May 28, 2009

Slumdog News


Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle and the trust he set up have bought a new home for one of the child stars of his Oscar-winning movie.

The filmmaker, who is currently in Mumbai, has told Azharuddin Ismail, 9, he will be re-housed after his family was made to leave the slums. Boyle, who has been criticized for not helping the child actors enough, blamed the press for raising expectations. "Inevitably, the tension and pressure is media generated," he said.

He said he hoped a new home would also be found for Rubina Ali, who played Latika, before the monsoon rains in June. "They were given access to a world, an extraordinary and glamorous world, and they understandably want their lives to be completely transformed," he said.

Soon after the movie was finished, Boyle and producer Christian Colson set up the Jai Ho trust, which was aimed to help the children financially until they turned 18. "The homes are a concern. That is one of the reasons why we built the trust," Boyle said. "We have been trying to accelerate the process of re-housing the families, and one of the reasons we set up the trust is to deal with emergencies like this," said Colson.

A director for the trust said the apartment for Ismail, who played the young Salim, was "comfortable, in a good neighbourhood [and] near his school". In February, the state housing authority said it would give the two children apartments, but the families had not heard from them, said Ali's father Rafiq Qureshi.

Earlier this month, the authorities tore the children's slum homes down. Since then Rubina has been staying with relatives and Azhar was living in a makeshift shanty with his parents.

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