Once under fire for not doing enough for its impoverished Indian child stars, the makers of “Slumdog Millionaire” said on Wednesday they had bought a flat for one of them whose Mumbai shanty home had been demolished.
Director Danny Boyle and producer Christian Colson flew into Mumbai after pictures of Azharuddin Ismail and Rubina Ali picking ACthrough the debris of their homes — torn down by the civic authorities as illegal — were splashed in the media.
Smiling and hugging the children, Boyle said a home had been bought for Ismail, 9, who played the character of Salim as a child. He added they would soon buy one for Ali as well, who plays the young Latika.
Boyle, who came under fire for not doing enough for the children who lived in squalor despite the film’s success, blamed the media for raising the families’ expectations.
“Inevitably, the tension and pressure is media generated,” he said, after greeting Ali and Ismail with a hug.
“They were given access to a world, an extraordinary and glamorous world, and they understandably want their lives to be completely transformed,” said Boyle.
“The homes are a concern. That is one of the reasons why we built the trust,” he said.
The “Jai Ho” trust, named after the film’s award-winning track, and set up by Boyle and Colson, is meant to pay for the education and basic living costs of Ismail and Ali until they turn 18.
Boyle, whose rags-to-riches romance about a poor Indian boy competing in a TV game show scooped eight Academy Awards earlier this year, said he was pushing the trust to find a place for Ali before the monsoon rains, due around June 10.
A director for the trust said the apartment for Ismail was “comfortable, in a good neighbourhood (and) near his school” and cost “upwards of 2 million rupees” ($42,000).
“We have been trying to accelerate the process of re-housing the families, and one of the reasons we set up the trust is to deal with emergencies like this,” said Colson.
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 film was largely shot.
In February, the state housing authority said it would give the two children apartments, but the families have not heard from them, said Rafik Qureshi, Ali’s father.
“The kids have done such a good job. They haven’t got anything. See where the kids are staying,” he said.
Slumdog Millionaire child star Rubina Ali had to spend a night sleeping on the floor of an Indian hospital after her slum home was bulldozed. The nine-year-old star suffered from flu after spending two days homeless on the streets of Mumbai. She was taken to the nearby Bhaba hospital, but because there were no beds left she had to lie in the arms of her aunt Mohidin on the floor.
“Rubina was out in the hot sun when they knocked down our home and then was exposed to the humid night,” the Sun quoted dad Rafiq Qureshi as saying. “It was extremely stressful for all my family and I am not surprised that this caught up with my daughter,” he added. However, Rubina has been discharged from hospital and is currently staying in a cramped House.
Shilpa Shetty’s cricket team Rajasthan Royals may be bowled out of the ongoing Indian Premiere League in South Africa
but the glamorous actress is not packing her bags. She will join R&B sensation Akon, as he sings his Grammy award winning song “Smack That” at the closing ceremony of the IPL2 at the Wanderers on Sunday, May 24.
It is said that Katrina Kaif too will perform to the Oscar-winning number “Jai Ho” from Slumdog Millionaire composed by A.R. Rahman. She will perform with a troupe of dancers from Indian and South Africa, and choreographer Shiamak Davar is taking care of the moves.
IPL2 finale will also witness Caribbean music legend Eddy Grant performing his popular numbers “Walking on Sunshine” and “Gimme Hope Jo’anna.” Renowned percussionist Shivamani and a group of Indian and South African drummers will present a synchronised piece.
The Miss Bollywood IPL South Africa finalists will also be introduced to the audience at the IPL2 grand finale.
Freida Pinto, the star in the Oscar-winning film, Slumdog Millionaire, has leaped ahead of her Indian rivals to become the highest paid actress in Bollywood, a news report said.
Following the success of Slumdog, which took home eight Oscars and whose worldwide box office receipts so far are estimated at over $ 270 million, the Indian model-turned-actress has landed a series of lucrative roles with top directors, including Woody Allen and Julian Schnabel.
According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, she has pushed ahead of her colleagues Kareena Kapoor,Katrina Kaif and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, to become the highest paid actress in India.
Freida is currently in Israel to shoot for a new film that focuses on the interwoven lives of a Israeli and Palestinian women from the early years of the state through the early 1990s.
The British daily, quoting sources close to the Indian star, said her earnings have now topped 2 million pounds.
‘Freida is fast reaching the top status in the international arena. The actress’ projects with big filmmakers like Woody Allen have helped her join a league which no other Indian actress has achieved so far,’ said a film analyst.
‘Freida can’t be compared to Aishwarya because we’re not pitching her as an Indian girl in international films. Freida is a true global face,’ Anirban Das, CEO of her management company, was quoted as saying in the report.
Freida Pinto-The Next Bond Girl
N Yaa…Freida Pinto has also been invited to a screen test for the next Bond movie, reports UK’s The Sun.
One of Hollywood’s hottest properties, the 24-year-old Mumbai model could become the new Bond girl.
Freida was first spotted by producers during the casting for Quantum of Solace but has most recently been swept up in Slumdog mania — eight Oscars, seven Baftas and four Golden Globes!
A source said: “She was too young at the time to have a part as a love interest for a secret agent. But she has blossomed into an incredibly stunning young woman and would look perfect on Daniel Craig’s arm. [Slumdog director] Danny Boyle is favorite to take the helm of the next movie, which would increase Freida’s chances of a starring role.”
DO YOU THINK Freida Pinto would be a good Bond girl — Yaa or Naa?
I don’t think she would be suitable for the role. The only flick we know her from is slumdog and that was a little feel good movie with a predictable ending and a senseless bollywood dance to conclude the movie.Besides she was lousy in the movie, not a good actress. As for her exoticism… hardly the case. She is just “exotic” enough to fit perfectly well into western beauty standards. That’s how exotic she is. Interesting how colorism is applied not just to women of African American descent.
The actor has reportedly signed Hollywood’s famous writer-director David Benullo for the film being directed by Anubhav Sinha.David is best known for writing the screenplay of much appreciated ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ and the script for Hallowed Ground, Cupid and Shadow Man, which had won him accolades.
And now he has been roped by none other than King Khan for his next venture ‘Ra.1’, which is reportedly an SFX film.An industry insider said, “‘Ra1’ has loads of special effects, which is why it is to be made differently from the usual commercial Hindi films.
SRK wanted a writer who would do justice to the film. So he got David Benullo to work on the script.”
Confirming the news, director Anubhav Sinha said, “Yes, David Benullo is one of the writers working on the script.” Reports reveal that the writer has already started working on the film when he was he was in India recently.‘
Ra.1’ is slated for release early next year.
Shah Rukh Khan has been approached to host what is being touted as the boldest show in the history of Indian television. Star Plus is reportedly after SRK to convince him to take the centrestage on Indian television yet again with its high profile show ‘The Moment of Truth’.
According to reports, Shah Rukh is all set to take on the helm of the Indian version of an American game show by the same name. The contestants of this show have to answer a series of 21 increasingly personal and embarrassing questions to receive big cash rewards and since SRK is known for his upfront and candid ways, the actor turned out to be an obvious choice for it.
Tele gurus suggest that the show is famous for its bold treatment at least in its original format and if the show retains that format then it is definitely going to create a stir among the Indian audiences.
BTW, “SRK has been approached and Star is hopeful that he will be giving his nod to the show”.
Wikipedia link for original version of game show ‘The Moment of Truth’
Will Smith, Rosario Dawson, Woody Harrelson, Michael Ealy, Joe Nunez
Seven Pounds is a clever one, all right, but it might actually be too clever for its own good.
It stars Will Smith as the mysterious Ben Thomas, an IRS agent who drops in on random Los Angeles residents with financial trouble and analyzes whether they’re good or bad. If they’re good, they get the gift of his infinite generosity: a break on their debts, a little extra time to get their affairs in order and perhaps something even more life-altering if he deems them especially fit. (Giving away much more would deplete the film of its supposed poignancy.)
But Smith’s demeanor is so eerily detached and even robotic at times, he makes you wonder whether Ben is functioning as a force of benevolence or evil — for all of two seconds, that is. Come on, this is Will Smith we’re talking about here. Although he has acting chops that transcend his leading-man good looks and superstar charisma, he’s never played anyone truly, deeply flawed — not even as a misanthropic superhero in Hancock.
Nevertheless, Gabriele Muccino (who directed Smith in the 2006 underdog tale The Pursuit of Happyness) and writer Grant Nieporte jump all over the place in time, trying to keep us on our toes. With its many twists and revelations, Seven Pounds does make you work, which is vaguely refreshing when so much is so mindless.
For a long time, it leaves you wondering, for example, why Ben dresses unspectacularly and drives a junker car but lives in a rambling beachfront mansion in Malibu. At other points throughout the scattershot narrative, Ben emerges from the ocean with water dripping from his perfect six-pack abs, but he also makes a 911 call at the film’s start to report his own imminent suicide. There are allusions to a violent car accident and a deadly jellyfish Ben keeps in a tank in his house, and later in the shabby motel room he calls his new home.
Intriguing? Sure. The filmmakers might have been onto something here, except the script seems so intentionally confusing, it’s hard to feel engaged. Nieporte’s story initiates and drops various subplot threads when it should have focused more on the unlikely relationship between Smith and Rosario Dawson. As one of the chief beneficiaries of Ben’s kindness, Dawson’s Emily Posa literally has a broken heart that he has plans to fix. Dawson is effortlessly lovely as always, and the warm scenes she shares with Smith suggest the kind of classic, tragic weepy film “Seven Pounds” could have been if it had shed its pretensions and stopped trying so hard to wow us with its complexity.
Muccino and Co. aspire to the kind of seismic “a-ha” you’d discover in an O. Henry short story. Instead, Seven Pounds feels closer to the sentimental button-pushing of Pay It Forward.
Seven Pounds is rated PG-13 for thematic material, some disturbing content and a scene of sensuality.
Running time: 118 minutes
Rating: 2 1/2 of 4