Smile Children, It’s Jai Ho

Children forget to live their lives in the role play cut to shape for them by others who have vested interest. The most recent example is the kids of Slumdog Millionaire. From slum to millionaire is a beautiful portrayal of aspiration, but not so when it comes to the characters in flesh and blood.

The starry nights from Oscars to Golden Globe to National awards and Filmfare is a fairy tale story for all those children of streets and slums. Their life goes for a further makeover with every opportunity that follows them. Whether they understand fashion or politics is immaterial, the children are part of every possible event. Rubina Ali and Azharuddin Ismail of Slumdog fame not only walked the ramp with models and actors at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week in Delhi but also participated as the prop for election campaigns.

The shutter bugs, as usual, are busy chasing their beats. Even when Azharuddin is beaten up by his father, it made to pages of the daily and reason for discussions in television.

Yet thanks to their nose for news, and unbiased approach, they managed to trace some “star” children who got recognition world wide and were out of sight all this while. Did anyone of us ever wonder what could happen to such children once they grow up?

A flashback. With millions of dreams and million dollar question in heart the children, who were part of the Oscar-winning documentary Born Into Brothels in 1995, walked the stage of Kodak Theatre to receive the prestigious Oscars.

It was also a once in a lifetime chance to change their lives.

Zana Briski, the director of the film, along with well wishers had offered to help these children. Currently while two of them are pursing education abroad, others are educating themselves living in India. Ironically Preeti Mukherjee who decided to return, today lives to tell the real story as a sex worker. It is very unfortunate to see her join her mother in the profession.

Though Zana has been upset that she could not rescue the kid, “At this age, I have a flat, a laptop, costly phones and plenty of money. What do I lack?” Preeti has been quoted saying.

It is no surprise then to find the children of Slumdog still living in anticipation even if their schools have closed door on them for their non-attendance. They have got a second chance – Rubina and Azharuddin have been awarded scholarships for free education, a noble attempt by a self-help group.

“I want to make full use of this opportunity and study hard and when I grow up I want to become a successful actor like Salman Khan.” That is Azharuddin’s dream.

For Pinki, the main protagonist of Oscar winning documentary Smile Pinki, it has been a journey from being a social outcast in her village to her acceptance. Back in school with many friends, it is difficult to even picture her with no friends and the truth that she was once ostracised and teased. “Today, she’s the star.”

It is almost a month since the Oscars. However, the media has not let the fever die. The news chasers, in the process, has unknowingly hit upon information that really needed some follow ups. Perhaps their efforts can be a turning point.

Stars have reasons to shine, and a future that can strike gold. These children are reaping the timely benefits that are coming their way. Like most, even these children are innocent and naïve. Long term plans are still under wraps. Who decides their future, would remain unanswered. However, one can only hope that Rubina, Azharuddin and Pinki are not in the yet another making of victim of circumstance.

2 thoughts on “Smile Children, It’s Jai Ho

  1. Deeya

    Have you read or studied Pygmalion by G.B. Shaw? There is a strong message that comes through the sequence of events in the book where Eliza Doolittle is trained to be an upwardly mobile lady and then she is left on her own to ponder her future.

    Isn’t that the same phase that every student goes through once they finish school? They are on their own.

    SDM fame kids and many more like them who will follow will be in the limelight till the dust settles down and if they are lucky they will pursue a more brighter path in their lives. Sadly, many do not.

    Good article!



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