Port Vila, Vanuatu (PressExposure) June 16, 2009 -- A Trust was set up for the two young stars of the multi-million dollar box office success Oscar Award winning film, Slumdog Millionaire. Finally the Trust has been pressured into have purchasing a 250 sq foot one bedroom apartment, for 10 year-old Azharuddin Mohammed Ismailâs family.
Life has been anything but easy for Azharuddin and Rubina Ali, from the moment they stepped into the limelight of the film set. What should have been a one month job, has completely changed their young lives.
â¢ The father of Azharuddin quarrelled with the movie company when they wanted to send the two stars to America to the award Ceremony. He said the family badly needed the cash instead of the company paying for airfares. Azharuddin's father is a tuberculosis sufferer, while his mother has sight in only one eye â¢ The day following his return from the Awards ceremony in America, Azharuddinâs father was caught on film beating the boy, because he was too exhausted to be put on show any more â¢ Rubina said she no longer wanted to live in the slums, when she returned from America. "It stinks and is full of rubbish". Rubina's home was on top of an open sewer â¢ Azharuddin's family were evicted from their slum shack only two months later and forced to live underneath a makeshift plastic tarpaulin â¢ Just last month the area where Azharuddin's family lived, was cleared by baton wielding policemen, prior to the bulldozers moving in to demolish the area. The police said they did not know the stars lived in the area and the government stated the families were squatting on government owned land. Besides that the city needed to do a pre-monsoon clean up. â¢ Next the 'Barby Doll Pink' painted shack that Rubina Ali's family lived in was destroyed by city authorities, to make way for a pedestrian flyover â¢ The municipality authorities had promised the families of the stars would be given new apartments. Both families firmly rejected the offer, saying the government flats were too far away from their neighbours and school. The families have lived in the sewer-ridden Mumbai slums for three generations â¢ In an undercover sting operation Rubina was saved from being sold by her father and uncle, for US$400,000. This would have made her father a multi-millionaire in Indian rupees.
The Trust is now looking around for a new home for Rubina Ali's family. "Everything is here in Mumbai if you have the money", said Rafiq Qureshi, Rubina's father. "If you really want to buy us a house, you can buy us a house in two days".
The producer and director of Slumdog Millionaire claim they have donated $474,500 to charity to help other slum kids in Mumbai.
The question has to be asked, how is it that the homes of both young stars were destroyed within weeks of each other? Is it because the local authorities are embarrassed by the living conditions of the young film stars, as journalists and tourists, from all over the globe, continue to track the pair down?
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