Note: This blog is based on an article with photograph that appeared in 2009. A more recent update on the child stars, who are grown-up now, is available on Spotboye.com.
In America, there is a natural connection between a movie star and wealth. I’m sure, before you read this next paragraph, that you assumed that the child stars of hit movie Slumdog Millionaire were riding the success of the movie along with everyone else.
Apparently, that is not the case. The two child stars of the movie, Rubina Ali and Azharuddin Ismail, still live in Mumbai’s slums. Just like they did in the movie.
Both children were found places in a local school and receive £20 a month for books and food. However, they continue to live in grinding poverty and their families say they have received no details of the trust funds set up in their names. Their parents said that they had hoped the film would be their ticket out of the slums, and that its success had made them realise how little their children had been paid.
To be fair, Slumdog director Danny Boyle says he’s set up trust funds and paid for the children’s education.
A plan has been in place for over 12 months to ensure that their experience working on Slumdog Millionaire would be of long term benefit. For 30 days work, the children were paid three times the average local annual adult salary. Last year after completing filming, they were enrolled in school for the first time and a fund was established for their future welfare, which they will receive if they are still in school when they turn 18.
So Boyle and the production company are, eventually, taking care of the children of their movies. Still, the immediate situation of the children and their family seems out of proportion to the success they’ve experienced.
Rubina and Azharuddin live a few hundreds yards from each other in a tangle of makeshift shacks alongside Mumbai’s railway tracks at Bandra. Azharuddin is in fact worse off than he was during filming: his family’s illegal hut was demolished by the local authorities and he now sleeps under a sheet of plastic tarpaulin with his father, who suffers from tuberculosis.
Read the whole article here.