Loved the movie. So I found this disconcerting:
But the reality of life for Rubina Ali and Azharuddin Ismail is far closer to that of the characters they play in the story of love, violent crime and extreme poverty in India.
Yup. Ali earned 500 British pounds ($710) for one year’s work and Ismail earned 1700 pounds ($2414), “less than many Indian domestic servants“:
Both children were found places in a local school and receive £20 a month for books and food. However, they continue to live in grinding poverty and their families say they have received no details of the trust funds set up in their names. Their parents said that they had hoped the film would be their ticket out of the slums, and that its success had made them realise how little their children had been paid.
The children received considerably less than the poor Afghan child stars of The Kite Runner, who embarrassed their Hollywood producers when they disclosed that they had been paid £9,000.
Rubina and Azharuddin live a few hundreds yards from each other in a tangle of makeshift shacks alongside Mumbai’s railway tracks at Bandra. Azharuddin is in fact worse off than he was during filming: his family’s illegal hut was demolished by the local authorities and he now sleeps under a sheet of plastic tarpaulin with his father, who suffers from tuberculosis.
A Fox Searchlight spokesperson said he is “proud” of their treatment and boasted, “For 30 days work, the children were paid three times the average local annual adult salary.”