Study Guide

Slumdog Millionaire Summary

Slumdog Millionaire Summary

Jamal Malik, a young man from the slums of Mumbai, is on the hot seat of the Indian version of the popular game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire. And if that weren't exciting enough, he's one teensy question away from winning the grand prize of 20 million rupees—roughly $436,000 U.S. dollars at the time.

Yeah. That's a chunk of change for anyone… but it's especially life changing from a dude who grew up in some of the most infamous slums in the whole dang world.

But after he's taken into custody by the police under the accusation of cheating, Jamal recounts his life story, explaining how he came to know the answer to each question he faced.

We learn that Jamal and his older brother Salim were orphaned at an early age, and had to scrape by however they could to survive in the slums. Along the way they meet Latika, a young girl who joins their trio—the third musketeer to Jamal and Salim. Soon they're captured by the gangster Maman, who forces them to beg and sing for money. Jamal and Salim are eventually able to escape, but Latika is left behind.

  

After spending a few years on the road with Salim, Jamal decides to try to find Latika. With his brother's help he's successful, and the three escape together when Salim kills Maman. (Le gasp!) The reunion is short lived, however, after Salim threatens Jamal and steals Latika away.

Time passes, and we find Jamal working as an assistant in a telemarketing office. He decides once more to attempt to find Latika, and starts by successfully contacting his mean bro Salim. After meeting with his brother for the first time in years, he's able to deduce that slumlord Javed Khan, Salim's employer, is holding Latika.

Jamal's able to follow Salim to Javed's compound (which he infiltrates) and finds Latika inside while the game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire plays on TV. Seeing the ruthlessness of Javed, Jamal tells Latika that he'll wait for her every day at the train station. Fearing for Jamal's safety (as well as her own, obvs) she asks him to leave.

Later, much to Jamal's surprise, Latika is there waiting for him at the train station. However Salim—who seriously is a contender for Worst Brother Ever at this point— arrives with some of Javed's goons to prevent her from escaping with Jamal.

Finally, we catch up to the present timeline, where Our Hero explains to the police that he went on the game show because he thought Latika might be watching. After this reveal, he's released and returned to the show for the final question. What nice cops, huh?

For the final question, Jamal is asked to name the third musketeer from Alexandre Dumas' classic story, The Three Musketeers. Though young Jamal and Salim used to refer to themselves as Athos and Porthos, the first two musketeers, they never learned the name of the third—Latika's role in their trio.

(And this, kids, is why everyone should study great literature.)

Jamal reveals that he does not know the answer, but he decides to play anyway because he has that can-do spirit.

Using his final "phone-a-friend" lifeline, he calls the only number he knows: his brother's. However he's shocked to discover that it's not Salim on the other line, but Latika. Having seen Jamal on TV, she managed to escape from Javed's safe house with Salim's help. Aww, Salim's being nice again.

Like Jamal, Latika doesn't know the answer, but she says that she's safe. A confident Jamal is able to guess the correct answer—Aramis—winning the grand prize. Meanwhile Salim, back in the safe house, sacrifices himself in order to stop Javed from coming after Latika and Jamal.

After his victory, Jamal goes to the train station to wait for Latika. Sure enough, she shows, and the two finally a share a moment of peace together. The movie ends with Jamal and Latika leading an elaborate Bollywood dance sequence to the tune of Oscar-winning song "Jai Ho," as the credits roll.

  • Scene 1

    Scene 1

    • The film begins with a cold open on our hero Jamal, awash in a golden camera filter. He sits at a table, dazed, as a large man across from him blows smoke into his face.
    • Text is overlaid on the screen—we read that we're in Mumbai, in the year 2006. Next, we are told the premise of the film. "Jamal Malik is one question away from winning 20 million rupees," the text reads. "How did he do it?"
    • The large man slaps Jamal from across the table, and the screen goes dark. The overlaid text continues, presenting us with a series of multiple-choice style possible answers. Our options are: "A. He cheated," "B. He's lucky," "C. He's a genius," or "D. It is written".
    • As the text fades, we see quick glimpses of images on screen, pulsing in and out of shadows—piles of 1,000 rupee notes, and Jamal on the set of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" as he is introduced to the crowd by the show's host, Prem.
    • We cut back abruptly to Jamal at the table, who receives another slap. "What is your name?" his interrogator demands.
    • With another slap, we return to the game show studio, where Jamal looks equally dazed. "So Jamal," says Prem, "tell me something about yourself."
    • After another rapid cut, we are back with Jamal in the interrogation as he's water boarded. Yikes. "I work in a call center," he reveals as his place of work. "In Juhu." (Juhu's a suburb of Mumbai.)
    • Back on show, the host continues his own decidedly less violent questioning of Jamal. We learn that at his job he isn't even the one making the calls. He simply "gets tea for people"— a chai walla—much to the audience's amusement.
    • Prem announces the game's starting, while the screen flashes on a young woman in a train station, peering up at the camera. It won't be long before we learn this woman is Latika, the source of Jamal's inspiration throughout the film.
    • Back in the interrogation room, a new man enters the scene. "So, has he confessed yet?" the new man, a police inspector, asks the large man. He reveals that Jamal has revealed nothing but his name the whole night. "He's a tough guy," the large man remarks.
    • "A little electricity will loosen his tongue," declares the inspector. The large man, Constable Srinivas, acquiesces.
    • The inspector begins to inquire as to how Jamal did it. Did he have a wire? A mobile? A pager? An accomplice in the audience? How did he cheat? When Jamal doesn't answer, he receives a shock of electricity from a car battery.
    • After Jamal passes out, the inspector berates Constable Srinivas. "But what if he did know the answers?" the Constable asks.
    • The inspector is quick to reject this idea. Doctors, lawyers, and professors are unable to get half as far as Jamal. "What the hell can a slumdog possibly know?" he asks.
    • "The answers," Jamal mutters, through a mouthful of blood. "I knew the answers."
  • Scene 2

    Scene 2

    • A.R. Rahman's propulsive score kicks off, and after the title flashes, we cut to Jamal as a young boy playing cricket with some other kids on an airport tarmac.
    • Before long, however, the police arrive to break up the party.
    • Jamal and his older brother Salim take off, making their way effortlessly through the labyrinths of the slum in which they live, around garbage piles, through winding alleyways, and over corrugated tin roofs—chased by a cop all the while.
    • To the tune of "O… Saya" by composer A.R. Rahman and M.I.A., we begin to get a picture of slum life. The camera zooms out, and the sheer size of this universe becomes apparent.
    • A white Mercedes rolls by, and inside we see a face that will become familiar in the second half of the film: that of the slumlord Javed Kahn.
    • The frenetic chase scene ends abruptly when the two boys run into their mother. She promises the cop who was chasing the boys that she will reprimand them. We don't exactly get the sense she's lying.
    • We cut to Jamal and Salim as they're dragged up a flight of stairs by their mother, who drops them into a crowded classroom. The students are reading The Three Musketeers.
    • The teacher berates them for being late. "Here come our very own musketeers," he jokes, calling them Athos and Porthos, two of the three musketeers themselves.
    • The teacher hits them with the book, and we cut to Jamal back in the police station sitting with the cops. They put on a tape of Jamal on the game show, asking him to explain his answers.
    • Watching the tape, we zoom in, entering into the studio the previous day.
    • Prem explains the lifelines and rules, and before long, they jump into the game.
    • The host asks his first question: "Who was the star in the 1973 hit film Zanjeer?"
    • Once again we go to flashback, where we a see a young Jamal squatting inside the stall of a slum toilet. Salim sits outside. The toilet is on the end of a rickety wooden pier, suspended over a murky abyss. The smell must be intense.
    • Soon a customer arrives, who's in urgent need of the facilities. Salim implores Jamal to leave and make room for the newcomer.
    • Unfortunately Jamal is still working, and the customer leaves. The mood changes instantly, however, at the sound of a helicopter.
    • We soon learn that this helicopter belongs to Amitabh Bachchan, one of the greatest Bollywood film stars of all time, on his way down to visit the people of the slum.
    • Fact: the real life Bachchan was actually super-critical of the film, due, in part, to its British and otherwise non-Indian origins. (Source)
    • Young Jamal tries to leave to visit his hero, but discovers Salim has locked him in out of spite. Desperate, he makes a game time decision, deciding that there's only one possible way to escape.
    • What follows is a scene reminiscent of another classic bit featured in Danny Boyle's cult classic film Trainspotting—Jamal dives into the lake of feces to escape the stall and meet his idol.
    • Covered in poop, an ecstatic Jamal makes his way through the throngs of adoring fans and pushes his way to the front.
    • Sure enough Amitabh signs an autograph. Jamal celebrates, while Salim looks on in horror.
  • Scene 3

    Scene 3

    • Later that evening, Jamal—still jubilant and still filthy—is scrubbed down by his mother, while Salim quietly wanders off. He winds up selling the autograph for a few rupees, in a scene that is pays homage to classic Italian Film Cinema Paradiso.
    • "He offered a good price, so I sold it!" a vindictive Salim reveals to his little brother. Jamal can only cry out his frustrations.
    • We snap back to older Jamal in the police station, watching the tape from the day before. Jamal answers the question correctly, as the audience applauds. "You don't have to be a genius," Jamal mutters. "I knew it was Amitabh Bachchan," the Constable echoes. "Like I said, you don't have to be a genius," Jamal jokes at the Constable's expense.
    • On the tape, the host moves on to the next question: "A picture of three lions is seen in the national emblem of India. What is written underneath it?"
    • "My five-year-old daughter could answer this question," the inspector muses. "But you couldn't." Jamal explains that given his upbringing in the slums, he has an entirely different set of knowledge—like the going price of pani puri (which is a delicious Indian snack), or who recently stole a specific police officer's bicycle outside one of the stations—than the middle or upper class residents of Mumbai. The inspector's amused.
    • Back in the studio, we are on to the next question. "Religion. Interesting," Prem remarks, before continuing. "In depictions of God Rama, he is famously holding what in his right hand?"
    • We get another flashback. Jamal and Salim are young boys once again, splashing about in the river. Their mother quietly washes clothes nearby.
    • This carefree atmosphere quickly turns into one of horror, however, as armed Hindu rioters come sweeping through the slum in pursuit of any and all Muslims.
    • This is one of the Bombay Riots of 1992 and 1993. (Source)
    • Salim and Jamal are able to escape as the violence unfurls around them, darting through the melee. Their mother isn't so lucky.
    • Danny Boyle's direction here is intense and chaotic, utilizing jagged handheld camera shots and slow motion sequences, coupled with A.R. Rahman's ominous, pounding soundtrack.
    • In a surreal moment, the two boys round a corner to see a young child painted in blue like the Hindu god Rama. After a moment of horror, they continue fleeing.
    • As the slum literally goes up in flames, the police do nothing.
    • We pan back to present-day Jamal in the police station. "I wake up every morning wishing I didn't know the answer to that question."
    • In a daze, Jamal answers confidently, and correctly, "Bow and arrow."
    • The show moves to a commercial break. "You got lucky," Prem whispers to Jamal. "If I were you, I'd take the money and run. You're not going to get the next one."
  • Scene 4

    Scene 4

    • Young Jamal and Salim look down at their burning slum from a hillside.
    • Later, as rain pours down, the boys take shelter in an empty shipping container. They notice a girl of around their age has been following them—she stands alone outside the shelter.
    • Salim tells her to get lost, but Jamal allows her to come in. "She could be our third musketeer!" Jamal remarks. "We don't even know the name of the third bloody musketeer," Salim retorts.
    • Jamal invites the girl, Latika, in from the rain, introducing himself. He asks where her mother and father are… and receives no answer. He allows her to stay in the shelter with them, this moment marking the beginning of a bond that will transcend time, space, fame, and wealth.
    • Back in the studio, Jamal prepares for his next question: "The song "Darshan Do Ghanshyam" was written by which famous Indian poet?"
    • Flashing back once again, we see young Latika sifting through heaps of trash at a garbage dump. She watches as a yellow van appears.
    • Alarmed, she yells to Jamal and Salim, who are sleeping in a tent close by. They wake up only when a few men enter the tent, and pop open a couple sodas for the boys.
    • The three go with the men in their van, arriving at a compound teeming with kids playing and laughing.
    • To the youngsters, this place looks like paradise. Maman, the man who took them, must be very generous to help them, they think.
    • That night, Maman lines up the children and asks them to sing the song "Darshan Do Ghanshyam." Some, needless to say, do better than others.
    • While Salim is hardly blessed with a golden voice, Maman recognizes that he's a fighter.
    • We cut to the van surrounded by a number of children, including Jamal, Latika, and Salim, underneath an overpass. Salim is vocal, whipping the gaggle of kids into shape.
    • Their mission is to beg, sent forth by Maman and his crew to go out and earn as much money as possible. Latika is forced to take a baby—babies earn double, and crying babies earn triple.
    • From there, the children move out into the bustling Indian streets. We follow them as they beg around the city.
    • At night, with all the children asleep on the floor, Latika and Jamal prank Salim by putting the hot peppers under his sheets.
    • Waking up, in pain and horror, he runs to the shower to take care of these "chilies on his willy." Salim vows he'll get them back for this.
    • We cut to the same young boy we saw earlier once again singing "Darshan Do Ghanshyam" for Maman. "You're ready," Maman remarks. With that, the boy is chloroformed, and gruesomely blinded.
    • Salim, rattled, throws up. He's told by Maman to bring Jamal over. Salim freezes. "You want the life of a slumdog, or the life of a man," Maman tells the quivering Salim. "Your destiny is in your hands." Salim, of course, has no choice but to accept.
    • Elsewhere in the compound, Jamal and Latika fantasize about their futures. Salim watches the two crack jokes and dream big together.
    • With Salim coming to bring him to Maman, Jamal thinks he's on his way to prosperity. Salim knows otherwise.
    • Jamal is asked to sing "Darshan Do Ghanshyam" for Maman, but he asks for fifty rupees first. Latika watches from a hiding spot and laughs.
    • Salim's asked to grab the chloroform, but when the gravity of the situation hits, he makes the choice to throw the bottle into the face of one of Maman's goons.
    • The trio makes their escape, running through the trees, with Maman and his men in hot pursuit.
    • The two boys are able to make it onto a train, but Latika's unable to hold on, and Maman and his men grab her. Jamal watches helplessly as the train drives off into the distance.
    • Jamal says he has to go back for her, but Salim won't let him, explaining what Maman was planning on doing to the younger brother.
    • Back in the studio, Jamal gives the correct answer: "Surdas."
  • Scene 5

    Scene 5

    • "Blind singers earn double, you know that," Jamal explains to the inspector in the station.
    • "What happened to the girl? They blinded her too?" the inspector asks Jamal. "They had other plans," Jamal responds softly.
    • Once again in flashback, young Salim and Jamal sit on top of the train. Salim urges Jamal to forget about Latika.
    • What follows is an action-packed montage set to "Paper Planes" by M.I.A. aboard the train, as the boys do whatever they can to survive.
    • We see them selling various items as they go, getting kicked off, sneaking back aboard, stealing food Mission Impossible style, getting caught, getting tossed off, and finally winding up at the foot of the Taj Mahal.
    • "Is this heaven?" Jamal wonders aloud. They conclude it must be a hotel.
    • The two wander through the grounds of the Taj, peering up at the architecture and listening to the tours.
    • Jamal gives a European couple a tour, giving them some questionable information. ("The guidebook was written by a bunch of lazy, good-for-nothing Indian beggars," he notes.) Jamal is awesome, hilarious, and a total shyster.
    • When we cut back to the boys they've grown a bit older.
    • What follows is another montage, as the brothers establish a racket stealing shoes, which they later sell, as well as taking pictures for tourists and leading tours. Of course they have more than a few run-ins with security.
    • Jamal takes a couple of tourists to see the locals as they do their clothes washing in the river; meanwhile other boys emerge, led by Salim, to take the tires off the car which they left parked.
    • Jamal's beat up by the Indian driver when they return. "You wanted to see a bit of the real India? Here it is?" grimaces Jamal. The tourists end up giving him $100.
    • Washing up and cleaning his wounds later, Jamal hears music. He follows it to the Taj, where he climbs up the scaffolding to look upon an opera performance. (Of course he steals the wallets of some unsuspecting tourists along the way.)
    • Watching the dramatic performance and listening to the stirring singing, all he can think of is Latika.
    • Back in the studio, Jamal is asked another question: "On an American One Hundred Dollar Bill, there is a portrait of which American statesman?"
    • We watch as even the producers become invested in Jamal's performance.
    • Jamal knows the answer, and answers correctly.
    • In the police station, the inspector asks Jamal who's on the 1,000 rupee note. Jamal has no clue.
    • "It's funny, you don't seem that interested in money," the inspector remarks. "Explain the 100 dollar bill," he later asks.
    • "Bombay had turned into Mumbai," Jamal begins. (Bombay got a name change.) (Source)
  • Scene 6

    Scene 6

    • Back in the slums, Jamal and Salim are on the move again. Jamal asks if anyone knows anything about Latika. Nobody seems to know a thing.
    • Through wide shots of the city, we can begin to see development beginning to take hold—apartment buildings and high-rises are beginning to shoot up from the sprawl of the slums.
    • Salim and Jamal are now working in a restaurant. Jamal declares that he has to go search for Latika.
    • Jamal manages to find the boy who was blinded by Maman. He gives him the $100 dollar bill. "Who's on it," the boy asks skeptically?" "There's an old man… he's bald on top with long hair on the sides, like a girl." "Benjamin Franklin!" the boy exclaims excitedly.
    • The two talk about old times. He mentions that he's looking for Latika. Maman never forgets, the boy reminds him. But he tells Jamal where Latika is, and what they call her: "Cherry."
    • Pila Street, where Latika is said to be, turns out to be something of a red light district. Jamal, accompanied by Salim, searches for Latika.
    • Intercut with their wanderings are scenes of Latika dancing.
    • "Is it her or not?" Salim says, as they look at her through a door. Jamal slams open the door and yells her name. It is her, indeed, and she's thrilled to see him.
    • The boys help her get her things together to escape, but Maman appears in the door. He remembers their names. "I never forget a face," he says ominously.
    • Salim pulls out a gun—a revolver. Maman soon realizes he's not kidding around.
    • "Money," Salim asks. Maman empties his pockets. "Take it. Go. Disappear with your friend and we forget all about this."
    • Salim isn't convinced. "Maman never forgets, isn't that right?" "Maman can make an exception," he says, trembling.
    • "I can't take that risk," Salim declares, shooting him. Latika picks up the money, as Jamal looks on in shock. The three finally make their escape.
    • We cut to Jamal back on the show. "Who invented the revolver?" Prem asks. "Samuel Colt," he declares. He's right.
  • Scene 7

    Scene 7

    • The three youngsters move make their way to an abandoned hotel, claiming rooms. Salim starts drinking.
    • Jamal hands Latika a towel, while politely averting his eyes, while Salim heads off into the nighttime city. "You're a sweet boy, Jamal," Latika says.
    • Wandering through streets and alleys, he eventually makes his way into a building where he encounters some carousing young men on the rooftop. "I'm looking for Javed," Salim tells them fearlessly. It's clear he's not messing around when he pulls his gun. "I killed Maman and I'll kill you too." Now with their attention, Javed reveals himself. "My enemy's enemy is my friend… I've been looking for someone like you."
    • "You came back for me," Latika tells Jamal. "I never forgot… it's our destiny." The moment they share is rudely interrupted when Salim returns.
    • Salim tells Jamal to leave, but the younger brother will have none of this. Eventually he's forced out, Salim leaving Jamal in the hallway. "The man with the Colt 45 says shut up!" he declares. Latika lowers Salim's gun, telling Jamal to go.
    • Back in the police station, Jamal's lost in thought. "So, did you see them again?" asks the inspector, growing more and more invested in Jamal's story.
    • "I wouldn't be here if I hadn't." Later, the Constable insults Latika, and Jamal still won't have any of it. "Well, the slumdog barks," the inspector laughs. "Money and women—the reasons to make the most mistakes in life. It looks like you are mixed up in both."
    • The inspector sends the constable off, addressing Jamal one-on-one. "When somebody asks me a question, I tell them the answer," the exchange concludes.
    • "So how did you manage to get on the show?" the inspector asks.
  • Scene 8

    Scene 8

    • We see another flashback, and now Jamal seems to be around his current age. We see him delivering chai to the call center team.
    • One of the customer service agents sits Jamal down, asking him to take over his job for a moment so he can call into "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" in the hopes of being a contestant.
    • Everyone in the call center, it seems, calls the show, but to no avail. Jamal, however, reveals that he knows the trick for getting through.
    • Meanwhile Jamal receives a call from a woman in Scotland. He affects a Scottish accent and tries to salvage the call, but ends up hanging up.
    • Using the customer service database, Jamal takes the opportunity to search the name "Latika." Too many names show up. Next he searches "Salim K. Malik" and comes up with a more reasonable list.
    • He begins dialing them, hanging up as soon as he can confirm whether or not it's his brother.
    • He finally gets through to his brother, but freezes—eventually he chickens out and reads the customer service script. Salim, however, recognizes Jamal's voice. "I thought you were dead or something!" Salim says. He reveals they had to leave him that night in the hotel.
    • Back on the show, Prem asks another question: "Cambridge Circus is in which U.K. city?"
    • Thinking back on his experience in the call center—which handled U.K. clients and was U.K. themed – he is able to deduce the correct answer: London.
    • We cut to the show's producers, who are really getting into it.
    • "It's getting hot in here" the host exclaims. "Are you nervous?" asks Jamal, much to the amusement of the crowd.
  • Scene 9

    Scene 9

    • We flash back again, as Jamal takes the elevator up into a high-rise (still under construction), where he finds Salim.
    • Jamal fantasizes about tackling his brother off the building, but instead makes the much more reasonable decision to punch him in the face.
    • Salim explains that he had to skip town with Latika to escape from Maman's men. He says he left a message, a claim which Jamal adamantly denies. "I will never forgive you," he declares. "I know," Salim says softly.
    • A little later on, the brothers look out over the city from their vantage point. "That used to be our slum," Salim remarks, pointing down at the development below.
    • Salim explains that he's working as something of an enforcer for Javed Kahn, the slumlord who's transforming the city.
    • Salim sends Jamal to his place. But when asked about Latika, Salim responds that she's "long gone."
    • Salim receives a call in the night. Loading up his gun, and praying, he heads out.
    • Jamal follows him in a motor rickshaw to a gated estate in the middle of the development. After seeing Latika inside, Jamal, always quick on his feet, is able to lie his way into the compound.
    • Opening the door and walking through the house, he rounds the corner to find Latika. The two share a moment, embracing. "I found you," Jamal repeats. He sees that she has bruises on her face.
    • She asks him why he's there, and he simply says, "To see you." (Cue hearts fluttering.)
    • Of course, Jamal hasn't thought past this part of his plan. "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" plays on the TV.
    • At that moment, Javed returns. Though things are tense (Latika throws an apron on Jamal), danger is averted, for now. "Make me a sandwich," Javed says, sitting down to watch cricket.
    • Jamal asks her to leave with him now, but it's clear she can't. "Salim will help us," he says. "You still believe in Salim?" she asks skeptically. Latika explains that Javed is planning on moving them out of Mumbai.
    • The sandwich Jamal made was obviously not so good, and Javed, furious, tells Jamal to get out.
    • "Go, before he kills us both," Latika implores. "Do something for me," she continues. "Anything," Jamal responds. "Then forget me," she says.
    • Jamal, desperate, declares that he'll wait at the train station every day at 5 o'clock until she comes. She closes the door.
  • Scene 10

    Scene 10

    • Back in the studio, Prem asks his next question: "Which cricketer has scored the most first class centuries in history?"
    • The host hands Jamal a check, explaining that he can walk with the money he has already earned. It's not a small sum. But Jamal hands the check back, compelled to press on. The crowd cheers wildly.
    • We cut back to Jamal at the train station, waiting for Latika. He peers down at the bustling station from a walkway above, searching the bustling crowds for Latika. Eventually he spots her. He yells down, and the two lock eyes.
    • Unfortunately, it isn't long before he spots Salim barreling through the station, in pursuit of Latika. She's unable to escape. They drag her into a car and drive off, with a knife to her head, while Jamal can only pound helplessly on the window.
    • We cut back to Jamal in the studio, as they go to commercial break.
    • In the bathroom, Prem speaks to Jamal. He explains he has a feeling that Jamal will win—and that he was the only person to come from the slums and win. Jamal, however, reveals he doesn't know the answer this time.
    • "You're gonna win," Prem smiles, before leaving. Jamal goes to the mirror where he sees the letter "B." written in the steam.
    • Back on set, Prem, shrouded in shadows, whispers to Jamal: "Do the right thing in approximately three minutes, and you will be as famous as me. And as rich as me." He smiles. "Almost."
    • The lights come up, and the host resumes his plastic smile.
    • Prem repeats the question. Jamal is able to narrow it down to three possible answers, before asking for the 50/50 lifeline. He can choose between "B. Ricky Ponting" or "D. Jack Hobbs."
    • Jamal says "D." much to Prem's surprise. The host tries to convince him otherwise. Jamal reveals he doesn't know the answer, but is insistent on his answer.
    • Of course, much to Prem's dismay, that's the correct answer. The audience erupts.
    • Jamal is in shock, but is able to crack a smile. "Maybe it is written, no?" he cracks, in response to Prem's "tip."
    • It's time for the final question. But just at that moment, the final whistle blows. They will have to resume the following night.
  • Scene 11

    Scene 11

    • Off set, Prem escorts Jamal outside where he's attacked by several men who drag him into a police van. We meet Constable Srinivas.
    • "He's a cheat," the host says to the producer, even admitting that he fed him an answer. But he's insistent that it doesn't matter—it's his show.
    • In the police station, the inspector finally comes to the decision that Jamal is telling the truth. We're done, he says, sending Jamal on his way.
    • "I went on the show," Jamal explains softly, as the inspector leaves the room, "because I thought Latika would be watching."
    • Sure enough she is—watching the news, with Salim, and the boss man, in his new compound. Is he a genius, the news reporter wonders, or is he a cheat? And will he return tonight for the final question?
    • Salim, uninterested by the scantily clad bar girls dancing around, follows Latika into the other room.
    • "That guy, he'll never give up," Salim concedes to Latika. "Never." He hands her his car keys. She's shocked. "He will kill you," she says. They both know it's true. "I'll take care of him," Salim responds.
    • Salim asks for her forgiveness, and opens the door for her. "Have a good life," he tells her, as she breaks for the car.
    • We cut back to Jamal, as he receives a bucket of water to the face, courtesy of the Constable. "You're back on the show," he grunts.
  • Scene 12

    Scene 12

    • Latika speeds through the hectic Mumbai roadways, while Jamal makes his way to the studio. Along the way he receives the blessing and support from virtually every person he sees.
    • In a flurry of flashbulbs, he finally arrives on set. Everyone in India it seems is watching. As Jamal walks on set, the entire country cheers.
    • Meanwhile, Latika's stuck in traffic. She finally exits her car, desperate to reach Jamal. Before long, she finds a TV shop where she can watch the show through the window.
    • On set, Jamal says he's ready to go; the lights go down.
    • Prem asks the final question: "In Alexandre Dumas' book, The Three Musketeers, two of the musketeers are called Athos and Porthos. What was the name of the third Musketeer?"
    • Smiling, Jamal flashes back on his memories. Even though he and Salim thought of themselves as two musketeers, even calling themselves Athos and Porthos, Jamal reveals he never actually learned the third musketeer. Despite this fact, he declares that he'll play anyway.
    • "If you get the answer wrong, you lose everything," the host reminds him. Jamal, however, won't back down. "I'd like to phone a friend," he says. It's his brother's number—but Latika has the phone. She realizes the phone is in the car, and makes a mad dash for it.
    • Just when it seems that nobody is going to pick up, she answers, out of breath. Her voice reverberates around the studio. "I'm guessing that isn't your brother," Prem laughs. Salim, somewhere, smiles.
    • A flurry of images fly across the screen as Jamal speaks with Latika; Javed realizes Latika is gone, as Salim makes rupees rain into a bathtub, echoing the intro image.
    • The phone call is quick; she says she's safe, but that she doesn't know the answer.
    • "You really are on your own now, Jamal." But Jamal isn't fazed.
    • He chooses answer A. Aramis, "just because."
    • Meanwhile, Javed searches the house for Salim and Latika. We see that Salim's locked himself in the bathroom.
    • Drums roll as the final answer is about to be revealed, while the gangsters pound on the bathroom door. Millions of people around India hold their breath.
    • Sure enough, Jamal is right, and the world erupts in celebration—all while Salim engages in a final shootout with Javed and his thugs.
    • After shooting Javed in the heart, Salim takes a bullet of his own. "God is great," he says.
  • Scene 13

    Scene 13

    • Confetti drops in the studio as the entire country celebrates. Jamal looks around in a daze. We cut to Latika running, and smiling, making her way through the city.
    • Later, Jamal sits alone in a near-empty train station, looking disheartened. But then, suddenly, on the other side of the tracks, he sees her.
    • Memories flash before us as Jamal makes his way to Latika; we see Amitabh, Jamal's mother, the blind boy with his "Ben Franklin," and various shots of Jamal, Salim and Latika as youngsters.
    • "I knew you'd be watching," he says when they meet. "I thought we'd be together only in death," she responds.
    • He removes the scarf from her head, and kisses her new scar. Images run in reverse back to when he first saw her at the train station the other day.
    • "This is our destiny," he says. They kiss, as the screen fades to black.
    • Answer "D. It is Written" illuminates.
    • The credits, brimming with color and sound, roll to the Oscar winning tune of "Jai Ho," as Jamal and Latika lead an ornate Bollywood dance number in the train station.