From the Oscars to Cannes, life continues to be a dream run for Mumbai boy Ayush Khedekar, who burst on the global scene as the youngest Jamal Malik in Danny Boyle's smash hit Slumdog Millionaire and subsequently walked the Oscar red carpet as the film swept Hollywood's most coveted awards.
While his co-actors Rubina Ali and Azharuddin Ismail, who played the youngest Latika and Salim in "Slumdog Millionaire", have returned to the slums of Mumbai and run into a spate of personal troubles and controversies, Ayush, who belongs to a far less deprived background, is pushing for greater glory.
The young actor was on the Cannes red carpet for the screening of British veteran Ken Loach's Eric Cantona-starrer "Looking for Eric". Ayush, who arrived Sunday, is in Cannes for a five-day pre-production promotional binge for his next, a Swiss film titled "Shyam's Secret".
Co-produced by Deborah Mangola of Mangola Films along with partners in France and India, the Swiss film is set to roll in Goa Oct 9.
The start date has been determined reportedly in response to a precondition laid down by Ayush's father, Bombay Port Trust employee Mahesh Khedekar, that the boy would be available to the crew only during his Diwali vacation.
Ayush, incidentally, has acting in his genes. His father dabbled in Marathi theatre before opting for a more stable government job.
"Shyam's Secret", co-starring Kabir Bedi and Nisha Harale-Bedi, is an adventure tale about an eight-year-old European girl who arrives in India and befriends an enigmatic Indian boy, played by Ayush. According to producer Deborah Mangola, the film will be made in French and English.
Ayush came across as a true-blue pro when he strode up the imposing stairs of the Theatre Grand Lumiere here. He was suitably clad for the occasion, complete with a black tuxedo and bow-tie.
He had two unidentified ladies for company as the diminutive boy posed for the shutterbugs. He has clearly mastered the art of walking the red carpet.