‘Slumdog Millionaire’ child star Rubina Ali’s slum home is destroyed too

At nine years old, Rubina Ali has already lived an extremely complicated life. Ali is one of the Mumbai slum-dwelling children cast in what would become the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire, but her burgeoning film career is the only bright spot in her life. The Associated Press (story via US Weekly) is reporting that the slum home Rubina Ali shares with her father and her step-mother has been demolished by the government. Much like Rubina’s costar Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail’s home was destroyed last week.

To catch up, yes Rubina Ali is the same little girl that The News of the World alleged was being sold off by her father and her uncle. After an investigation by the Indian authorities, Rubina’s father was not charged. Rahim Shaikh, the senior police inspector in Mumbai area where Rubina’s family lived, told the press “There is not any crime. The matter is closed… No money changed hands. Rubina is here.” After that, Rubina still lives with him. Or she did before their home was destroyed.

Less than a week after the Mumbai slum home of one Slumdog Millionaire child star was demolished, the home of another’s was torn down, the Associated Press reports.

Rubina Ali lost her home Wednesday when Mumbai authorities demolished part of a city slum where she lived with her stepmother and father.

Munni Qureshi — the stepmother of 9-year-old Rubina — said her husband was beaten by police who were supervising the demolition. She said he was taken to a hospital with minor injuries.

Dozens of police with bamboo batons walked around the alley near where their house is located and supervised demolition crews of young men, who used sledgehammers and metal rods to tear down the homes.

“I’m feeling bad,” Rubina told The Associated Press. “My house had been demolished. I’m thinking about where to sleep.”

Rubina’s costar in the Oscar-winning film, Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, lost his home last Thursday after it too was demolished by city authorities.

The 10-year-old boy was asleep when a police officer woke him up and told him to leave his family’s home, he said. Shortly after that, the shack — among the 30 shanties on land that was owned by the government — were destroyed.

Officials — who insist only illegally built shanties were bulldozed — tell the AP that Azhar’s family will be given a new home elsewhere.

Slumdog producers have said that they’ve done their best to help out the film’s struggling young stars. They donated $742,000 to set up a five-year, healthcare and education program for the children. They also have created the Jai Ho Trust.

[From US Weekly]

The destruction of slum homes is nothing new in Mumbai, and the only surprise to me is that none of the Slumdog Millionaire children have been moved into the apartments they were promised. The producers announced The Jai Ho Trust, with money being given to the child stars’ families specifically for housing, health care and education. Allegedly, a social worker in India was even hired to oversee the trust and the welfare of the children. What in the world is going on?

Here are photos of Azhar after his home was destroyed. Rubina is shown signing autographs on 5/15/09. Credit: BARM/Fame Pictures. Header photo of Rubina and Azhar at the Oscars credit: WENN.com

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15 Responses to “‘Slumdog Millionaire’ child star Rubina Ali’s slum home is destroyed too”

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  1. Carrie says:

    Saint Brad and Saint Angelina want to save the children of the world. Why are they not helping these kids??!!!

  2. I think all of this Jai Ho Trust is a bunch of mess. The producers aren’t doing anything for those kids. They used them and now they’re done with them. All we can do is pray for them now.

  3. Massmedia says:

    It’s great news how the poor kids become worldwide heroes!

  4. Annie says:

    Had to bring up the Jolie-Pitts?


    This is getting really sad, my initial stance was that the producers were trying their best but come on? Both kids houses have been completely destroyed?

    You’ve made millions because of their performances and they get to sleep with absolutely no coverage? Wow.

  5. Aleksa says:

    This is heartbreaking…

  6. alecto says:

    Where are all the people that were slaming me for defending the little girls father when he was accused of trying to sell her? The ones that said that it wasn’t the producers job to take care of these children? Where are you?

  7. Lou says:

    I will never watch a movie directed or produced by those greedy bastards. How much did the kids get out of the millions the movie producers made?
    This is beyond disgusting.
    Don’t rent slumdog.

  8. rocket says:

    Please someone help these small kids great actors from Mumbai, they deserve better in life than what they are going through right now.

    I would give a donation but I’m unemployed right now, but at least I have a roof over my head.

    God Bless anyone who can help these poor talented souls.

  9. Mairead says:

    Well, alecto, I don’t know about anyone else – but I’m here. What is your point? Personally I’m cautious of swallowing every single report that comes from this story because the details change constantly.

    We don’t know what’s happening out of the media spotlight. Perhaps the production company has completely stopped all payments to the families and to the trust. Perhaps they have found the bureaucracy too much to deal with. Perhaps they don’t give a rats bollocks. Or perhaps it’s more complicated than we think?

    One very tenuous comparison that comes to mind is the set of Ryan’s Daughter. That was built on commonage land for the film. David Lean was all for leaving it intact for the people of the area to use as a tourist attraction; but with the one stipulation that it cause no argument or complaints that one family was benefiting more than the other. Well, human nature being what it was, it did begin a lot of strife so David Lean gave the order to demolish it – only the school-house remains.

    But more to the point where is the Indian government who also said that because of how proud they were of the children that they would rehouse them in a flat? Surely their own government has more of a responsibility to them than an entertainment company from the other side of the world?

  10. RAN says:

    I have to disagree with your last comment, Mai. I would see this as everyone from that film having made a tremendous amount of money – especially the producers and directors – except for those children. Those kids were plucked from the slums of India without an agent and without any knowledge of they type of money everyone else was getting. For that reason, they were probably paid a pitiful amount of money to perform in the movie that made millions of dollars and won numerous accolades. The fact that no one from the entertainment company has attempted to balance their rip off and abuse of these children is pathetic and disgraceful.

    In India, a man who makes $50k a year is considered rich. If these children were paid even the minimum salary in the entertainment industry, they would be well off in India. It’s obvious from their living conditions that they’ve been used and tossed aside.

  11. JackieSA says:

    Carrie: What do the Jolie-Pitts have to do with these children? What a daft thing to say! This movie has made millions and some of the money should be going to these children.

  12. Mairead says:

    @ RAN. To clarify, I said that I don’t know what’s happening behind the scenes to let this situation get to this point. But I do think that a government has a duty of care to its citizens, which is over and above anything an entertainment company has.

    Out of curiosity, where did you find out what everyone else who appeared on the film was being paid? Are we relying on the assumption that the established actors got UK Equity rates, or the Indian equivalent and that we’re hoping that their agents were savvy enough to secure a clause guaranteeing a share of future profits?

    If this is not the case – should we not also be grumbling that more money should be given to Dev and Frieda at least as their part in the film was even more pivotal? (Ok, I’m being a bit facetious, but their parts were bigger)

    I let my subscription to IMDb Pro lapse ages ago so I can’t check it through there.

  13. RAN says:

    Hi Mairead, I’m only making assumptions based on what my Indian friends tell me about wealth and status in India. Even if those kids were paid a nominal amount of money by U.S. standards, and even if the money went to the parent’s and not the children, there should STILL be enough money from this movie and residuals, for them to live decently for a little while. I don’t see that happening – in fact I just see desperate poverty. While I completely agree that the government should be held accountable for the terrible level of poverty, these kids should have made enough money to improve living conditions.
    That’s what brings me to the probable lack of decent agents for these kids. From where I’m sitting, it doesn’t look like anyone took care of the children’s best interests.

  14. RAN says:

    Hi Mairead…I’ll respond to you as soon as I’m released from the moderation monster. :)

  15. Mairead says:

    You defeated the monster – yay!

    I see where you’re coming from, and unfortunately I daresay you’re right.