There’s been a lot of controversy surrounding the children who were featured in “Slumdog Millionaire”, one of the most popular and celebrated films of last year grossing more than $340 million worldwide.

A little while ago, the father of one of those outrageously cute and innocent children was accused of trying to sell his child like some sort of commodity. Slumdog director Danny Boyle was accused of exploiting the already poor kids, which he has strongly denied. It’s been in the news for a while.

To ease some of the tension, the film’s makers set up education funds for the children and donated nearly $800,000 to a Mumbai charity that aids slum-dwelling children in Mumbai, India’s cultural hub.

But many of kids featured in the film, though just a small fraction of India’s immense poverty-stricken landscape, still live the slums.

This morning I was trolling the online news world as has become a routine for me. I usually come across at least one story that really, really interests me and that’s the one I choose to relay on to the faithful readers here at Blast.

So when I was reading BBC news I came across an article about the child actor Azzharuddin Mohammed Ismail, who played the youngest version of Salim in Slumdog, and his family.

His home, located just outside a Mumbai slum, is comprised of just plastic sheets supported by long bamboo sticks. It was torn down recently by the city to make room for a “public garden.” They said his family were squatters and were living there illegally.

“We are homeless, we have nowhere to go” said Azharuddin. He told BBC that he was sleeping when the demolition group, funded by the city, came and ripped his house apart, apparently giving his family no advance notice.

What’s really sad is Azharuddin and his co-star Rubina Ali, who played the youngest Latika in the film, were both apparently promised housing by local housing authorities. However, a decision on whether or not to actually honor their word is still pending.

Azzharuddin’s mother, Shamim Ismail, said that the promises made to her by the housing authorities and the film’s makers had not yet materialized. She also, according to BBC, vocalized a serious doubt that the promises would ever be fulfilled.

This would be a good time for Boyle and the studio to step in and help these two families. The film, in addition to its eight Oscars, made more than $340 million at the box office. Add rentals and purchases to that and the thing is a powerhouse that cost very little to make. And while the contributions that Boyle and the studio have made are formidable and noble, they need to swing more than just $800,000 and some educations funds the kids’ way. It wasn’t their responsibility to help the kids until they were put in front of a camera.

Now it’s very important that they do.

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About The Author

Sachin Seth is the Blast Magazine world news reporter. He writes the Terra blog. You can visit his website at or follow him on twitter @sachinseth

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