The winds of Hollywood move at a rapid pace, quickly replacing one drama with the next. The thing is, though, the drama doesn't go away. Earlier this year, the cinematic world was buzzing over the fate of the young kids from Slumdog Millionaire. There was the culture shock between Oscar fanfare and slum life, rumors about selling Rubina Ali for profit, and the demolition of their home.
Now The Associated Press reports that the kids could lose their trust fund. It's not a case of movie people jerkitude -- it seems that Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail is only going to school 37% of the time, while Rubina Ali only makes it 27% of the time. The claimed culprit: out-of-slum jetsetting. Trust administrator Noshir Dadrawala says: "They are constantly going to Paris and Cochin and Chennai. That's fine, but go over the weekend, not at the sacrifice of school." (For Ali, travel that's presumably for her many performances and memoir PR.) If their attendance doesn't improve to 70%, their monthly $120 stipend will be stopped, and they will forfeit the later lump-sum money they're set to receive. In response, Azhar's mother Shameen says these absences are due to the death of his father this September from tuberculosis: "He would cry often, so I kept him home from school for a while" -- and that she's determined to improve his attendance and get him an education.
This is such a bad situation, and unfortunately, now that these kids are in it, there's no easy way out. One can't blame a poor family -- who sleeps in one room amidst cockroaches -- from wanting to seize any moneymaking opportunity that presents itself. Who wouldn't?
I can't help but wonder why tutors couldn't be secured for the kids if they're traveling across the world. It's ridiculous to punish a poor family for following the path laid out for them with the movie. And not allowing these kids to ever receive their trust? It's all the more reason for the movie industry to stop their sense of entitlement and really think, plan, and respect the lesser fortunate people tugged into the Hollywood game -- none of this aftermath is terribly surprising. The littlest amount of forethought would have revealed all of these scenarios.