Slumdog Millionaire cheered the Slums

February 24th, 2009 - 4:27 pm ICT by Amrit Rashmisrisethi  

Slum in Bandra
Approximately, 65 million Indians, live in slums, according to government surveys. Health care is often nonexistent,facing inescapable poverty forms the backdrop of everyday life.

‘Slumdog Millionaire’ was hardly a phenomenon with Indian audiences but it had drawn an attention to everyone from the local butcher to the prime minister called the Oscar coup a proud day for the country.

The slum’s first Oscar party turned into a celebration of two hometown heroes, complete with Bollywood dance moves. Every time the big-eyed girl who calls this slum home appeared on TV, her friends will be seen shouting and dancing.

Rubina Ali, 9, was plucked from the tin roof shack she shares with her parents and six siblings in this squalid Mumbai slum to star in ‘Slumdog Millionaire,’ the darling of this year’s Academy Awards. Her friend and neighbor, Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, 10, was also chosen for the film, and both were flown to Los Angeles to watch ‘Slumdog’ nab eight Academy Awards, including the Oscars’ highest honor for best film.

Crowds gathered around the few television sets in the slum and it took barely a minute for word of each award to spread through the slum’s winding lanes.

Azhar lives in a lean-to made of plastic tarpaulins and moldy blankets and Rubina’s home is perched above an ocean of trash. Dirty train tracks and a clogged highway form the slum’s borders.

The Best Director acheievement was awarded to Danny Boyle, and producer Christian Colson decided to help Azhar and Rubina by securing them spots in Aseema, a nonprofit, English-language school in Mumbai.

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