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Analysis of Slumdog Millionaire Through The Marxist Theory

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In modern day society we are led to believe that we are free to have our own opinions and be free. That our social class doesn’t matter and isn’t a factor towards our destiny. The Marxist Theory expolist the idea that we are all in one of three boxes ‘The aristocracy’, ‘The bourgeoisie’ and ‘The proletariat’. The movie Slumdog Millionaire directed by Danny Boyle, show us as an audience that there is a clear definite line between each social class. It exploits the idea that poor people are born into their status and remain there and that richer people with a higher status have more control. Though we don’t see an example of aristocracy in the movie. We see how the bourgeoisie have the upper hand in India, and their money can control many things from media to people’s perceptions on a person.

At the start of the movie we see Jamal and his brother living in extremely poor conditions at the ‘Slum’. A Bollywood actor, one of the boy’s idols arrives and Jamal goes through extreme measures to see his hero. The actor bends down and signs a photograph of Jamal’s. We see from the start how diverse the economic statuses are in India, as old people and young around the helicopter the actor arrived in, we see the continuous cycle of family passing down their debt and harsh way of life, stuck in that ‘Marxist cycle’. Something similar across all sorts of movies with the general theme of the Marzist theory, eg The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner etc, is a riot, uprising or outburst of violence from one side inflicted upon another. In the movie we see intercivil religious warfare and Jamal and Salim’s mother actually get killed. The movie exploits that underlying violence and red streak that as a society we are taught to believe that lower class people have, and we are shown this all through the movie and how we perceive the rest of the poor population, as radicals, as people to be weary of and dangerous. Throughout the movie and Jamal’s life we follow him through his struggle of living in the skin of a proletariat. He is surrounded by people (bourgeoisie) who hold more power and money than he does. People like the police who interrogate and tourchure him all through the movie as he knows all the answers on who wants to be a millionaire. Class struggle is the fundamental theory and a central part of Marxism, the struggle between classes is the motor of social change, fueling revolution and leading history from one period to the next. Class struggle focuses on the struggle of the proletariat (Jamal, Salim and Latika) class against the bourgeoisie (the police television host and gangsters present in the movie). In Slumdog Millionaire movie, the poor is described as the people who have not authority and do not have a lot of money. The poor tries to show their power in order to change their lives and make themselves and their future bette, we see this in the movie when Jamal though very poor promises to Latika that he loves her and wants to make a better life and he realizes it and takes the next step into the reality going on who wants to be a millionaire. The positive overall movie ending is that Jamal wins the top prize of 2,000,000 rupees by answering all the answers and from what we can tell ends up happily with Latika. In slumdog millionaire, we also see the possible outcome of personality of a lower class being. Jamal’s brother Salim, is always more outspoken than Jamal, and at the end of the movie we see Salim lock himself in a bathroom from the gan he has joined, and shoot himself in a bath of money. The path and possible outcome of a person who has had the life experience and treatment that Jamal has had, though as a society we assume that unfortunately that would be the outcome of a person who has been through what the boys and Latika have encountered form a young age.

While analyzing Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire using a Marxist lens Slumdog Millionaire has a noticeably close relationship with the social reality of India society. Slumdog Millionaire shows the struggle of the underprivileged poor. Though we see no representative of arastorcy in the movie, we see that the power in the movie is held by the rich or people like the police who have all the authority The poor as the lower class makes the struggle for equality a far fetched goal and in the movie we see how many obstacles in Jamal’s life difficult. The capital as the high class who has power, authority and have means of production exploit the lower class. The high class, called the bourgeoisie is a symbol of oppressor and the lower class, namely the proletariat is a symbol of oppressed. As the oppressed they want to change their condition into a better life. Boyle portrays this Marxist concept by classifying the characters into oppressor and oppressed in a clear and realistic way. In this movie, the gangster and rich people represent the oppressor and Jamal as the central character, is placed as the oppressed. The director tries to solve the conflict that arises between the poor and rich people with a success for Jamal or the representative of the socially and financially oppressed. The road of Jamal to be a millionaire is one step progress to reach the equal prosperity in life that all people in the movie and the real world aim for. All those efforts are expressed when Jamal survives and fights against unequal treatment by the bourgeoisie. These struggles and hurdles are to show the audience the experience and hardship Jamal had gone through in order to achieve his success. We see this when he gets his big break when he goes on who wants to be a millionaire. He is able to answer all the questions correctly when we then goes on the win the show, even to the utter shock of India itself and the host of the show.

The Americanisation of India is creating havoc in the social and cultural fabric with its superficial glitter, even though it has proved a failure in the West. Slumdog plays cleverly with all these elements. This is also what we see people watching Jamal on the show. Who wants to be a millionaire is portrayed as an escape for the people in India, it is very over the top when shot and we see people in the slums watching and people in mansions. This contrast allows up to see how people of higher social classes over fabricate things and what they have, when really they all want the same thing.

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Analysis of Slumdog Millionaire Through the Marxist Theory. (2020, October 31). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 19, 2022, from
“Analysis of Slumdog Millionaire Through the Marxist Theory.” GradesFixer, 31 Oct. 2020,
Analysis of Slumdog Millionaire Through the Marxist Theory. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 19 Jan. 2022].
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