Police investigate sale of Slumdog star

Fight breaks out between mother and stepmother of young Slumdog Millionaire actor

In a scene worthy of the hit movie, a street fight broke out between the stepmother and natural mother of Rubina Ali, the young star of Slumdog Millionaire, in Mumbai on Monday.

It came as police began investigating a claim by the News of the World newspaper that Rubina’s father had offered to sell her for £200,000. The women slapped each other in front of television crews after Rubina’s father, Rafiq Qureshi, was secretly filmed negotiating a sale price for his daughter.

He denied the allegations. He claims that footage of him was tampered with, that he said he loved his daughter and would never dream of selling her.
 
It is the latest controversy to hit the film Slumdog Millionaire, which won eight Oscars at this year’s Academy Awards and has grossed £220 million at the box office. The two child stars, Azharuddin Ismail and Rubina, have since been trapped between the glamour of Hollywood and the bleak poverty of their slums.

First came claims by their parents that they had been exploited, while several local agents and middlemen have also tried to cash in on their celebrity. Azharuddin still sleeps under a canvas tarpaulin and Rubina still lives in a slum overlooking a drain, despite her appearance at the Oscars and starring with Nicole Kidman in a recent commercial.

According to the newspaper that filmed the alleged attempted sale, Rubina’s father told them the family had not benefited from the film appearance and were still poverty-stricken.

No doubt, the latest controversy surrounding the film’s two genuine slum-dwelling child actors will be a further headache for director and producer Danny Boyle and Christian Colson, who had hoped they would be able to live a quiet life and continue their schooling when interest in the film faded.

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