Literature / Q & A

Well, wasn't I lucky they only asked those questions to which I knew the answers?
Ram Mohammed Thomas

Q & A is a novel written by Vikas Swarup, mostly known as the book that inspired Slumdog Millionaire. It follows Ram Mohammed Thomas, an Indian boy from the slums, as he manages to win a billion rupees on a TV game show.

The book primarily consists of a series of short story-like snapshots of Ram's life, detailing the circumstances that lead to his knowledge of the answer to each question. While the basic premise is the same as the movie, the events of his life are radically different, with only a few similarities. The story is told from his point of view, as he explains it to a benevolent lawyer who, unlike the police, believes that he didn't cheat.

The book includes examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Gudiya's father.
  • Anachronic Order: Well it wouldn't make sense for events to have happened in the same order as the questions, would it?
  • Bland-Name Product: Who Will Win A Billion? is a thinly-disguised Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? — so thinly that the film was made by the company that owned the international rights to Millionaire, and they just used it straight.
  • Bollywood
  • Chekhov's Gun: It's the foundation of the plot something. Since, unlike in the film, the flashback is given before you find out what question it helped Ram answer, you get to have fun figuring out what part of the story will turn out to be the Chekhov's Gun.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Gudiya turns out to be the lawyer who helps Ram. The man that Ram's friend takes a picture of on the beach is a man who once abused them and many other children for financial gain.
  • Darker and Edgier: How the book seems to anyone who watched the movie first (which is saying something, considering how dark and edgy the movie already is).
  • Depraved Homosexual: In the form of two paedophiles and one priest who is practically a Club Kid.
  • Heads or Tails?: Ram flips a "lucky coin" to make important decisions throughout his life. As it turns out, Ram's coin was a trick coin and he was fully aware of what life-changing choices he made throughout the story.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: The story of the man and the voodoo doll.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Nita
  • Land Down Under: Ram temporarily lives with Australians, and learning the accent comes in handy.
  • Orphanage of Fear