Study Guide

Slumdog Millionaire Javed (Mahesh Manjrekar)

Javed (Mahesh Manjrekar)

As we quickly learn, the tentacles of organized crime run deep in the world of Slumdog Millionaire. Our first glimpse into the true power structure of the slum comes at the beginning of the film, when young Jamal and Salim nearly run into an expensive black sedan when fleeing from the police. Soon the policemen chasing them do the same thing. They all apologize profusely to the man in aviator shades riding in the back, who angrily waves them along.

We learn later that this is none other than the villainous Javed Khan, a.k.a. top dog, big kahuna, ruthless gangster, slumlord, and all-around bad dude. As a resident of Juhu, the first thing you learn is to never cross Javed Khan.

In fact, it doesn't take him long to emerge as one of the story's main antagonists. We're officially introduced to the man himself later on, after Salim kills his rival mob boss Maman. "The enemy of my enemy is my friend," Javed explains to Salim, and a promising business relationship is formed.

Years later, Jamal's shocked to learn that Salim now works for Javed:

SALIM: That used to be our slum. Can you believe that, huh? We used to live right there, man. Now, it's all business. India is at the center of the world, bhai. And I am at the center of the center. This is all Javed-bhai's.

JAMAL: Javed Kahn. The gangster from our slum. You work for him?

Things are further complicated when he discovers that Latika is being held by Javed, as a sort of trophy. Jamal's able to infiltrate Javed's compound to find Latika, and it becomes immediately clear that Latika is not in a safe situation. If Javed is the kind of guy who has a temper tantrum over a subpar sandwich, he's probably not going to be the most forgiving when it comes to folks crossing him.

When Latika initially tries to escape, attempting to meet Jamal at the train station, she's captured by Salim—a mission, as an agent of Javed, he carries out dutifully. However, in the film's climax, Salim sacrifices himself to kill Javed… thanks to a pretty dramatic change of heart.

Javed's death signals the end of the conflict in Slumdog Millionaire, as Jamal and Latika are presumably now able to live their lives in peace. But even though the bad guy of this story is dead, we have a feeling that nothing in Juhu will really change; given the rampant corruption and inequity in the slum, we can only imagine that there will be five more Javed Khans springing up next to take his place.

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