2. Slumdog Millionaire, India
Danny Boyle’s 2009 drama is another Asian-set film that won a slew of Oscars, including Best Picture. It’s about a young man from the Mumbai slums who has a chance to participate on a television quiz show. Suspicions of cheating arise because no one can believe an uneducated man could have such a wide range of knowledge. However, through a series of flashbacks, he explains how he came to know what he knows. Despite disturbing depictions of street children and urban poverty, this “rags-to-rajah” romance ends on an uplifting note, complete with a Bollywood homage. While there are some stunning images of the Indian landscape, this film is hardly a travelogue. However, it does make enlightening viewing before a trip to the diverse city of Mumbai, from squalor to chic. In fact, you can arrange to take a walking tour the Dharavi slums depicted in the film. Apparently it’s a sensitive rather than voyeuristic tour, and 80% of the profits are invested in the community.