To mine joy from misery: that’s the gift of many a terrific movie. Its story needn’t truck in sentimental optimism, just a striving for transcendence. And if there’s verve in the telling, you have yourself a winner. That’s the key to this Anglo-Indian melodrama about a boy who grew up with his brother in brutal poverty, and whose adoration for an even unluckier girl lands him as a contestant on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Simon Beaufoy’s script tells the three lives in flashbacks that illuminate India’s dynamic and troubled history over the past 15 years. As gaudy wealth and abasing poverty coexist in Mumbai, so Danny Boyle’s zippy movie catches the contradictions of slum drama, love story, social document and Bollywood musical in its firm embrace. Audiences in Europe and U.S. — and the Motion Picture Academy — gave it a big hug too.