Danny Boyle says it's his favorite part of the Oscar-winning movie. For Western audiences, it's "the way in" to the slums of Mumbi, India -- "a strange world of people you're not used to seeing onscreen," he says.
The director offers an expanded and remixed version of that frantic scene as the highlight of the DVD extras for "Slumdog Millionaire." The chase runs 2 1/2 minutes longer than in the movie, this time propelled by M.I.A's pistol-shot hit "Paper Planes" -- instead of the more exotic collaboration with film scorer A. R. Rahman that was heard there in the film.
The new chase anchors a dozen deleted scenes from the movie, adding up to more than a half hour of unseen "Slumdog" footage. Some of the new material is revelatory, just as good as what's in the film, suggesting that Boyle would have no trouble putting together a "director's cut" of the movie.
The deleted scenes on most DVDs are throwaways. But here all of that cut footage adds to the appreciation and understanding of the film. "Slumdog" fans -- meaning pretty much everyone -- should find these fully produced scenes worth the cost of the DVD alone.
The extras on Fox Home Entertainment's DVD and Blu-ray releases of "Slumdog Millionaire" are otherwise conventional. They include include two commentaries, a making-of promo docu and (on the Blu-ray) an anatomy of the outdoor toilet scene.
Boyle and star Dev Patel (the adult Jamal) pair up for a fast-moving commentary that keys off the rapport the director and young British star built up during the filming and promotion of the film. Their war stories about filming on location in teeming Mambai are often remarkable.
"You don’t have control of the streets, ever," Boyle says. "The challenges you face are, like, insane." Once a camera was set up, thousands of bystanders would suddenly appear. "You just got to go with it and see what happens," the director says.
Boyle shares the secret of how the youngest actor playing Jamal was able to plunge into a vat of shit. It was actually peanut butter and chocolate -- "you could lick the boy."
The director often refers to the extra scenes on the DVD. He advises owners of the Blu-ray that the grain and noise they'll be seeing in the images is quite deliberate -- do not adjust your set.
As for the concluding tribute to Bollywood dance scenes, Boyle maintains, "You don't work for a year in Bombay and not dance."
The other DVD talk, decent but non-essential, features screenwriter Simon Beaufoy and producer Christian Colson. The term "slumdog" was a fabrication, the writer says. He thought the title of the source book, "Q&A," was too drab. Beaufoy's neologism was inspired by the packs of street-savvy dogs that prowl India's slums.
The presence of Alexandre Dumas' classic adventure book in the movie also was a push, the screenwriter says. "No one in India knows about 'The Three Musketeers.' "
A few of the dozen deleted scenes focus on the further adventures of the movie's three musketeers: young Jamal, his roughneck brother and the girl Latika. Others track Jamal in his solo life as an older teen. In one, he puts his knife to a man's throat, giving his character a decidedly harder edge.
There's another deleted sequence built around a question from the "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire Show" regarding the movie's key location, the CST railway station. (CST was, Boyle points out, the scene of a terrorist massacre in 2008.) The filmmakers held back some good content from the TV set because they didn't want the movie to be about a quiz show.
A major arc in the deleted scenes features the police investigator who ultimately believes Jamal and frees him. In the extra footage, the investigator is harassed by a superior who wants Jamal found guilty of fraud, no matter what. The investigator ultimately decides to do what's right --presumably ruining his career.
The Blu-ray version of "Slumdog Millionaire" includes a digital copy. The DVD and Blu-ray street on Tuesday, March 31.
Both versions are in 2.35:1 widescreen. DVD audio is 5.1 Dolby Surround, while the HD offers 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio. The advance DVD provided for review wasn't market-ready, so there's no evaluation of the audio and video in this post.
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