MUMBAI, India – One of the impoverished child stars from “Slumdog Millionaire” will move from his shanty home in one of Mumbai’s more wretched slums into a new apartment next week, his mother said Sunday.
“On Friday we got the keys,” said Shameem Ismail, the mother of child star Azharuddin Ismail, who played the young Salim in the Oscar-winning hit.
The family started moving in over the weekend, bringing pots and pans, a television set, and their bird cage. They plan to fully relocate by Tuesday, she said.
Both Azhar and his co-star Rubina Ali lost their homes in May after civic authorities demolished parts of the slum where they lived.
Within days of the demolition, Azhar’s family rebuilt their home – a shanty of corrugated metal, wood, and blankets, meagre protection against the pounding monsoon rains sweeping across Mumbai.
But the filmmakers bought Azhar a one-bedroom apartment on the ground floor of a building in the Santa Cruz neighbourhood of Mumbai, not far from where he now lives and attends school.
The $50,000 apartment will be transferred to Azhar’s name when he turns 18, provided he finishes school, said Nirja Mattoo, who helps oversee the Jai Ho trust set up by “Slumdog Millionaire” director Danny Boyle and producer Christian Colson. The fund is meant to secure an education, housing and a living allowance for the two children.
Mattoo said Sunday that the trust is still looking for an apartment for Rubina, who has lived with relatives in the slum since the demolition.
“Slumdog Millionaire” has grossed over $350 million worldwide.