These shots anticipate the story's central relationship from the first moments of the film, even if this element of the plot is not explicitly revealed for a while. The striking image of Latika in yellow becomes a motif that repeats throughout the film at key moments.
JAMAL: She could be the third musketeer!
SALIM: I'm the elder in this family now, and I say she's not coming in, okay? In any case, we don't even know the name of the third bloody musketeer.
Early on we establish Jamal as the more compassionate of the two brothers, and his desire to welcome Latika into the fold is sincere. Salim, however, accepting the role as caretaker of his younger brother, prioritizes the survival of family first.
LATIKA: You're a sweet boy, Jamal.
The innocent sweetness of this moment shared between Latika and Jamal in the empty hotel is soon disrupted by Salim, who betrays their trust when he violently removes his brother from the room.
POLICE INSPECTOR: Money and women – the reasons to make the most mistakes in life. It looks like you are mixed up in both.
This quote sets up the parallel themes of love and money that dominate Slumdog Millionaire; indeed Jamal finds himself mixed up in a situation involving money and women. However the irony here is that Jamal has no interest in money: he goes on the show not to win, but to find Latika.
JAMAL: I will never forgive you.
SALIM: I know.
When the brothers finally meet again, it's clear that there has been some love lost. Yet we can see in this small moment of honest humanity that Salim recognizes the pain he has caused Jamal—a baby step towards healing the wounds he caused.
LATIKA: Why are you here?
JAMAL: To see you.
LATIKA: Well, you see me. Now what.
Jamal puts his life on the line to see Latika in this moment, driven by his unwavering love for her. However, in contrast to Jamal's naïve idealism, Latika has a much more pragmatic view of the odds they are up against, recognizing the danger he has put them both in. Out of her love for Jamal, Latika tells him he must leave and forget about her—his only chance for survival.
SALIM: Go. Just drive. There won't be another chance.
LATIKA: He will kill you.
SALIM: I'll take care of him.
This final exchange between Salim and Latika sets up Salim's final act of redemption; they both understand the gravity of this profound sacrifice. Yet Salim knows that in order to reaffirm his love for Jamal and Latika, reassuming his role as brother and protector, this is the only course of action.
JAMAL: Is that really you?
PREM: The question, Jamal, the question!
Once again, we're reminded why Jamal went on the show in the first place. It wasn't for money, glory, or fame, but for love—for Latika. In this instant, his priorities are clear, and the million-dollar question becomes irrelevant.
JAMAL: I knew you'd be watching.
LATIKA: I thought we'd be together only in death.
At last Jamal and Latika are safely reunited. Together, through their love for each other, they can begin to heal the trauma of their past.