Little Rubina Ali, the youngest Latika in Slumdog Millionaire, will return from her star-studded visit to the US and walk right into a real-life drama.
As the 10-year-old was hobnobbing with A-list movie stars at the Oscars and visiting Disneyland, her biological mother was slugging it out with her stepmother in the family’s Bandra slum home, over the spoils of her sudden fame.
Biological mother Khushi Qureshi says stepmother Munni is claiming undue credit for Rubina’s success. “Now that Rubina has become a celebrity, this woman is claiming to be her mother. It was my mother-in-law who raised them,” she said.
Khushi left her carpenter husband Rafiq Qureshi and their three children five years ago and now lives in Navi Mumbai. She denies that she has resurfaced to bask in the child’s success, adding that Rubina must share her good fortune with her siblings.
On Monday afternoon, as the Garib Nagar slum was celebrating the film’s eight Oscar wins, Khushi came looking for her daughter, says neighbour Yakub Abdul Sheikh. A row began and neighbours had to step in and separate the two.
Khushi says the disagreement was not over money. “I’m very happy for my daughter,” she says. “I don’t want anything... I left Rafiq because of his wayward behaviour and returned occasionally to ask about the children. I even went for Rubina’s film shoots.”
There are fears that the bitterness will escalate now that Rubina is getting a flat from the state government.