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'Slumdog' actor moves from Mumbai slum to apartment

July 05, 2009|Reuters

MUMBAI, INDIA — A child star of the Oscar-winning movie "Slumdog Millionaire" moved into his new home Saturday in a Mumbai suburb, a far cry from the shanty by the railway tracks that had been his family's dwelling.

Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, 9, played the youngest Salim in British director Danny Boyle's rags-to-riches film about a slum dweller who ends up on a TV game show.

His eyes bright and a big smile plastered on his face, Ismail showed off his new apartment in Vile Parle to guests.

"I like it here, it is really nice. But I will miss my old friends back in Bandra. Maybe I will go and visit them once a while," he said.

Azharuddin and his family moved into a one-bedroom, 250-square-foot apartment with electricity and running water. It is a short drive from the posh suburb of Juhu.

The Jai Ho Trust, named for an Oscar-winning track from the film and set up by the producers, bought the $42,000 apartment on the child's behalf and will give it to him when he turns 18. His earlier dwelling, a tarpaulin and sheet hut, was unauthorized and was demolished by authorities in May.

"We have lived on the road for so many years. I had never dreamed that we would have a roof over our heads," said Azharuddin's mother, Shameem. The Jai Ho Trust is looking for a house for Azharuddin's co-star Rubina Ali, who still lives in a slum with her family.

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