"Slumdog" child star moves into new Mumbai home

Sat Jul 4, 2009 6:34am EDT
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By Shilpa Jamkhandikar

MUMBAI (Reuters) - A child star of the Oscar-winning movie "Slumdog Millionaire" moved into his new home in an upmarket Mumbai suburb Saturday, a far cry from his family's former dwelling -- a shanty by the railway tracks.

Azharuddin Ismail, 9, played the youngest Salim in British director Danny Boyle's rags-to-riches film about a slum dweller trying his luck on a TV gameshow.

His eyes bright and a big smile plastered on his face, Ismail showed off his new home to guests.

"I like it here, it is really nice. But I will miss my old friends back in Bandra. Maybe I will go and visit them once a while," a grinning Ismail told Reuters as he pranced around the house.

Ismail and his family moved into the 250 square foot (25 sq meter) ground floor flat, which is in a modern building complex, with electricity and running water. It is a short drive away from Juhu, a suburb home to some of India's most famous film stars.

The Jai Ho Trust, named after the film's award-winning track and set up by the producers, bought the $42,000 home on Ismail's behalf and will give it to him when he turns 18.

Ismail's earlier dwelling, a tarpaulin and sheet hut, was demolished by the civic authorities in May as it was illegal.

Pictures of Ismail and a child co-star picking through the debris of their old homes caused uproar in Mumbai, where more than half its 17-million population is homeless.   Continued...

<p>Azharuddin Ismail (C), who acted as young Salim in Danny Boyle's Oscar-winning movie "Slumdog Millionaire", interacts with his relatives after moving into his new house at a residential complex in Mumbai July 4, 2009. The "Jai Ho" trust, named after the film's award-winning track, and set up by Boyle and producer Christian Colson, is meant to pay for the education and basic living costs of Ismail and co-star Rubina Ali until they turn 18. A director for the trust said the apartment for Ismail was "comfortable, in a good neighbourhood (and) near his school" and cost "upwards of 2 million rupees" ($42,000). REUTERS/Punit Paranjpe</p>