Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail and Slumdog Millionaire  

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire and its song Jai Ho is still very popular until today. The hit song which had probably made millions for the Pussycat dolls and even millions for Fox Searchlight had a reverse effect on an ordinary child named Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail. In May 14 2009, it was reported that local authorities had demolished his family's makeshift shelter, and that police had forced him out of it after hitting him with a bamboo stick. Authorities stated that "he and other families were squatting on land that was owned by the government". After the demolition, he described himself and his family as "homeless, we have nowhere to go". Is this the reality of making money out of other people's miseries?

Slumdog Millionaire is a 2008 British film directed by Danny Boyle, written by Simon Beaufoy, and co-directed in India by Loveleen Tandan.It is an adaptation of the novel Q & A (2005) by Indian author and diplomat Vikas Swarup. Set and filmed in India, the film tells the story of a young man from the slums of Mumbai who appears on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (Kaun Banega Crorepati in the Hindi version) and exceeds people's expectations, thereby arousing the suspicions of the game show host and of law enforcement officials.

After its world premiere at Telluride Film Festival and subsequent screenings at the Toronto International Film Festival and the London Film Festival, Slumdog Millionaire initially had a limited North American release on 12 November 2008, to critical acclaim. It later had a nationwide grand release in the United Kingdom on 9 January 2009 and in the United States on 23 January 2009. It premiered in Mumbai on 22 January 2009.

The film was nominated for ten Academy Awards in 2009 and won eight, the most for any film of 2008, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. It also won seven BAFTA Awards (including Best Film), five Critics' Choice Awards, and four Golden Globes. Slumdog Millionaire has stirred controversy concerning language use, its portrayals of Indians and Hinduism, and the welfare of its child actors.

One of such controversies is about one of its child actor, Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail. He played the youngest version of Salim Malik, for which he won a Screen Actors Guild Award. Following the film's success, he has been cast in the upcoming Bollywood film Kal Kisne Dekha (2009).

Like his on-screen character, Azaruddin comes from one of the slums of Mumbai, living in the Garib Nagar slum near Bandra station. According to the The Daily Telegraph, "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."

Azharuddin in Slumdog Millionaire and the song Jai Ho

How come that a child who had won fame and an Oscar Award be sleeping on such a shameless place?

For me it only shows the fact that most of those who are rich and want to earn money will likely abuse someone who is ignorant, innocent and does not have influence in order to achieve their ends. How can the world even enjoy the song Jai Ho and watch the movie while Azaruddin languishes in an inhuman condition? And do they even deserve to be called Slumdogs? What a term!

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