“Slumdog” Kids Head for Red Carpet

It’s rags to riches and back-alleys to red carpets.

After it was recently brought to light that the child stars of  “Slumdog Millionaire” were actually still living in the slums, the filmmakers announced today that the kids will attend the Oscars in Hollywood on Sunday.

The airplane trip from Mumbai, India to Los Angeles will be the first ever for Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, 10, and Rubina Ali, 9.

All nine actors who play the three main characters in three stages of their lives will attend the Oscars, James Finn of Fox Searchlight Pictures said Friday. They include actors comfortable on the red carpet, like 18-year-old Dev Patel, who lives in London, and the glamorous Freida Pinto, 24, who has been praised in Vogue as a new style icon.

The rags-to-riches story set and shot in the slums of Mumbai has been nominated for 10 Oscar awards, including best picture and best director.

Ismail and Ali were both plucked from their homes in a Mumbai slum by director Danny Boyle and his team.

"I'm very happy that I'm going to the Oscars," Rubina said in her home Friday, hours before she was to leave for the United States. "My friends are saying, 'your fate is so good."'

"I'm not scared," said Rubina, who will be traveling with her uncle. "I'm going to go and take a lot of pictures and show them to people over here."

She planned to go shopping Friday afternoon for a dress to wear to the ceremony.

Rubina's uncle, Mohidden Khan, 40, laughed when he was asked what he would wear on the red carpet.

"I'm thinking maybe jeans and a T-shirt," he said.

Azharuddin's father, Mohammed Ismail, said he felt "very, very good" that his son could make the trip. Azharuddin will be traveling with his mother.

Finn said Fox Searchlight had been making visa and travel arrangements for the children and their relatives up until the last minute. Securing visas and passports in India can be a torturous process, especially for impoverished Indians who often don't have the necessary identification forms and documents.

"Everybody is really excited about it," said Finn, who added that the actors would be staying in a five-star hotel. "It's nice the whole gang will be together."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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