Senior Editor
05.28.09 18 Comments

Jesus, it’s about time.  A week after his shanty got demolished and three months after both the filmmakers and an Indian housing authority promised him a house, Slumdog actor Azharudin Ismail finally has a new home.

Director Danny Boyle and producer Christian Colson flew into Mumbai.  Smiling and hugging the children, Boyle said a home had been bought for Ismail, 9, who played the character of Salim as a child. He added they would soon buy one for Ali as well, who plays the young Latika.

The “Jai Ho” trust, named after the film’s award-winning track, and set up by Boyle and Colson, is meant to pay for the education and basic living costs of Ismail and Ali until they turn 18. A director for the trust said the apartment for Ismail was “comfortable, in a good neighborhood (and) near his school” and cost “upwards of 2 million rupees” ($42,000).

Boyle, who came under fire for not doing enough for the children who lived in squalor despite the film’s success, blamed the media for raising the families’ expectations. “Inevitably, the tension and pressure is media generated,” he said, after greeting Ali and Ismail with a hug.  “They were given access to a world, an extraordinary and glamorous world, and they understandably want their lives to be completely transformed,” Boyle said. “The homes are a concern. That is one of the reasons why we built the trust.” [THR]

Boyle’s got a point.  These kids didn’t have huge parts in the movie.  You pay people for their work – just because your movie does well doesn’t mean you have to go back and pay your extras’ mortgages.  Really it’s India that’s the problem.  You can’t claim the kids as national heroes and then knock their house down and then demand that the west give you more money..  Even in North Korea they give you a shiny uniform.

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