Another “Slumdog” Kid Star Kicked to Curb

Wildly successful movie hasn't lifted children from Mumbai slums

The movie she starred in has made hundreds of millions of dollars, but Indian child star Rubina Ali's family Mumbai shanty was torn down Wednesday, just days after the same fate met the home of her "Slumdog Millionaire" co-star.

"Slumdog Millionaire" won eight Oscars and brought in more than $326 million, but it has done little so far to improve the lives of the film's two impoverished child stars, Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, 10, and Rubina Ali, 9. Rubina's family home was demolished Wednesday amid a cleanup drive.Last week bulldozers demolished Azhar's home in a different part of the same slum.

The stepfather of 9-year-old Rubina, who played the film's heroine Latika in the Oscar-winning film, was beaten by cops who supervised the demolition, according to his wife, Munni Qureshi.

Rubina and Azhar were discovered on the Mumbai streets by the filmmakers. The film's adult stars, Dev Patel and Freida Pinto, have since shot to international fame. The lives of the two poor child stars — who live in the slum called Garib Nagar, or the "city of the poor" — haven't changed much.

"I'm feeling bad," Rubina told The Associated Press. "My house had been demolished. I'm thinking about where to sleep."

Dozens of police with bamboo batons walked around the alley where Rubina's house is located.

"How can the police barge in any time without giving us notice," Qureshi said, as she wept holding her forehead.

"Slumdog" filmmakers say they've done their best to help the young stars. They set up a trust to ensure the children get proper homes, a good education and a nest egg when they finish high school. They also donated $747,500 to a charity to help slum kids in Mumbai.

Producer Christian Colson has described the trust as substantial, but won't tell anyone how much it contains — not even the children's parents — for fear of making the youngsters vulnerable to exploitation.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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