In the wake of yesterday’s believable but sketchy-sounding report that Slumdog actress Rubina Ali’s father was trying to sell her, Indian police say they’ve launched a probe into the matter. Meanwhile, the actress’s mother and stepmother were reportedly involved in a sweaty, third-world wrestling match [adjectives added, for, uh, emphasis].
Khurshid Begum [Ali’s mother] filed a complaint with Mumbai police on Sunday after News of the World’s report.
The newspaper – owned by News International Ltd., the main British subsidiary of News Corp., which also owns “Slumdog” distributor Fox Searchlight Pictures – said the father was demanding millions of rupees, worth the equivalent of $400,000. [Editor’s note: yesterday it was $300.]
“They should be punished,” Begum said after getting into a physical confrontation with Rubina’s stepmother. “No father should dare sell his daughter.”
Police took the father, Rafiq Qureshi, and Rubina from their home in a Mumbai slum to a police station where he was briefly questioned.
Speaking to reporters outside the police station Sunday, Qureshi denied the report, saying he had been lured to a fancy Mumbai hotel by someone claiming they were moved by Rubina’s story and wanted to help her.
“We had gone there to meet them in goodwill,” he said. “But they have made false allegations about me and tried to frame me.”
Qureshi said he told police he believed it could be a plot to regain custody by his ex-wife, who left several years ago, only to return and try to play a role in Rubina’s life after the film’s success.
“My children are with me, and I could give my life for them,” Qureshi said. “I will never sell them to anybody, no matter how much money they offer me.” [Variety]
This is one of those cases where I don’t know who to believe. I wonder: would it be terribly racist to demand that they resolve this through song?