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Danny Boyle in India to help homeless child artistes of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’

Mumbai, May 28 (ANI): Once under fire for not doing enough for its impoverished Indian child stars, the makers of Oscar winning movie ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ said that they had bought a flat for one of them whose shanty, unfortunately was demolished in Mumbai recently.

This was disclosed by Danny Boyle, director of the movie while interacting with media persons here on Wednesday.

Earlier, Boyle along with producer Christian Colson flew into Mumbai after pictures of Azharuddin Ismail and Rubina Ali picking through the debris of their demolished homes, which the civic authorities had termed as illegal, were splashed by the media.

Smiling and hugging the children, Boyle said a home had been bought for Azharuddin Ismail (9), who played the character of Salim as a child in the movie.

Further, he mentioned that very soon, they would also buy one for Rubina Ali, who played the role of young Latika.

Boyle blamed the media for raising the expectations of families by sensationalising their joys and sorrows.

He also noted that they were given access to a world, an extraordinary and glamorous world, and they understandably want their lives to be completely transformed.

“It’s obviously a concern. We have been trying for a long time to move them into legal accommodation. Both initially rented and eventually bought by the Trust and held by the Trust so that they are perfectly safe for long term accommodation, ” said Boyle.

Boyle and Colson disclosed about the setting up of Jai Ho Trust, named after the film’s award-winning song. This Trust, they said is meant to pay for the education and basic living expenses of Ismail and Ali until they turn 18.

In February, consequent to the success of the movie, the government of Maharashtra had announced that it would allot the two child artistes, suitable apartments.

However, Rafik Qureshi, father of Rubina Ali said that till date, both the families have not heard from the concerned authorities.

“The government providing us house is a secondary thing. Firstly, it is ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ team responsibility to get us houses as children have done so much hard work in the film. They are still living in slums only. It has been six months now that we haven’t got any house to live,” said Qureshi.

Boyle said he was hastening with the Jai Ho Trust to find a place for Ali before the onset of monsoon, which the meteorologists say would be around June 10.

A functionary for the Trust said the apartment for Ismail was ‘comfortable, in a good neighbourhood and near his school and cost over two million rupees.

Boyle and Colson last month also donated 500,000 pounds to a non-profit organisation to support a programme for children in a slum in central Mumbai, where the major part of the film was shot. (ANI)

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