Azharuddin Ismail’s parents put his success down to Allah. “It’s God will that he went to the Oscars. Even good people don’t get to go. I am very happy that my son is so famous,” said mother Shameem Ismail (45), who accompanied Azhar to the Oscars.
This week, the Mumbai Housing and Area Develop-ment Authority recommended that flats be given to the slum child artistes but Shameem said she did not know if it was true. “I don’t like living here. We have left everything to God’s Will,” she said.
But if they did move out, she would still return to the Garib Nagar slum. “My life has been here till now. I am happy the area is getting recognised.”
Crammed into a tiny room of the nearby Sangam Hotel with a few journalists, Azharuddin, who hours earlier had been living it up in a five-star hotel, was getting ready to return to sleeping on the ground in his family’s makeshift home. “I am not happy about living in a slum. I would rather stay in a flat,” he said. “I will pray my other slum friends get a good home too.”
He said he had been besieged for autographs on the aeroplane and now planned to be film star. “I will study first and then act,” he said.
“Salman Khan is my favourite star but I want to make it bigger than him. I want to work with heroines like Katrina Kaif. I liked Los Angeles but I would rather live in India as I’m Indian.”
“I missed my dad, my teachers and my slum friends. My friends are proud of me for becoming a hero. They are not jealous.”