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Slumdog Kids No Longer Slumming It

Ayush Mahesh Khedekar, Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail Sheikh, Rubina Ali Rafiq Qureshi, Tanvi Ganesh Lonkar,  Ashutosh Lobo Gajiwal, Tanay Hemant Chheda, Madhur Mittal, Mickey Mouse, Slumdog Millionaire cast Courtesy: Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland

And they thought their good fortune peaked when they met Mickey.

Two of Slumdog Millionaire's child actors are, quite literally, slumming it no more, with the Indian government rewarding the poverty-stricken toasts of Hollywood with new homes for their families outside of the Mumbai slums.

Amarjeet Singh Manhas, the chairman of the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority, said that Rubina Ali and Azharuddin Ismail, who played the youngest versions of Freida Pinto and Madhur Mittal's characters, Latika and Salim, in the Oscar juggernaut, "are special and have won laurels for the country and we want to felicitate them."

"Since the children have made the nation proud, they must be given free houses," Manhas said. "The chief minister of the state has approved this. Their families will receive notification in a couple of days."

Details on the size and location of the kids' new homes were not revealed, though they are expected to be one-bedroom apartments in Mumbai's suburbs.

Both families are currently housed in Garib Nagar, a slum north of the city. Nine-year-old Ali's family lives in a one-room shack, while 10-year-old Ismail's family's latest place of residence is under a tarpaulin by a busy road. The boy's father told the Times of India that what money his son was paid for participating in the film had long been spent.

Prior to the government's decision to step in and offer assistance to the families of the two child stars—which, it should be noted, is already being criticized by the Indian government's political opponents as a stunt goodwill move ahead of the country's upcoming general election—director Danny Boyle denied reports that filmmakers had exploited the children.

Boyle and the film's other producers even set up trusts for the children that they can access once they graduate from school, are footing for the bill for the kids' education and offered to provide their families with bricks and mortar prior to the government's intervening.

The move is just the latest bit of excitement to befall the Slumdog Millionaire family. On Sunday, they took home a leading eight Oscars, including Best Picture, for the little film that could, and on Monday, Ali, Ismail and their fellow minor costars were treated to a trip to Disneyland.

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