Enter song title:

Monday, March 02, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire child star Azharuddin Ismail has fallen ill as fears grow about the psychological state of the two young Indian actors.

Azhar, 10, spent the weekend vomiting and has developed a temperature of 103 degrees since returning home last week after travelling to the Oscars with co-star Rubina Ali, 9.

He has been prescribed antibiotics by doctors, who said he is suffering from fever and exhaustion, but his condition has continued to worsen.

Azhar's neighbours have also rallied round to build an 8ft by 5ft metal structure for him to sleep under out of the sun.

The families of the two child stars have said their children are not readjusting to life back in the slums after five days of glitz and glamour in Los Angeles.

Mother Shameem Ismail said: "It has all become too much for him. He is very ill and has not recovered from going to America and all the media interest since we got back."

Rubina's father Rafiq Qureshi said. "Getting used to life back here in the slum again is proving tough for her and she has not wanted to see her friends since she got back. She just wants to spend all her time away from the slum now and I just hope we get the flat that has been promised to us.":

Both the Mumbai housing authority and Slumdog's producer Christian Colson have said they are going to provide proper flats for the two families. However, as yet the families have been told nothing and remain in the deprived slum.

Azhar, cuddling his new pet guinea pig, said: "I am very sad. I feel sleepy, hot and sick all the time. I can't get to sleep here – there are too many mosquitoes and it is so hot. I just wish I was in America still."

Having flown in a plane, slept in a soft bed and used a clean and functioning bathroom for the first time in their lives at a five-star hotel, the kids say they have now realised what life is like on the other side of the coin and the reality of being back in the slum is hitting them hard.

"I don't want to live here in the slum anymore," Rubina said, wearing the dirt stained ball gown that she has not wanted to take off since Oscars night. "I don't want to sleep on the floor anymore. I want a proper bed and live where the air does not smell of poo. I have seen what it is like in America. Here, there is garbage everywhere, people get angry, swear and shout. I have realised how bad life is here. I just want to get out."

Social workers have called for the children to be placed in care and state that they need to be given protection – either from Danny Boyle and the film production company or the Indian authorities.

"I cannot believe these kids have just been left like this after being taken to Hollywood. It is bound to affect them psychologically," said social worker Sanjay Bhatia, who works in the slum.

India's Women and Child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhary is "appalled" at the beating that Azhar took at the hands of his father on Friday. Azhar was thrashed for saying he wanted to sleep rather than talk to a journalist who had offered money to his father.


Enter your email address: