New Delhi – Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle has promised new homes for the child-stars of his Oscar-winning film and has already bought an apartment for one of them, news reports said Thursday.
The filmmaker flew to Mumbai on Wednesday to help the two child stars, Rubina Ali Qureshi, 9, and Azharuddin Ismael Shaikh, 10, after civic authorities razed their shanties, deeming them “illegal structures.”
Boyle said the trust fund set up for the children had purchased an apartment for Azharuddin and expected to find one for Rubina within 10 days, the English-language Hindustan Times daily reported.
“We are here to see the children get good, legal accommodation. We also want to meet the Jai Ho trust,” Boyle was quoted as saying.
Boyle and producer Christian Colson established the Jai Ho trust to help the children financially till they turn 18.
“We have allotted 2.5 million rupees (52,294 dollars) for each of the homes that will be given to the two families within 10 days. Azhar’s home is ready with paperwork pending. Rubina’s will be done soon,” Nirja Mattoo, a trustee, told reporters.
Both the new homes will be located in the city’s Bandra area close to the children’s schools.
Amid criticism that Boyle had not helped the child actors enough, Rubina’s father, Rafique Ahmed, accused Boyle of neglecting them after the film’s global success.
“They have been talking about houses since the Oscars … I don’t believe anything will happen,” he said.
Boyle’s help comes soon after the state authorities promised the young stars new houses by next month. It was not clear whether the children would opt for government housing.
Rubina and Azhar played the youngest versions of Latika, the main female character, and Salim, the hero Jamaal’s brother, in the hugely successful rags-to-riches story.
The tiny one-room tenement where Rubina lived with her parents and siblings in the Gareebnagar (city of the poor) area behind Mumbai’s Bandra railway station was one of the more than two dozen properties demolished by the railway police on May 20.
Azharuddin’s tent-against-the-wall home was razed by municipal authorities on May 16 as part of an ongoing city clean-up drive. Slumdog Millionaire is largely set in Mumbai’s slums.
The film won eight Oscars, including best picture. It also won four Golden Globes and a host of other awards.
According to industry estimates, it has grossed 328 million dollars at the box office so far. The phenomenal success of the film led the families of the two child actors to hope it would propel them to a better future.(dpa)