Life seems to have come full circle in a rather unfortunate manner for Azharuddin Ismail, the former actor who many may remember from the Oscar-winning 'Slumdog Millionaire'.
To recapitulate, he had essayed the role of a young Salim, the brother of Jamaal (the protagonist) in Danny Boyle's 'Slumdog Millionaire'. A 10-year-old boy from the Garib Nagar slums in Mumbai, he was selected from a pool of 300 kids. The actor who came from a zero film background gave a performance that hit way too hard.
From attending the Oscars with A-list Hollywood stars to falling prey to drugs, a lot has happened in his life. Now 21- years-old, Azharuddin Ismail has moved back to the slums.
Danny Boyle's 'Slumdog Millionare' went on to win eight Oscars and Azhar along with the others also attended the Academy Awards. This young boy from a slum in Mumbai was soon basking in fame and success.
After the film recieved appreciation from all the quarters, Danny Boyle set up a trust named Jai Ho for Azhar and his co-star Rubina Qureshi, who also lived in the slums. The Jai Ho Charitable Trust was established with the aim of helping the two children have a better life and to provide them with an education. Both, Azhar and Rubina were given flats and a monthly allowance by the trust.
Fast forward to this day, Azharuddin has sold his Santacruz flat and is back to living in the slums. The actor who lost his fame over the years also lost his fortune and moved back to a slum in Bandra East. In a report by Mumbai Mirror Azhar and his family opened up about their financial struggles.
Azhar, who is currently living in Jalna, sold his Rs 49 lakh flat as his family was facing financial hardships. His mother, Shameema, revealed to the daily that Azhar couldn't adjust to the living conditions in the slums and has been recuperating there. She also stated that he suffered a loss after investing money in a business. In a shocking revelation Shameema opened up about her son falling prey to drugs and being in bad company.
Talking about the situation she said, "After Azhar turned 18, the Trust stopped paying monthly expenses, which was around Rs. 9,000 a month. It then became very difficult for us to run the household.”
“He (Azhar) would fall ill often. Since the past three years, I was struggling. I have spent a lot on his treatment and we had no option but to sell the house to deal with the situation,” she explained.
Azhar's family has been living in a 10x10 ft room in Naupada, Bandra East, which they share with his sister, her husband and three children.
Speaking to Mirror, the former actor said, “The stardom is over. Now I have to earn to run the family. Mumbai is crowded and polluted. I was born in a slum but never wanted to go back there."
Also Read: Did Rahman really buy his Slumdog Oscar?
Azhar's co-star Rubina Qureshi has also moved out of the flat she was given by the trust. The 20-year-old, now a make-up artist, is living in Nallasopara with her mother and also pursuing fashion designing. Her father currently lives in the flat gifted to her by the Jai Ho trust, with his second wife and kids.
“I lived in the house for four years, but it became very difficult to live in the flat with eight people so I moved out. Though the Trust has officially closed now, they are still in touch with me and keep helping in whatever way they can," she said.
Azhar mother, Shameema says, "I would like to request Danny Boyle to help my child, he needs support and motivation."
Jai Ho's trustee Nirja Mattoo, said, “Azharuddin wanted to start his own business and for financial support, they wanted to sell the house.
He is an adult now and I hope he will do well in the future.”