Another Side of the "Slumdog" Hubbub

Posted by Prince Gomolvilas
ON Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Okay, so there's been a lot of chatter about how the child actors in Slumdog Millionaire are being exploited and swindled by Danny Boyle and the Hollywood elite responsible for the film. For example, The Huffington Post published photos highlighting the kids' return to the slums of Mumbai, and other critics have charged that not enough has been done for these children, given the movie's runaway success.

Since I feel peripherally connected to Slumdog Millionaire, I must jump to Boyle's defense and provide a bit of additional information, in case you missed it, so you can make an informed decision about where you stand on this whole issue.

Because all the money that the kids were paid for their work on the film has now disappeared, Boyle and the filmmakers set up a trust fund for each of the child stars—the money (and its interest) will be available to them when they turn 18, provided they finish the educational program that has been set up for them. They are also receiving a weekly allowance, and will soon be rehoused into apartments. (They had also been given money for new housing, but that money has also disappeared.) Boyle explains in this news clip:

Instead of showering the children with more cash (their previous payments appear to have been grossly mismanaged), Boyle and crew have decided to make sure that the kids are taken care of on a long-term basis. Perhaps this is a smarter move, considering that one of the child actors' fathers is prone to slapping his son and insists, "I want the money now. It is of no use later."

What say you, dear readers?
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  1. Chung Nguyen Said,

    Kind of weird how art imitates life imitates art.

    Look at all the child stars in the US who've gone through some bad experience because of their early popularity (and bank-roll). I don't think it's Boyle's duty to solve this mess, but it's nice to see him try.


  2. Another thing about Danny Boyle is that he's genuine too. He would be the first to leap in if he thought the kids were being exploited.


  3. Just like any other situation where money is given as a solution, some jerk is going to take advantage.

    Absolutely brilliant a trust was set up for these children and I agree with Chung on all points. Bottom line, money does terrible things to people and this is a perfect example of both sides of the story.


  4. First of all, I can totally relate to feeling peripherally connected to things.

    One day, perhaps, even directly connected.

    Hey, Boyle's been more than patient to keep trying to do what's right for the kids, but it sounds as if it's been quite a challenge.

    I love his solution (I think). As long as it's as scam-proof as possible. I'm sure it's cost him a nice chunk of change in legal fees trying to resolve this, though.

    It sounds like a very complicated mess, actually.

    But, it reminds me of why I have such issues volunteering at my kid's school anymore, too.

    Parents mess things up. And it's never a pretty thing to sort out.


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