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.
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.
81st Annual Oscar Nominations
First things first, A R Rahman has, in one shot, become the indian with most Oscar nominations! 3 nominations! The amazing thing is that they reduced the number or nominations for ‘Best Original Song’ from 5 to 3 and ARR has 2 of those 3 nominations!! WOW!!
Best Musical Score
Alexandre Desplat-The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
James Newton Howard-Defiance
AR Rahman-Slumdog Millionaire
Thomas Newman-Wall E
“Down to Earth”
Music by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman; Lyric by Peter Gabriel
Music by A.R. Rahman; Lyric by Gulzar
Music by A.R. Rahman; Lyric by A.R. Rahman and Maya Arulpragasam
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire
Stephen Daldry – The Reader
David Fincher – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Ron Howard – Frost/Nixon
Gus Van Sant – Milk
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIR gets 10 Oscar nominations