Slumdog Millionaire

Synopsis of the Movie

The movie under consideration is Slumdog Millionaire (Colson & Boyle, 2008). Its plot reveals life story of a poor Indian teenager Jamal Malik, a winner of the Indian version of a worldwide famous TV show Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Jamal’s mother was killed; he did not finish school and grew up together with his elder brother in the streets. Two small children did everything to survive in the Indian streets; they stole, cadged money, and deceived tourists. Despite the fact that Jamal did not do everything right in his life, he is a good young man who had to live the life of an orphan from the slums. When Jamal came to a show, he gave the right answers to all the questions.


The game show host believes that Jamal is not honest because even doctors, teachers and other well-educated people could not answer the half of the questions, while the boy from the slums did it successfully. Thus, the local police inspector arrested him to find out whether Jamal Malik is a cheater, lucky person or he simply knows the answers to those questions. During the examination, Jamal explains that the answers to all the show’s questions are connected with his life. Thus, he knows them all.

Theoretical Concepts

In this movie, one may outline different interpersonal theoretical concepts from the Floyd’s textbook, but the strongest one is probably stereotyping (Floyd, 2008). The way people perceive each other does not always reflect the reality. People make suggestions about others, taking into consideration some facts about their appearance, social status, or behavior. However, this information may show only one side of the coin. For instance, a blond girl might be viewed as dump because all blonde-haired people are considered silly. This statement is not a fact, but the widespread opinion, which develops into a stereotype in society. Floyd states that stereotyping has a negative impact on communication between people because labeling does not lead to the adequate perception of others (Floyd, 2008).

The movie Slumdog Millionaire reveals this concept to the full extent. Jamal Malik is a poor orphan from slums; people view him as a thief, cheater and liar. Despite the fact that police officers could not find any evidence in order to prove that Jamal Malik cheated on the show, they still did not believe that he could honestly answer all the questions. The reason is quite simple; a teenager from slums cannot be a Mr. Know-it-all. Hence, the stereotype that exists in society blinds police officers and TV show host (Colson & Boyle, 2008). They see only what they want to see and what they used to see. Their stereotypic way of thinking does not give a chance to realize that such possibility may happen and even a boy from slums may become a millionaire without cheating.

Another concept, which was brightly introduced in this movie, is interpersonal conflict (Floyd, 2008). The nature of conflict is a disagreement between parties, which depend on each other or are connected with each other. As a rule, the wellbeing of the parties becomes imbalanced when they cannot find a solution that will satisfy both of them. For instance, a young couple has a conflict because a husband wants to stay at home and watch a sport game, while his wife wants to go to the cinema to see a new soap opera. Hence, the conflict is the result of differences of interests, ambitions and wishes. However, a conflict may be not only between parties, but also inside a person. Sometimes, an individual has to make a complex decision and he/she cannot choose a proper variant; thus, his/her consciousness faces a conflict too.

In the movie Slamdog Millionaire, one may find the conflict between parties as well as the examples of the inner conflicts; the last one is even a more frequent phenomenon there. For example, Jamal Malik and his brother Salim have always faced conflicts since early childhood. The brothers argue about Salim’s decision to leave Latika when they escaped from criminals. They face the conflict because Jamal expresses an opinion which differs from Salim’s one. They live together, and they have to find the way to survive; thus, the differences in the decision-making process always lead to conflicts in their case because every decision may help them or cause harm (Colson & Boyle, 2008).

Despite the fact that Jamal and Latika have very friendly and even romantic relations, even they encounter the interpersonal conflicts. Latika asks Jamal to forget her because she understands that her husband will never let them be together. Moreover, there is a danger that he will kill them both if he knows about young Malik. Jamal cannot understand why love that exists between him and Latika is not as strong for her as it is for him. As a result, it leads to a conflict between him and Latika because the vision of one side does not correspond to expectations of another side.

However, as it was said above, besides the conflicts between the parties, there are also inner conflicts. In this movie, every character experiences inner conflict at least one time throughout the film. For example, Jamal faces an inner conflict when he calls his brother after many years. He doubts whether it is a good idea because he hates his brother for what he did, but he cannot forget about their blood ties. Latika experiences an inner conflict when she sees Jamal on a TV show (Colson & Boyle, 2008). She wants to be with him, but she is afraid that her actions may lead to serious consequences for them both.

The third concept for an analysis is effective listening (Floyd, 2008). Effective listening is a very important concept of interpersonal communication since it gives an individual an opportunity to possess particular information and use it for personal or societal benefit. However, one must take into account the fact that this concept is a complex and challengeable activity. An effective listening process is also known as HURIER model, which consists of six stages. Among the stages of effective listening, one can find hearing, understanding, remembering, interpreting, evaluating, and responding. In the analyzed movie, one can see how the above-mentioned concept is revealed in the scenes where Jamal Malik communicates with the police (Colson & Boyle, 2008). Obviously, such stage as hearing takes place in their conversation. However, at the beginning of the conversation, the stage of understanding passes them. The policemen do not understand how a poor orphan could win such amount of money.

One can state that the stage of remembering is effectively presented in the film. Indeed, the policemen always remember facts and important information since it is a part of their job. In Slumdog Millionaire, the inability of the policemen and the TV host to interpret Jamal’s answers to their questions shows that effective listening was not fully established (Colson & Boyle, 2008). As one can see from the movie, evaluating turned out to be the most challengeable stage for the police. They could not evaluate Jamal’s words and understand if he tells truth or lies. Thus, the police could not respond properly because of false evaluation. One can see how skillfully the concept of effective listening is revealed in the movie.

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Concepts in Real Life

People face the introduced concepts every day in their life. For instance, stereotyping is the widespread method of judging other people. When a person meets somebody new, he/she tries to make some conclusions about his/her character, behavior or life principles. As a rule, all these conclusions do not have the factual background since they are based only on guesses. When people do not have enough information, they fill the gaps with their own suggestions, which lead to stereotyping. Thus, when one meets an Asian man, he/she thinks he must be good at math because all Asians are supposed to be good at exact sciences. Stereotypes might be neutral, negative or even positive.

However, the most apparent thing is that stereotypes do not reflect the reality because they show only attitude and perception of a certain person. This concept is valuable because it demonstrates that people see what they want to see. Thus, their judgments often do not have the factual background. Stereotyping creates the barriers in communication because people see only labels, which they make themselves.

Another concept, which is an interpersonal conflict, is probably the one that frequently occurs in every person’s daily life. People always face conflicts; some of them are significant, while others are not. Nevertheless, conflicts are the part of the routine life because an individual might be in conflict even with himself/herself. The inner conflicts are the most difficult ones because a person has to choose between different opinions, which have the equal power in his/her mind (Floyd, 2008). I believe that this concept is valuable because it demonstrates the nature of the conflicts and the way of their developments. Moreover, it helps to realize that such conflicts are not the problems, but the part of life. Despite the negative side of conflicts, they help to understand which choice should be taken.

However, this concept has its reflection in the modern world and society as well. People often do not listen effectively and make hasty judgments. Outcomes may be too unexpectable and undesired. Effective listening is a key to sufficient interpersonal communication. Indeed, it is not enough to simply hear a person; one needs also to understand him or her and be able to evaluate the information that he/she hears. In the modern world, the main problem of people is inability to differentiate facts from opinions (Floyd, 2008). Moreover, they consider their own opinions to be facts since they believe that their attitudes are the righteous ones. This becomes the main border for effective listening. People hear the information and evaluate only that part they consider true because of the similarity with their own opinion.

Evaluation of the Concepts

The discussed movie provided a good opportunity to analyze the learnt concepts through real examples. Despite the fact that the movie is a fiction, one may outline the discussed concepts there and connect them with Floyd’s theories. Floyd’s concepts demonstrate that communication is a very complex process, which depends on many additional facts and details. Communication is much influenced by the way people perceive each other, their own or adopted system of stereotypes, and their ability to provide the effective communication (Floyd, 2008).

Without all these aspects, communication turns into a complicated process where people cannot understand each other and find a common solution. A good example could be provided from the discussed film, where inspector did not believe Jamal Malik because he was a Slumdog. Stereotypes created a curtain, which made it impossible to perceive information adequately. Accordingly, this experience helped to test the theoretical concepts through distinct examples and discuss them in order to estimate their effectiveness. Despite the fact that only few concepts were demonstrated in this paper, they could be fully revealed in the chosen movie.

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