Eleven-year-old Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail starred in 2008′s Oscar-winner for Best Picture, but he did not live inside a home with an indoor toilet.
Yes, the young actor who played young Salim in “Slumdog Millionaire,” grew up actually in the dirty and chaotic Mumbai slums depicted in the film and saw his home bulldozed by the government without warning last May.
But his housing situation improved yesterday when little Azhar moved into a one-bedroom apartment in Mumbai, near where he attends school. “Slumdog”‘s director, Danny Boyle, and producer Christian Colson, purchased the new pad with money from the Jai Ho Trust, which was set up for Azhar and 9-year-old Rubiana Ali, who played young Latika. Boyle will transfer ownership of the apartment into Azhar’s name when he turns 18 if he stays in school. [Telegraph]
The box office success of “Slumdog Millionaire” contrasted with the poverty of the film’s youngest stars has always left an uncomfortable taste in people’s mouths, especially considering the story of the “Slumdog” kids has been nothing but heart-wrenching drama. (After returning from the Oscars ceremony in L.A, this February, Azhar’s dad slapped and kicked him in front of neighbors when the little boy wanted to rest instead of mingle. Then Rubiana’s father allegedly tried to sell her, prompting her mother and stepmother to get into a fistfight.) We’re grateful, though, that the director and producer of the film are choosing to do good by the kids!