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Slumdog Millionaire Backlash Intensifies

Grown-up slumdogs Dev Patel and Freida Pinto may get more media attention these days, but it was Slumdog Millionaire's adorable child actors who won our hearts by diving in poop and playing on the tops of train cars. So why were Rubina Ali and Azharuddin Ismail (who played younger versions of Latika and Salim) paid only $700 and $2,300, respectively, for their services? An excellent question!

"There is none of the money left," Ismail's father told the Telegraph yesterday. "It was all spent on medicines to help me fight TB." Slumdog's makers have reportedly set up trust funds for the young stars and paid for their educations, as well as arranged temporary housing for them and their families until current controversies blow over. But with worldwide box-office approaching $86 million and the film scheduled to win Best Picture at the Oscars next month, we don't expect that to be anytime soon.

Also, real-life slumdogs upset over the movie's title have been protesting in front of Indian movie theaters. "We will burn Danny Boyle's effigies in 56 slums here," says the general secretary of a slum dwellers rights group. One critic took a slightly more reasonable tack, though — Nicolas Almeida, a slum-dweller himself, named a pack of stray dogs after the movie's director, producers, and stars: "I have named them Danny, Christian, Loveleen, Dev and Freida," he tells Reuters. Problem solved.

Slumdog child stars miss out on the movie millions [Telegraph]
Protests at Indian cinemas over Slumdog Millionaire [Guardian]
Mumbai "Slumdog" critic names dogs after film makers [Reuters]

Photo: Courtesy of Fox Searchlight