Where IS the child actor of Oscar-nominated Slumdog Millionaire Mohammed Azharuddin?
This question is boggling both the police and former corporator Nicholas Almeida, who filed an application at the Nirmal Nagar police station on Tuesday alleging that “the people behind the movie may be involved in the disappearance of some key people as they would have caused problem in the investigation”.
Almeida had filed a defamation case against the producer, director and distributor of the film objecting the use of the word ‘Slumdog’ in the movie title two weeks ago.
Eight-year-old Azharuddin, who essayed the role of young Salim in Slumdog Millionaire which recently bagged Golden Globe awards, and his mother Shaim (45) have been “missing” since Monday, claimed Almeida.
Almeida said he had last seen the boy at the Vile Parle police station on Monday morning. “I had gone there to record my statement as the court had directed the Vile Parle police to probe into the defamation case,” he said, adding that Azharuddin too had come there to record his statement.
“Later when I went to the slums in Behrampada in Bandra (East) to talk to the other children who had worked in the film I did not find Azharuddin. I told his aunt that I would return in the evening to meet him,” added Almeida.
In his complaint, the former corporator claimed that when he went to Azharuddin’s hut on Monday night, the neighbours told him that earlier in the day some people had come and asked the mother-son duo to accompany them to a place near the Bandra court.
The duo never returned since, Almeida said.
However, the police claim that Azharuddin and his mother have left their hut “because they were harassed by Almeida”.
“Almeida used to visit them every day and ask about the money the boy had earned. Harassed, they could have gone somewhere else. We are looking for them,” said Inspector Raheem Sheikh.
Almeida refuted the police claim. “On Tuesday, I even visited the tuberculosis hospital in Sewri where Azharuddin’s father Mohammed Ismail (65) has been admitted. But he too has no clue about their whereabouts,” he said. “I waited till evening for them to return home. But when they didn’t, I approached the police.”