"Slumdog" Kids Feted in Mumbai Ghetto

But the promise of new homes is in doubt

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Associated Press
    Azharuddin Ismail returns to Mumbai slum from Los Angeles where the young actor was among his "Slumdog Millionaire" co-stars accepting the best picture Oscar.

    Just as quickly as they found themselves in the midst of Hollywood's most powerful figures at the Oscars, the young stars of "Slumdog Millionaire" were back today in the Mumbai ghetto they call home.

    Azharuddin Ismail and Rubina Ali were greeted by throngs of delirious neighbors and swarms of media who ushered the overnight sensations to their shacks in Garib Nagar - a neighborhood whose name translates to "poor district," CNN reported.

    Despite the festive procession and adulation showered on the kids, there was a nagging question that begged to be answered: will these children get the new homes that were pledged to them when it was discovered that while the film raked in millions, they still slept near open sewers and train tracks?

    "It would be nice to get a proper home," Azharuddin's mother, Shamim Begum, 35, told CNN - adding that she heard rumors about the promise of new shelter but has so-far not been approached formally. "I've been praying for a new home for so long. It's all up to Allah now."

    Azharuddin, 10, who portrayed the hardened yet loyal Salim, lives with his family in a shack that has a torn plastic sheet acting as a roof. Rubina, 9, who played the youngest version of Latika, also lives in a small shack next to an open drain, where the smell of urine and other waste dominate, according to CNN.

    The film, set in the children's home state of Maharashtra, stormed the Oscars taking home a total of eight awards including best picture and best director for Britain's Danny Boyle, who told the Associated Press the film's producers have enrolled the kids in a nonprofit, English language school and set up trust funds for them.

    Azharuddin, for his part, said he would like to finish school before carrying on with his acting career. "First, I will study. Education is important if I want to be an actor.," he said. "So, first, I shall study in a school, college, and then I will become a big actor."