A new controversy is emerging that the director of Slumdog Millionaire Danny Boyle has exploited the young Indian actors in the movie. According to news reports the parents of child actors Rubina Ali and Azharuddin Ismail claim their kids were not compensated properly. Maybe Boyle decided to use Hindi speaking child actors from the slums of Mumbai because he knew he could exploit them more easily?
Boyle claims he has set up a “trust fund” for the children and they will only receive the money when they reach age 18 on the condition that they stay in school. However, how is Danny Boyle going to ensure that the children will be able to stay in school? Is Boyle just talking BS? Since the children are still poor they may not be able to stay in school. What is Boyle going to do?
According to the Telepgrah article Ali earned about $1,000, while Ismail was paid about $2,400 for their work. Also, given the fact two of the child actors are from the slums of Mumbai how could Boyle expect them to return to a life of poverty? Boyle claims he has provided basic education and medical care for the children but he can do a lot more.
Some people may say the parents of the child actors are greedy. However, maybe Boyle is the real culprit?
According to the website www.boxofficemojo.com the budget for Slumdog Millionaire is only $15 million dollars. Slumdog Millionaire has grossed over $87 million dollars worldwide the movie is a huge hit. The movie will make a profit over $100 million dollars worldwide very soon. Given the fact the movie provides insight in the dire poverty in Mumbai Boyle has a responsibility to compensate these young actors because they are the heart and soul of the film.
Another controversy brewing in India is some Indians are offended by to the term “slum dog”. Some Indians feel the movie is exploiting the poor. Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan calls “Slumdog Millionaire” “poverty porn” he believes the film is taking advantage of the poor Indians.
Link to Telegraph article about the controversy: