Boyle: ‘Slumdog Child Stars Were Exploited’

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June 20, 2010 | 6:30pm EST

Director Danny Boyle has opened up about working with children in his Oscar-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire, admitting he feels the youngsters were exploited.
Boyle plucked little Rubina Ali and Azhar Ismail from obscurity to star in his 2008 movie and faced heavy criticism for his decision to cast two children from the slums of Mumbai, India.

The filmmaker admits their lives changed drastically as they were whisked to Hollywood to conduct interviews and attend the glitzy Academy Award ceremony last year.

But Boyle insists efforts are “ongoing” to ensure the two young stars are looked after through the Jai Ho Trust he established in 2008 to provide them with financial backing and education.

When asked if he thinks he exploited the kids, Boyle told Britain’s Sunday Times, “Yes. But you exploit everyone in a film and I think we’ve been responsible. We set up a lot for them before any fuss started. We put them into school and set in place a trust that will look after them until they are 17.

“When the film became a huge hit, we got money from the profits to buy houses. Rubina has still not moved into the property, but the process is ongoing. I saw them the last time I was there.”