‘Slumdog’ kids have a whale of a time

February 23rd, 2009 - 10:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Slumdog MillionaireLos Angeles, Feb 23 (IANS) The six kids who played the youngest and middle versions of the main characters in Oscar-smash hit “Slumdog Millionaire” are loving it as they have a whale of a time in Los Angeles.
Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail and Rubina Ali from the slums of Mumbai as also Ayush Mahesh Khedekar, Tanay Chheda, Ashutosh Lobo Gajiwala and Tanvi Ganesh Lonkar were flown to the US for Hollywood’s biggest awards night by Fox Searchlight.

By all accounts, they have been having the time of their lives. For some, it was not only their first trip out of the country, but also their first time on an airplane.

Once in LA, the children were put up in a plush hotel, where they were issued standard awards-night gear: tuxes, dresses and shoes, all made to measure.

The plan is to stay in the US for two days of sightseeing after the ceremony, with a visit to Disneyland to follow a trip that has already been made to Hollywood’s Universal Studios.

There was Rubina Ali, 9, beaming proudly from a huddle with her “Slumdog Millionaire” co-stars on the world’s most glamorous stage, as they walked the red carpet before the show Sunday.

Rubina wore a pale blue short dress and white ballet flats, with henna decorating her arms and staining her fingernails. The boys wore child-size tuxedos and Lonkar wore a pale mauve dress.

The smiling kids bubbled with enthusiasm, and the crowd reflected it all back, with bleacher fans cheering them and veteran actors noting their presence.

“It’s fantastic. It’s beyond our dreams,” said Tanay Chheda, who played the “middle” age protagonist Jamal, as he glanced around at the gaggle of famous faces jamming the long red carpet.

The group chattered happily away to reporters sticking microphones and cameras in their smiling faces. Asked by one to show off their dance moves, they eagerly complied, with Tanay Chheda proclaiming: “All Indians can dance.”

They frequently talked over each other, but all agreed they want to be in more movies. Lonkar admitted she hoped to meet Tom Cruise and tell him: “Hi, I’m your biggest fan.”

It may well be difficult to readjust to life at home once their American sojourn is over. But then again, the sights and sounds the ‘Slumdog’ children are currently experiencing will probably be happy memories for a lifetime.

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