Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail is 10, and Rubina Ali is 9. They played the young versions of Salim and Latika in the Oscar winning “Slumdog Millionaire.”
They were flown out to Hollywood for the Oscars, and treated like VIPs on the red carpet. But their celebrity status disappeared as soon as the kids were back in India, and they’re having trouble re-adjusting to home life again.
Their hero’s welcome quickly faded as they returned to their pre-Oscar-winning routines -- and to the real slum they were living in prior to the incredible success of “Slumdog.”
The child actors have been exposed to life in America, and it only took a short visit to realize how good life can be in this country. The British paper The Telegraph reported that Rubina, who was still wearing the awards dress almost a month later, wanted “a proper bed to sleep in, and live where the air doesn’t smell of poo.”
And Azhar, who has reportedly been ill since his return, doesn’t have a home to live in -- his family’s shanty was apparently demolished by the government.
There’s been mention in the press that the movie honchos were going to set up trust funds for the new young actors and that homes will be provided courtesy of the Indian government. I certainly hope so. The wildly unexpected success of the film should trickle down enough to fully provide for the children whose acting had a major impact on the high box office numbers for ‘Slumdog.”
Anything less would be shameful and inhumane.
I want to think that Director Danny Boyle and producer Christian Colson are still trying to quickly catch-up to the many new responsibilities this skyrocketing success has brought them. However, chief among them is the obligation they have to safeguard the newly discovered actors and to do the right thing … financial cost not withstanding.
Sirs, just show them the money already!