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'Slumdog' child star finally has a home

A CHILD star of the Oscar-winning movie "Slumdog Millionaire" moved into his new home in an upmarket Mumbai suburb yesterday, a far cry from his family's former dwelling - a shanty by the railway tracks.

Azharuddin Ismail, nine, played the youngest Salim in British director Danny Boyle's rags-to-riches film about a slum dweller trying his luck on a TV game show in India.

His eyes bright and a big smile plastered on his face, Ismail showed off his new home to guests.

"I like it here, it is really nice. But I will miss my old friends back in Bandra. Maybe I will go and visit them once a while," a grinning Ismail said as he pranced around the house.

Ismail and his family moved into the 25-square-meter ground floor flat, which is in a modern building complex, with electricity and running water. It is a short drive away from Juhu, a suburb home to some of India's most famous film stars.

The Jai Ho Trust, named after the film's award-winning track and set up by the producers, bought the US$42,000 home on Ismail's behalf and will give it to him when he turns 18.

Ismail's earlier dwelling, a tarpaulin and sheet hut, was demolished by authorities in May as it was illegal.

The Jai Ho Trust is looking for a house for Ismail's co-star Rubina Ali, who still lives in a slum with her family.


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