'Slumdog' scandal grows
After seeing the videos on TMZ of the mother and stepmother of Rubina Ali -- the little girl featured in Slumdog Millionaire -- choking each other on the streets of Mumbai, we couldn't help but wonder: Have we started outsourcing our tabloid scandals to India now too? Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan, you have been bumped by reports that Rubina's father was trying to cash in her fame by literally selling her out. Tabloid reporters posing as rich Arabs were told they could have her for close to $400,000. The father says he was framed. The UK's Sun reports that he was arrested Monday night on suspicion of trafficking India's most famous child.
And the controversy hasn't gone unnoticed by writers such as former tabloid editor Bonnie Fuller, who chides director Danny Boyle to speak up and do something. The movie company, which made some $326 million on Slumdog, is already paying for the impoverished co-stars to attend school in India and trust funds have been set aside, "but this isn't enough," she writes. "A $326 million intervention has already dramatically altered their lives. You can't take children from a planet of deprivation, walk them down a red Oscar carpet, bring them as guests to the Vanity Fair Oscar party, have them toasted by all of Hollywood, and then send them back to live with their families in squalor. Is it really surprising that little Rubina's father wouldn't be tempted to cash in on his meal ticket?"
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne
Photo: Rubina Ali, Fox Searchlight Films