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Slumdog star is leaving shack for €500k luxury flat

Slumdog Millionaire child star Rubina Ali played a poverty-stricken child in the Oscar-winning film, but the real-life daughter of India's shantytowns now has a small fortune in book and film deals.

The 10-year-old's publisher and a producer said she is already committed to projects worth more than $145,000 (€100,000) and her family could soon move out of the slums and into a new apartment paid for by a trust set up by the film's director, Danny Boyle.

Rubina and her Slumdog co-star Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail (11) both landed roles in the independent film Lord Owen's Lady, a romantic comedy by Dragons Productions (Wales) Ltd, chairman Martin Pennell said.

Mr Pennell said the children will each be paid £1,000 (€1,120) per day, for about 20 days of shooting on location in Dubai and Wales.

He said talks were continuing with actor Anthony Hopkins to play the father of Lord Owen, a reckless heir who falls in love with a beautiful Indian woman.

The children shot to fame after starring in Slumdog, the rags-to-riches blockbuster that won eight Oscars.

Royalties

Rubina played the young Latika, who grows up to become the hero's love interest, and Azhar plays his brother, Salim.

Rubina also received £20,000 (€22,400) as an advance for her autobiography, published in June, and stands to get at least £50,000 (€56,000) more in royalties by April, said Philippe Robinet, publisher at France's Oh! Editions, which first released the book.

Random House released an English version of the 198-page book, which is being translated into 14 languages, as Slumgirl Dreaming.

Mr Robinet said at least 100,000 copies of the book have been sold worldwide so far.

Rubina's royalties will be administered by Afea, L'Association Francaise pour L'Enfance Abandonnee, a French charity for homeless children.

"I strongly hope Rubina could have a better life from this book," Mr Robinet said. "It's not so easy to do."

Slumdog filmmakers also struggled to make a better life for the young stars, encouraging them to get an education by setting aside money for Rubina and Azhar to get when they turn 18 -- provided they finish school.

So far, however, the children's attendance has been miserable, threatening their trust funds.

A trust has nevertheless agreed to buy Rubina a 3.2 million rupee (€480,000) apartment in Bandra, not far from her home.

Her family now lives in an illegal shanty pieced together of bubble-gum pink corrugated metal in the Mumbai slum of Garib Nagar, City of the Poor.

The shack was torn down by civic authorities on December 30 for the second time in eight months -- though the family quickly pieced it back together.

In July, the trust also bought co-star Azhar, who also grew up in Garib Nagar, a 250-square foot apartment.

hnews@herald.ie


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