Bollywood film union to help slum stars | entertainment | Hindustan Times
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Bollywood film union to help slum stars

Bollywood’s biggest union is set to hand over more than Rs 2 lakh to help the two slum stars in Oscar hit Slumdog Millionaire, reports Naomi Canton.

entertainment Updated: Mar 06, 2009 00:23 IST
Naomi Canton

Bollywood’s biggest union is set to hand over more than Rs 2 lakh to help the two slum stars in Oscar hit Slumdog Millionaire.

Dinesh Chaturvedi, general secretary of the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE), told HT they were also willing to make the two children Rubina Ali and Azharuddin Ismail (pic) honorary members of the union.

FWICE is the main union representing Bollywood workers. It has 1,43,000 members and is the umbrella union for 22 smaller unions.

Both children are untrained actors, who were picked out of the slums of Garib Nagar, Bandra (East) by a child coordinator Parvez, to act as main characters in the film.

Despite the film winning eight Oscars and raking in more than Rs 800 crore, they are both still living in dire conditions.

Chaturvedi said: “We want to take them on as honorary members as we are really conscious their living conditions are very bad. So far our members have pledged Rs 2.5 lakh for them.

“The reason Azharuddin’s father beat him must have been out of frustration as the film has got so much international acclaim and the money isn’t there.” Ismail’s former tin shack home was knocked down a few months ago. His family now lives in a tent. Mohammed (65), his father, who earns Rs 100 a day selling old wood, said he had already spent the Rs 1.3 lakh Azharuddin earned on food.

Rubina lives in a tin shack off the railway track and her father Rafiq Qureshi, who has a fractured leg, said he had spent her film wages of Rs 35,000 on medical treatment.