Director Danny Boyle placed the money to be paid to the 3 lead child actors in a trust that is to be released to them upon their completion of grade school at 16 years of age. The production company has set up for an auto-rikshaw driver to take the kids to school everyday until they are 16 years old.
When viewers objected to the term "Slumdog" as racist-sounding, director Danny Boyle explained that it wasn't; the word is a combination of Jamal's twin standings as a "slum-dweller" and an "underdog".
The film was originally intended to receive a PG-13 rating. In the end, it received an R rating because of its intense tone. With no time or money for appeals, the film was released with its given rating.
Longiness Fernandes was the choreographer of the dance sequence set to the song "Jai Ho", which is played during the end credits. But his name was inadvertently left out in the credits of the film. Upset with this, Longiness skipped the preview parties. Danny Boyle was also upset over this mistake and promised Longiness that he would make it up to him, and did it in style. While accepting the Best Director Oscar, he admitted his mistake before the audience and thanked Longiness. The song "Jai Ho" also won the Best Song Oscar for A.R. Rahman and Gulzar.
The first Best Cinematography Oscar winner to be predominantly shot in digital. This is also the first Best Picture Oscar winner since 1928 not to be shot on Kodak film (35mm segments were filmed on Fuji stocks).
Mercedes-Benz asked that its logos be removed in scenes taking place in the slums. The company, according to Danny Boyle, did not want to be associated with the poverty-stricken area, fearing that that might taint its image.
In the scene early in the film where Maman approaches Jamal and Salim to give them a cool drink, the "Thums Up" branding had to be removed on the request of the manufacturers who did not want to be associated with the film.
The song "Jai Ho" was originally made for movie Yuvvraaj (2008), composed by A.R. Rahman and lyrics written by Gulzar, but the producer Subhash Ghai did not find it fitting in the movie for the actor Zayed Khan, so he let the song be used for this production.
Indian diplomat Vikas Swarup wrote his debut novel 'Q and A' after he was inspired by Professor Sugata Mitra's "Hole in the Wall" experiment, which set up computer kiosks in Indian slums so that anyone could use them and have access to the Internet. The novel was then adapted into the screenplay of Slumdog Millionaire. The Hole in the Wall experiment has gone on to become Hole in the Wall Education Limited (HiWEL), which has 300 kiosks available to over 300,000 children in India and several African countries.
When initially released on DVD in the United States, March 2009, Fox Home Entertainment accidentally shipped to retailers millions of rental DVD copies packaged in retail DVD cases. These DVDs were distinguished by having none of the bonus features advertised other than several movie trailers. As a result, a massive recall effort was implemented over the web, with the assistance of UPS for customers to exchange the rental DVDs for the retail ones.
Frederick W. Stevens' name is on a pillar in the railway station that Jamal sits next to towards the end of the movie. Stevens worked for the British colonial government in Bombay as an architectural engineer and designed the station, known as Victoria Terminus.
The film used a prototype Digital Cinema Camera from Silicon Imaging. When used in Mumbai, there were SI technicians on set constantly to deal with any problems the prototype had, of which there were many.
The author of the song "Darshan Do Ghanshyam" is said in the film to be the blind poet Surdas. However, the song is originally from the movie Narsi Bhagat (1957) written by Nepali Singh. His children have filed a complaint about the incorrect portrayal.
The cricket match being shown on television in Javed's house is the 1st one day international of the Future Cup between India and South Africa played at Civil Service Cricket Club, Stormont, Belfast on June 26 2007. As shown in the movie, Sachin Tendulkar, the Indian batsman, was run out on 99. India went on to score 242 and South Africa won the match by 4 wickets with 3 balls remaining.
Danny Boyle was initially reluctant to take on the film as he didn't want to make a film about Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (1998). However, once he learned that the screenwriter was Simon Beaufoy, who had written The Full Monty (1997) which is one of Boyle's favorite British films, he decided to look at the script again. Boyle was particularly impressed with how Beaufoy had managed to weave the multiple story lines from the novel into one narrative and he decided to accept the project.
When Jamal is talking to the woman from Scotland at the call center and says he lives near "Loch Big-Ben" it is ironic that if he would have thought of mentioning living near the most famous Loch in Scotland, Loch Ness, he would have been accurate as Loch Ness is very close to Kingussie where the woman was calling from.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
At the end of the film when Salim is killed, his death mirrors the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. Both were shot in the chest at point blank range, and Salim's last words - "God is great" - were, according to a number of eye-witnesses, also Gandhi's.
The opera that Jamal and Salim see a bit of from under the bleachers at the Taj Mahal is Christoph Willibald Gluck's "Orfeo ed Euridice" based on the Greek myth in which Orpheus, distraught at his wife Euridice's death, travels all the way to the Underworld in an attempt to retrieve her. Jamal's lifelong quest to rescue Latika from the various "underworld" figures who have control of her is an echo of this myth. Furthermore, the first singer to perform the role of Orpheus (in 1762) was a castrato, which means that while he was a little boy, he had been castrated so as to allow him to continue hitting the higher notes that boy singers can reach before they undergo puberty and their voices drop. The film's subplot in which children are kidnapped by Maman and mutilated so that they will be more lucrative beggars and street singers is an echo of this opera's history.
The song "Darshan Do Ghanshyam", which is used to select and train the child beggars before blinding them, was not composed and sung by Surdas, a legendary medieval Indian singer who was also blind, as indicated in the film; it was actually written by poet Gopal Singh Nepali and composed by Ravi for Narsi Bhagat (1957)
Jamal and Latika's dance at the end of the movie was originally choreographed for the song "Aaj Ki Raat" from Don (2006). Editor Chris Dickens is responsible for synchronizing the steps with the beats of "Jai Ho". "Aaj Ki Raat", however, is also part of this movie.