Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Where are they now? The children of 'Slumdog Millionare'

An Associated Press story in many papers today catches readers up on what has become of the stars of the movie 'Slumdog Millionare' The producers of the movie have paid the children for their appearances, and have started a fund for them. But the star of the movie still lives in a shed in the Mumbai slum.

Our snippet of the story comes from the Wichita Eagle. It shows what effects the movie's popularity has had on the children Azharuddin Mohammed and Rubina Ali.

As the movie's popularity swelled, the filmmakers' plan began to fray.

Journalists swarmed the school, forcing Rubina and Azhar to stay home. The families started demanding more, asking for cash and new houses, Colson said.

When the city razed Azhar's neighborhood, Colson wired the family money for a new home. He doesn't know what happened to the money, but the family remains camped out in a lean-to.

Most troubling, he said, the parents' commitment to seeing their kids through school has waned.

So the filmmakers have agreed to buy apartments and allow the families to move in. But they won't transfer ownership to the parents until Rubina and Azhar finish school at age 18.

The filmmakers have also faced criticism that they didn't fairly compensate the children, but have declined to reveal how much they paid, again citing fear of exploitation.

"It's becoming a full-time job dealing with the daily hassle," Boyle said. Still, he added, "I'm glad we did it, even with all the headache."

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