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    Kal Ho Na Ho
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    Aug 2008


    Default 'Slumdog' kid not on sale?

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    ‘We expect compensation’

    Slumdog Millionaire child actress Rubina Ali’s father has, reportedly, decided to put her on sale. In a bid to cash in on Rubina’s international stardom, her father Rafiq Qureshi has put her up for adoption, demanding nearly 200,000 pounds (Rs 1.8 crore approx). He offered the deal to an undercover fake sheikh from the international tabloid News of the World. “Yes, we’re considering Rubina’s future,” Rafiq told the undercover reporter. “I have to consider what’s best for me, my family and Rubina’s future,” he added.

    Rafiq blamed Hollywood bosses for forcing him to put his daughter up for sale and claims, “We’ve got nothing out of this film.” News of the World’s undercover reporter approached Rafiq acting as the representative of a wealthy Arab sheikh, who wanted to adopt the girl. “Yes, we’re considering Rubina’s future,” Rafiq replied, and asked him to talk to his brother-in-law.

    Rubina’s uncle Rajan More confirmed, “Yes, we’re interested in securing our girl’s future. Rubina’s life is miserable and she lives with her stepmother. Most of the time she stays with me because she’s not happy at her parents’ home. Obviously, if you wanted to adopt, we could discuss this, but her parents would also expect some proper compensation. We’re talking of around 50,000 pounds for this to happen.”

    According to an insider, Rubina’s family are furious that despite the film doing so well and their daughter becoming so famous, they are still living in difficult conditions. “They were approached by one wealthy Middle Eastern family who saw their plight in an item on Al Jazeera TV. The couple expressed an interest in adopting young Rubina and her parents’ eyes lit up. Rafiq is streetwise and knows that soon, his daughter’s 15 minutes of fame will end. He has a family to feed and simply can’t afford it. He is keen to find a rich family to bring up Rubina, but only if they’re willing to help the whole family get out of the slums. Rafiq has said that he will consider the highest offer for his child,” the insider added.

    ‘Meri beti ko khareed nahin sakte’

    TOI got in touch with Dinesh Dubey, who handles the work of both the Slumdog Millionaire child stars, Azhar and Rubina, in India.

    He is a trusted friend of Rubina’s father Rafiq, and says he was there throughout the conversations between the sheikh and Rubina’s dad. At first, neither Dinesh nor Rubina’s family realised that it was a reporter in disguise, not a sheikh from Dubai. Dinesh says, “Rafiq felt really sorry for the sheikh’s wife, because she has no children (that’s what they were told). But he certainly did not put Rubina up for adoption. What he said, exactly, was this – ‘The sheikh and his wife could keep coming to Mumbai and treat Rubina like their daughter, just the way I do. But I’m not going to let my girl go. If you love her that much, you could call her to Dubai for eight-ten days, and we could come with her too. In our Indian culture, it’s very difficult to say no to somebody. If a lady comes and tells me I don’t have a child and I like your child very much, I really can’t say no, don’t come close to my daughter. Rubina toh mere dil ki dhadkan hai. Milna-julna main allow kar sakta hoon, but not adoption.

    I understand that the woman is distressed because she doesn’t have children, but if that is the case, she can also adopt another poor man’s child. Why only Rubina? If they want to adopt her because she’s been to the Oscars and has name and fame, then she can adopt another poor man’s child. Paise se khareed nahin sakta koi meri beti ko. Gareeb se gareeb ho ya pagal se pagal, koi apna bachcha nahin bechta. Aur Rubina ne toh humko bahut proud kiya hai, woh toh Oscars bhi ho ke aayi hai.’”

    When they found out, however, that there was no ‘sheikh’, the family was outraged. “Hamari bhawnaon ke saath khilwad kiya hai. We even came to Delhi to this fashion event where they made us stay in big hotels, and gave us a very nice time and also made us meet Sonia Gandhi. Humein aise log (Delhi-based designers Leena-Ashima) aur chahiye. Hamare saath yeh sting operation jinhone kiya hai, they have played with our feelings. Now we know it’s something called News Of The World. Before the sting op, Rubina was saying, ‘Haan aunty, aap yahan aate rehna, mujhse pyaar karte rehna. After she found out that it was a sting op, she said, ‘Main in foreigner logon ko kabhi interview nahin doongi, yeh baat ka batangad banate hain. Mujhe aur meri family ko isse bahut takleef hui,’” says Dinesh.

    Leena Singh, of the designer duo Leena-Ashima, who got Azhar and Rubina to Delhi to walk the ramp in the WIFW last month, says, “If the news about the adoption is true, then it’s not right. The children and their parents have enough money right now. When they were in Delhi for the fashion show, the parents seemed very protective towards their children. Even when the kids had to go out shoe shopping, they wanted to accompany them. When they were coming out of the airport, even then, they wanted to be in the same car with their kids. It was quite an ordeal for me, because their parents always wanted to stick to them. But Rafiq may not have meant what he said, because these guys are illiterate, and people may be putting words into their mouth.”

    (ANI & Jaya Drona)



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