Danny Boyle, the Oscar-winning director of Slumdog Millionaire, has balked at fresh demands from the families of two child stars of the film — including requests for a new car and more money for apartments — and threatened to give the money instead to charitable causes.
Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail and Rubina Ali, who played younger versions of the main characters in the rags-to-riches blockbuster, have asked for more money, saying that the funds allocated to them so far are not enough to live in the style to which they have become accustomed.
JAI HO TRUST
Boyle and the film’s producer, Christian Colson, had set up the Jai Ho Trust to manage the interests of the children, who will be able to access the funds after they graduate.
The pair also allocated the children 2.5 million rupees (US$53,000) for new apartments after their makeshift homes were torn down as part of Mumbai’s slum clearance drive.
Boyle left India last week after a round of negotiations that failed to resolve the deadlock. He had made it clear that he considered their education to be a priority.
But the families said no suitable apartments could be found. They are demanding 4 million rupees and new cars.
The Hindustan Times reported that a spokesman for the family asked: “Where is the swimming pool and the bungalow?”
The trust said the demands were disappointing.
Noshir Dadrawala, a spokesman for the trust, said: “We believe that the children are being badly advised. There are properties available located in nearby suburbs. We have made many attempts to settle this but now Danny has said that if they don’t agree by January, then the money will be given to other charities.”
There have also been allegations that the children were skipping school.
Azhar’s mother, Shameen Ismail, said her son had played truant because he was inconsolable after his father died in September from tuberculosis.