During the time that Slumdog Millionaire meteorically rose from its initial distributor-less roots to its Oscar-winning heights, there were approximately 9,000 unsuccessful attempts to start a backlash that would take the film down. However, now that interest has waned in chastising Danny Boyle and his producing partners for supposedly exploiting the film's youngest cast members, the insatiable British tabloid industry has found itself a new angle by which they can keep this nonstory going: the largely reprehensible News of the World is gonna try to buy Rubina Ali!
This is hardly the first time that the News of the World has gone to nefarious lengths in an attempt to craft a story; you might recall their involvement in the infamous "Heath Ledger Doing Cocaine!" video (which didn't actually show Ledger doing any cocaine) or their "Amy Winehouse Doing Cocaine!" video (which was about as grainy as your grandparents' Super-8s). However, this time around, they decided to forgo the lucrative "celebrities doing cocaine" business and instead focus their efforts on the human-trafficking industry.
If you haven't already heard the story by now, we'll give you the briefest of summaries: After allegedly hearing rumors that the father of Rubina Ali, the 9-year-old girl from the first segment of Slumdog that captured the hearts of moviegoers worldwide, was looking to try and get some money for his family by offering Rubina up for adoption, the NOTW sent an undercover journalist posing as the representative of a wealthy Arab shiek to negotiate with Rafiq Qureshi (Rubina's aforementioned dad). While the initial price tag was allegedly set at £50,000, during negotiations the offering price increased all the way to £200,000. Of course, a deal never came to fruition.
As you might expect, Qureshi found himself in quite a bit of hot water and has already issued a statement denying that the meeting went down the way that the News of the World said it did. Furthermore, the equally unreliable British tabloid the Sun is reporting that there were significant language barriers between Qureshi and the plants sent in by NOTW — who didn't speak Hindi — and that Rubina's father thought they were negotiating for an acting job of some sort.
So, who do we believe here? Unfortunately, neither camp seems to possess anything even remotely resembling a stellar reputation. We'd have a lot more faith in the NOTW report if they closed their piece by saying that they were turning over tapes/videos of the conversation to the proper authorities back in India, but, just as you might expect, that's not happening. And it's not like you can put your faith in the Sun, either, because they have a significant amount to gain by smearing their competitor's exclusive. All we know for certain at this point is that we feel excruciatingly sorry for poor little Rubina Ali, who's being used as a pawn by seemingly everyone who has entered her life since Slumdog made her a star.
This child is special, an Oscar child. Now we want £200K [News of the World]
Surely Slum mistake [Sun UK]