Study Guide

Slumdog Millionaire Stacks Of Cash

Stacks Of Cash

No brainer, right? Stacks o' cash can only mean one thing: total bliss.

Eeeeeep. Wrong answer, folks. Making it rain in Slumdog Millionaire is shorthand for greed, violence, and sacrifice.

The opening of Slumdog Millionaire consists of a series of images, flashing on the screen briefly before fading into the shadows. Among the more prominent images that appear in this sequence is money—a pair of hands tossing around thousands of 1,000 rupee notes into a bathtub. As the host of Who Wants to be a Millionaire introduces our hero Jamal Malik on the show, the image of this cash recurs.

Money clearly plays an important role in Slumdog Millionaire because it directly ties to the story's central plot device: the game show. But the real-deal significance of these initial images of cash money doesn't become clear until the end of the film, when we discover the owner of those rainmaking hands: Salim.

With the help of some crafty editing, Jamal's victory on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire parallels Salim's sacrifice, as the elder brother makes his last stand against Javed in the bathtub full of 1,000 rupee notes. Oh yeah: and this death occurs while the entire country celebrates the younger brother's success. In this contrast, as the end of the film echoes the beginning, we see the true cost of wealth and power.