Slumdog Makers Say Kids Weren't Exploited

Filmmakers deny they underpaid children
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2009 10:08 AM CST
Rubina Ali Qureshi, 9, interacts with her friends while standing in the doorway of her one-room tin-roofed house in a slum in Bandra, suburban Mumbai, India, Jan. 25, 2009.   (AP Photo/Gautam Singh)
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(Newser) – The creators of Slumdog Millionaire are taking the offensive to rebut accusations that the young Indian actors in their film were exploited, People reports. Claims surfaced earlier this week that two of the child actors, still living in the slums of Mumbai, got a raw deal. But director Danny Boyle and producer Christian Colson say “painstaking attention” was paid to ensure that the actors would get a good education through age 18.

The Oscar-nominated film has made $85 million so far, but families of two children in big roles claim they were only paid $2,500 and $700, respectively. Fox Searchlight's response: “For 30 days work, the children were paid three times the average local annual adult salary.” The studio noted that the actors are attending school for the first time at the filmmakers’ expense. Trust funds were also established.