An Oscar-winning film, an autobiography that has earned her an estimated 70,000 euros in royalty, and new assignments that don’t stop bringing in money. At 12, Slumdog Millionaire star Rubina Ali may well be rolling in money and success, but the child actor feels that her life in the Dharavi slums — her residence — is a tragedy. Reason: she feels “unsafe” and “sad” here.
“She is almost a teenager now and has started feeling awkward in her surrounding. Her celebrity status makes her all the more conspicuous there and she feels eyed and watched all the time. She should not be living there. She has demands that cannot be fulfilled there. The other day she asked me to arrange for dance classes for her. How do I do that in a slum?” says Rubina’s spokesperson Dinesh Dubey.
Dubey adds that even though a budget of Rs 35 lakh has been allotted to her for a house by the Jai Ho Trust, they haven’t able to find one in Bandra, in that amount. “Rubina has started complaining about her surroundings. She is 12 and feels unsafe in the slums. Recently, someone stole her cell phone, and now her father refuses to get her a new one.”
Rubina’s Slumdog Millionaire co-star Azharuddin too hasn’t shifted to his allotted flat for similar reasons. Now, he says he gets tired commuting for one and a half hours from the slum to his school.
But, work goes on for the two child actors unhindered. In December, they begin shooting for Martin Pennel’s Lord Owen’s Lady with Hollywood star Anthony Hopkins. “The children will travel to London for the shoot and will be paid Rs 20,41,633 each, besides their sundry allowances.”
Says Azharuddin, “I am doing the film in December after I finish the film I am working on now. I have been told that Anthony Hopkins is a very big star and will be very warm to us.”