Rags to riches story gone wrong: 'Slumdog Millionaire' actor moves back to slums

Life seems to have come full circle in a rather unfortunate manner for Azharuddin Ismail, the former actor who many may remember from the Oscar-winning 'Slumdog Millionaire'.

According to a recent article by Mumbai Mirror, Ismail has moved back to the slums, having faced several misfortunes along the way. From a failed business investment, to health ailments, to drug problems -- it has been a rough few years for the 21-year-old.

To recapitulate, he had essayed the role of a young Salim, the brother of Jamaal (the protagonist) in Danny Boyle's 'Slumdog Millionaire'. 10-years-old at the time, similar to his on-screen character, Ismail hailed from the Garib Nagar slums in Mumbai.

His hard-hitting performance secured him a Screen Actor's Guild Award, and at the 81st Academy Awards, he rubbed shoulders with Hollywood A-listers. Danny Boyle's 'Slumdog Millionare' went on to win eight Oscars and Azhar along with the others were in attendance. This young boy from a slum in Mumbai was soon basking in fame and success. In the same year, he was also cast in the Bollywood movie, Kal Kisne Dekha.

But while the fictitious Salim's lot in life improved over the course of the movie, facts do not always echo works of the imagination.

Mumbai Mirror reported that he had sold his Rs 49 lakh flat following financial hardships. His mother Shameema told the publication that unable to adjust to the living conditions in the slums, Ismail had fallen ill. She added that her son had also fallen prey to drugs.

According to an earlier Reuters article, following the movie, Ismail and fellow child star Rubina Ali were enrolled in English-medium schools and a fund was set up for any financial requirements that they might have had, including education, medical emergencies and daily expenses.

Named after the movie's Academy Award-winning song, the 'Jai Ho' Trust was initially overseen by a board of trustees until the children attained adulthood.

The ‘Jai Ho’ trust provided Ismail with the aforementioned 250 sq ft flat in Santacruz West. It was transferred to his custody when he turned 18.

Reportedly, the trust ceased to pay for monthly expenses when he came of age.

“The stardom is over. Now I have to earn to run the family...I was born in a slum but never wanted to go back there," Ismail was quoted as saying.

Azhar's family has been living in a 10x10 ft room in Naupada, Bandra East, which they share with his sister, her husband and three children.

Shameema also expressed hope that Danny Boyle would help Ismail.

Incidentally, this isn't the first entreaty in the same vein. According to an article by The Guardian, in 2009, the two child actors had asked for more money, stating that the funds allocated to them were insufficient.

Ismail is not the only person to abandon his residence.

According to the Mirror report, co-star Rubina Qureshi has also moved out of the flat she was given by the trust. Reportedly, the 20-year-old make-up artist lives in Nallasopara with her mother, while her father resides in the flat with his second wife and kids. She is also pursuing fashion designing.

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