but by all means, do either.

I haven't seen the film myself, so I can't say if they've stayed faithful to the book in making 'Slumdog Millionaire' - but given its immense success, I'd say they have. I don't really have anything else to say in this post, so I'll end it with an extract from 'Q & A', a part that supposedly has been left out in the film. In the book, the protagonist is not called "Jamal Malik", but something different. He's adopted by a catholic priest, Father Timothy, who names him Joseph Michael Thomas. One day Father Timothy is visited by two men:

'We are from the All Faith Committee,' the fat man said. 'I am Mr Jagdish Sharma. This is Mr Inayat Hidayatullah. Our this board member, Mr Harvinder Singh, representing the Sikh faith, was also to come, but he is unfortunately held up at the Gurudwara. We will come straight to the point. We are told, Father, that you have given shelter to this little orphan boy. [...] What name have you given this boy?'

'Joseph Michael Thomas.'

'Isn't that a Christian name?'

'Yes, but-'

'How do you know he was born to Christian parents?'

'Well, I don't'

'Then why have you given him a Christian name?'

'Well I had to call him something. What's wrong with Jospeh Michael Thomas?'

'Everything. Don't you know how strong the movement is against conversion in these parts? Several churches have been set fire to by irate mobs, who were led to believe that mass conversion to Christianity was taking place.'


'What do you suggest I do?'

'Change the boy's name.'

'To what?'


Mr Sharma and Mr Hidayatullah debated the respective merits of Ram and Mohammad for the next thirty minutes. Finally, Father Timothy gave up. 'Look, if it takes a name change to get the mob off my back, I will do it. How about if I accept both your suggestions and change the boy's name to Ram Mohammad Thomas? That should satisfy everyone.'

Luckily for me that Mr Singh did not come that day.

- 15 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. The 39Steps

    Cheeky, although one can argue that all media is in some way influenced / taken from previous works.

    07 Apr 2009, 13:38

  2. Desi Forums

    IMO the book is a lot better than the over-hyped film itself.

    13 Apr 2009, 16:34

  3. Eleanor. Sue. Gavin. Please stop it.

    Technically speaking, you are all currently spamming my blog. Comments should be about the blog post, not about people’s previous comments. On her blog, Eleanor herself accused Sue of being “someone who clearly does not understand that blogs are not forums”. Yet what I see above is a series of comments that look like they’ve escaped from the Pointless Internet Argument Forum. I’m not criticising any of you, I’m just trying to make you see how absurd this conversation has become.

    But it’s more than just the sheer pointlessness of it all. No, the above comments are mean and aggressive. I pray you, when writing one someone else’s blog, try to behave and maintain a reasonable level of politeness. What I see above can be perfectly described in two words: Flame War. I don’t care if Sue is part of the discussion or not, a flame war is not something I appreciate seeing on my blog. If you want to insult each other, do it on Gavin’s or Eleanor’s blog! And I’m not targeting anyone in particular, I’m talking to all three of you.

    You may comment as much as you like somewhere else on The Missing N. But on this post, I only want to see one more comment from each of you. And that’s an apology. Anything else will be deleted, unless it’s related to Slumdog Millionaire.

    Please don’t do this again. Thank you.

    17 Apr 2009, 19:23

  4. Touche. Easy to forget that not everyone gets as annoyed about Sue as many of the rest of us.
    It’s only recently that we’ve (or should I say “I”) started being rude about Sue to her ‘face’. But yes, if it really annoys you that much…
    “maintain a reasonable level of politeness.” – Not with this one, she doesn’t deserve it anymore.
    However, I apologise if I have upset you.

    I recommend claiming down though. It’s not like we’ve spray painted something on your wall and it won’t come off. Feel free to delete any comment I’ve made, I won’t be upset. I’ve just realised that I may have become the thing I detest.

    And it really isn’t a flame war. Or spamming. Ta ta.

    17 Apr 2009, 20:14

  5. Ps – I tried to request deletion of all my above comments, but WB won’t let me for some reason. Hmm. But yes, please delete them.

    17 Apr 2009, 20:16

  6. Sorry sorry! You are right we did hijack your blog, didn’t mean to. Sorry Alex. (Or are you an Alexander?)

    17 Apr 2009, 22:02

  7. I’m at a loss of words.

    You two are fantastic! I was a bit pissed when writing my comment, but those answers really cheered me up! It’s great to see people you barely know turn into nice and understanding individuals. :)

    @Eleanor: I prefer Alexander, but literally everyone calls me Alex, and I’ve realised that there’s no point in making a fuss about it.

    17 Apr 2009, 23:34

  8. “You two are fantastic! I was a bit pissed when writing my comment, but those answers really cheered me up! It’s great to see people you barely know turn into nice and understanding individuals.” – Really?! Maybe I’m a cynic in my old age, but I can’t help but read that in a sarcastic tone of voice!
    But I give you the benefit of the doubt. I was a bit annoyed when I posted those last comments myself.

    Yes, apologies again. The person in question has been trying my patience for some time.
    I shall try not to use swearing willynilly. Please get rid of my other comments!

    18 Apr 2009, 00:13

  9. No, I was genuinely surprised. I’ll delete your other comments on the spot.

    18 Apr 2009, 00:21

  10. Sue

    Things are beginning to spill out into my everyday life so I’m inclined to agree with you, Alexander, I don’t want to engage in this sort of banter again. When my partner got home from work he had with him a Wii Mario tennis game which he was excited about getting started on but it turned out to be a disappointment. It didn’t get off to a good start as he was playing a monkey and then a fox which caught fire if he lost a point. He kept thinking it was going to improve but it didn’t unfortunately, at one stage he said “Surely it must get better than this”. I thought he was miffed for a while afterwards because of this but he said that I had an aggressive edge to me when he got home and, although I wasn’t aware of it, I think it could be to do with being engaged in what turned out to be a rather aggressive conversation.

    18 Apr 2009, 08:30

  11. Apology accepted, although it hardly looks like one.

    18 Apr 2009, 12:42

  12. Sue

    I do regret my choice of words now but it seemed as if one of two things had been happening as far as Eleanor was concerned, either she was sparring for a fight or someone else called Sue or writing under the name of Sue had been commenting on her blog. Because she said several times that she’d deleted comments I’d made and that I was a malicious and horrible person and nothing I’ve said could give her cause to think that. I’m saying all this assuming she is “real” because I’m pretty sure people write under different guises here, anyway. The upshot of it all is that I don’t want to get emotionally involved with all this and so if I do come on here it will just be in a light hearted way from now on. Talking about getting emotionally involved, one of the things that does stick in my mind is that Eleanor once said “With all the people I’ve lost in my life” and for that I feel sorry and I can sense the air of sadness there. So, yes, I’m sorry.

    20 Apr 2009, 06:28

  13. Ivory Pearl Interior

    I’m definitely going to read the book now. I loved the film, so I can’t wait to find out what the book is like for me. Thanks for sharing this!

    20 Apr 2009, 10:13

  14. Excuse me for this comment blog-owner, when I said Sue was ‘horribe and malicious’ I believe I was describing my appalled reaction to seing her post a lengthy and inappropriate ramble on the blog post which was meant as a remembrance of a Warwick member of staff.

    I do not have an air of sadness.

    20 Apr 2009, 21:54

  15. kdl40w5500

    I really didn’t know it was a book, will look this up on amazon as the film was amazing.

    20 Apr 2009, 23:52

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