Are The Child Actors In Slumdog Millionaire Being Exploited By The Director Danny Boyle?


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  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: -Slumdog-millionaire-stars-say-children-were-exploited.html

About orvillelloyddouglas

I am a gay black Canadian male.

4 responses to “Are The Child Actors In Slumdog Millionaire Being Exploited By The Director Danny Boyle?”

  1. aulelia says :

    When something succeeds, then people ALWAYS look for controversy.

    Boyle is right; the money should go in a trust fund for when they are 18.

    What’s a 9 year old going to do with thousands of dollars, except be exploited by the family?

  2. orvillelloyddouglas says :

    Aulelia I agree to a certain extent that Boyle is correct for creating the trust fund. Yes it is true that the child may be exploited by their families. However, the trust fund has a condition that the child have to stay in school until they reach the age of eighteen. Given the fact the two child actors are from the slums of Mumbai how is Boyle going to ensure these children will have the opportunity to “stay” in school?

    Boyle went to the slums of Mumbai because he wanted to find child actors he believed were more authentic for the movie. I believe Boyle has a social responsibility to now take care of these kids their lives have been changed forever. In india the child actors are constantly being followed by the press. The kids need adequate housing, health care, education, and support. The child actors should be paid fair because they are the heart and soul of Slumdog Millionaire.

  3. storyinframes says :

    interesting debate. maybe danny should also ensure that their schooling is done without any breaks. that’s difficult. what do you say?

  4. B Alexander says :

    The big bucks they’re going to get by staying in school is incentive enough to stay in school. And the anticipation of the kids getting that money should drive the parents to keep them in school instead of making them leave school to make more money for the parents by working and/or begging in the streets.

    I read a story about the kids not getting to go to the Oscars because the parents don’t want the studio to give them a trip to the Oscars, they want the money “for the plane tickets”. That seriously makes me go “hmm…” I’m sure the kids would love to go, but the parents are focused on getting money and they couldn’t care less what the kids would want. Those parents do not have those kids best interests at heart, they just want to use those kids to get what THEY want, that’s how that story came off to me.

    I read somewhere else that they were also given funds for immediate needs like health care and housing. But that money disappeared in the hands of the family. If that story is true, than wow, good thing Boyle set up trust funds for the kids when they turn 18 and stayed in school instead of giving the entire payment in a lump sum now so their parents can make it all disappear and the kids will never see one red cent. Worse, the kids would get exploited to make more money for their family, they’d never be allowed to stay in school or do anything that benefits them more than it benefits their family.

    I’m actually in awe that Boyle would go to that much trouble to think these things through and consider how to keep the kids from being exploited by their parents. Someone who didn’t care would just give them a lump sum and call it a day.

    The parents are just pissed that someone thought of a way to keep them from exploiting their kids.

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