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Bandra's 'Millionaire' star remains at neighbour's mercy

Monday March 07, 2011 09:31:53 PM, Ruchika Kher, IANS

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Fire rages through 'Slumdog Millionaire' actors' previous homes

A major fire raged through a slum in Bandra area of Mumbai Friday night where the child actors of Oscar-winning film "Slumdog Millionaire" used to stay.   »

Mumbai: Two days after the nightmare fire in the Bandra slum that robbed her of a home and her beloved trophies of achievement, "Slumdog Millionaire" child star Rubina Ali Monday continued to stay with her neighbour along with her six siblings and parents.The fire that burnt down over 2,000 houses in the slums of Garib Nagar and Behrampada in Mumbai's Bandra Friday night still haunts the 12-year-old star who achieved worldwide popularity after "Slumdog Millionaire" won eight Oscars in 2008.

"We are now staying with one of our neighbours. Their house is also damaged, but is in a better shape than ours," she told IANS Monday.

"We don't know what exactly happened, whether the fire just broke out on its own or someone purposely did it," she said.

"I was watching TV in my house when suddenly a few aunties near our house started screaming that a fire has broken out and asked us to rush out immediately. We ran out. My mother gathered whatever she could and I took care of my siblings," she recalled, still visibly upset.

"All my awards, my expensive dresses and some books were lost. Hardly anything is left now," she said.

Through the Jai Ho trust, started by the "Slumdog Millionaire" film-makers, Rubina was offered a flat in Santacruz, but they did not shift there because it was too far.

Now the family is waiting for a house to be completed in Bandra West where they plan to move.

"That house is not ready yet. It will take two-three months more. Only then can we move in. Till then I really don't know what we are going to do," said the girl who played the role of Latika in the Danny Boyle film.

Her family received the Rs.5,000 compensation that the Maharashtra government had announced, but no further help has come regarding the reconstruction of their shanties.

"We don't know what will happen to the house after all these losses," Rafiq Asgar Ali Qureshi, Rubina's father, told IANS.

After the huge fire broke out around 8.30 p.m. March 4, the harbour line platform of Bandra railway station on one side and the Bandra terminus road on the other has become a virtual shelter home for over 10,000 people who became homeless in one stroke.







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