A new spin to the old-style of celebrity adoptions?
According to tabloid accounts, the fathers of the children who starred in Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire are wanting to cash-in the value of their star children.
There's Mohammad Ismail, father of ten year old Azharuddin, who is quoted as saying:
'My son has taken on the world and won. I am so proud of him but I want more money.
'They promised me a new house but it hasn't happened. I'm still in the slum.
'I want the money now, it is of no use later. Mr Boyle should take care of my son.'
[From: "I want more than £20,000 says Slumdog star's father", March 2, 2009]
The Daily Mail article continues, stating the 10 year old boy was reportedly paid £700 during filming, while another £17,500 has been put into a trust fund (which he will get, plus interest, when he is 18 and completed his education.) In addition, he also receives a £20-a-month allowance and his family will get a new house worth £20,000. (The father reportedly makes less than £40 a month gathering wood.) However, this information may not be correct since another article states Azharuddin was paid less than $2,500, and that Rubina got about $700. In any case, it was decided by Boyle and his production company that the real amounts/numbers will not be quoted because such information would make them very vulnerable (targets) in their own community.
So while it seems one father is asking for more money from the producers of a box-office hit, other reports are suggesting the father of second child-actor, Rubina, has other plans for his nine year old Oscar-winning daughter:
In a bid to escape India's real-life slums, Rafiq Qureshi put angel-faced darling of the Oscars Rubina up for adoption, demanding millions of rupees worth £200,000.
As he offered the shocking deal to the News of the World's undercover fake sheik this week, Rafiq declared: "I have to consider what's best for me, my family and Rubina's future."
Rafiq tried to blame Hollywood bosses for forcing him to put his daughter up for SALE.
As he tried to fix the illegal adoption deal, real-life slum dweller Rafiq declared: "We've got nothing out of this film." [From: "Father tries to cash in on daughter's fame", April 19, 2009]
In another article, Rubina Ali's mother, Khushi, is shocked by reports that her ex-husband was prepared to sell their daughter for 200,000 pounds.
Khushi said that Qureshi and his second wife Meena were always 'crazy for money'.
'Now that my daughter has achieved international fame, they want to capitalise on it at any cost,' she said. [From: "Rubina's estranged mom shocked over 'sale' reports", April 19, 2009]
However, according to the same article, friend and neighbor (of the father who is eager-to-earn-more-money) claimed:
nobody really took it seriously as Rubina's father said he had been 'misunderstood' by the foreigners.
'Qureshi later told me that since the foreigners were speaking in Arabic, he misunderstood what the interpreter was saying,' Sheikh said.
Sheikh claimed that Qureshi had told him he had no intentions of giving away his daughter in adoption for 200,000 pounds to an Arab family as reported by the British media.
'Qureshi feels that the issue was blown out of proportion because of the miscommunication with the foreigners,' Sheikh said.
This sentiment is reflected in yet ANOTHER article, Father denies 'selling' Slumdog Millionaire star for £270,000 in bid to boost his own fortune
Rafiq claims he believed he was discussing a 'well-paying' film role and would never put his children up for sale.
'Rubina's father was contacted through a friend, who was told there was a lot of money on offer if she would work for him,' said a close family friend.
'Rafiq didn't understand everything that was being said to him but he was happy to discuss money for a well-paying job for his daughter. She loves being in movies and the family need the money,' he added.
An undercover investigation by the News of the World reportedly discovered that Rafiq was offering Rubina to a wealthy Middle Eastern family.
When the deal fell through, the paper contacted the girl's family under the pretence of adopting her.
Rubina's uncle is believed to have confirmed the family were interested in 'selling' the young star for millions of rupees.
'Yes, we are interested in securing our girl's future... Obviously if you wanted to adopt we could discuss this, but her parents would also expect some proper compensation in return,' he said.
"But now he has been accused of trying to sell Rubina. This isn't true he will happily discuss job offers but there is no question of letting his daughter go. He loves her and is proud of her.
"He's a good man and is deeply offended that anyone would accuse him of selling his daughter.
"He loves her like any father loves his daughter. This is unthinkable. The reports are very wrong."
More on this on-going saga can be found here: 'Slumdog' kid not on sale?
It should be noted the Slumdog Millionaire team donated $900K to help Mumbai slum kids.
Slumdog Millionaire won eight Oscars and a host of other industry awards this year. It tells the tale of an 18 year old orphan (from the slums of Mumbai) who wins the Indian version of "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?"
[Oddly enough, weeks ago, (March 29, 2009), it was reported that ten-year-old Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail asked Angelina Jolie why she hadn't adopted from his home country.]
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An interesting consequence
Resulting from yesterday's events, the following statements have been made by The Australian:
Meanwhile, for those keeping score regarding the celebrity games played in Adoption-Land, a panel of three Supreme Court of Appeal judges in Malawi is scheduled next month to begin hearing Madonna's appeal in her bid to adopt a 3-year-old girl.