Slumdog child star Azhar gets new home but with a rider Thursday, Jun 11 2009 

Mumbai: The makers of the hit movie Slumdog Millionaire have bought a new home for one of the two child stars discovered in Mumbai’s slums.

Both children lost their homes last month when authorities demolished parts of their slum. The purchase of a 250-square-foot (23-square-meter) one-bedroom apartment for the family of Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, 10, was completed Monday, said Nirja Mattoo, who helps oversee the Jai Ho trust set up by the filmmakers to help Azharuddin and his 9-year-old co-star Rubina Ali.

“They can move in,” Mattoo told The Associated Press on Wednesday.”I’m just waiting for their consent.” Ownership of the tiny apartment, which cost about 25 lakh Indian rupees ($50,000), will be transferred from the trust to Azharuddin when he turns 18, provided he completes school, Mattoo said.

“He has to complete an education. We are very clear about that,” she said. She declined to say what would happen to the property if he does not finish school. The apartment is located in Santa Cruz West, a suburb of Mumbai just north of the slum where the two children now live.Mattoo said the trust is actively looking for a new home for Rubina.

The government has also started the process of giving both children apartments, and the family of Azharuddin, known as Azhar, hopes to get both, his mother said. “After Azhar is grown up, he can stay in one,” said Shameem Ismail. “Me and my husband can stay in the other. Both houses are small.”

On Tuesday, Azhar’s family toured the apartment the government has offered them in Malvani, on the northern outskirts of Mumbai. Ismail described the flat as “small but good.””The only problem is it’s far away from Azhar’s school,” she said.

Azhar said he likes both houses. “I’ll take my friends to visit,” he said, squatting with two friends in front of his shanty roasting jackfruit seeds in a fire built from old newspapers and sticks. The boys said they’d miss him.

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Another ‘Slumdog’ Child Star’s Home Torn Down Wednesday, May 20 2009 


MUMBAI, India  —  The shanty home of another “Slumdog Millionairechild star was torn down by Mumbai authorities Wednesday as they demolished part of city’s slum where she lived.

Munni Qureshi, the stepmother of 9-year-old Rubina Ali who played the film’s heroine Latika in the Oscar-winning film, said her husband was beaten by police who were supervising the demolition. She said he was taken to a hospital with minor injuries. “Slumdog Millionaire” won eight Oscars and brought in more than $326 million, but it has done little so far to improve the lives of the film’s two impoverished child stars, Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail and Rubina.

Last week bulldozers demolished Azhar’s home in a similar cleanup drive. He lived in a different part of the same slum. Rubina and Azhar were discovered on the Mumbai streets by the filmmakers. The film’s adult stars, Dev Patel and Freida Pinto, have since shot to international fame. The lives of the two poor child stars — who live in the slum called Garib Nagar, or the “city of the poor” — haven’t changed much.

“I’m feeling bad,” Rubina told The Associated Press. “My house had been demolished. I’m thinking about where to sleep.” Dozens of police with bamboo batons walked around the alley where Rubina’s house is located. “How can the police barge in any time without giving us notice,” Qureshi said, as she wept holding her forehead. Neighbors poured water over her to keep her cool as she sat in the scorching summer sun with Rubina.