THE father of Slumdog Millionaire child actress, Rubina Ali, tried to sell his nine-year-old daughter for adoption in a bid to escape the Mumbai slums, a British newspaper said yesterday.
News of the World alleged that Rafiq Qureshi wanted 20 million rupees (€310,000) for the girl, who played the young Latika in the British hit film set in India.
Slumdog Millionaire, a rags-to-riches tale of children from the slums of Mumbai, won eight Oscars in February, including the Best Picture Academy Award.
News of the World said its reporters posed as a wealthy family from Dubai.
The Sunday tabloid said a Mumbai informant told them that Qureshi was touting for the highest offer, having already been approached by a Middle Eastern family.
The newspaper published pictures of the actress, her father and uncle posing with their undercover reporter, plus video clips of Qureshi and his brother-in-law during their meeting last week.
“Yes, we are considering Rubina’s future,” Qureshi was quoted as saying.
He put the reporter in touch with his brother-in-law, Rajan More.
“We are interested in securing our girl’s future,” the star’s uncle was quoted as saying.
“If you wanted to adopt, we could discuss this, but her parents would also expect some proper compensation in return. Whatever money is agreed by Rajan, I will accept.
“We can discuss everything about this deal when we meet. There’s a lot of interest in Rubina.”
Qureshi, Rubina, More and some other relatives met the reporters in a Mumbai hotel, the newspaper said.
“We need two or three months,” Qureshi allegedly said. More added: “Until then, we can negotiate the amount. We’ll come to Dubai, the girl will come and go.
“It’s 20 million rupees,” the uncle was quoted as saying.
Qureshi proudly carried Rubina through the Mumbai slums in February after she returned from the Oscar glory of Hollywood.
Qureshi said he had only been given a small amount of money despite the success of the film.
He added: “What they showed in the film is exactly how life is here. The government doesn’t help us. We get nothing.”
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