The father of 9-year-old "Slumdog Millionaire” star Rubina Ali offered to sell her for $300,000 to undercover reporters from Britain’s News of the World, the newspaper reported.
Rafiq Qureshi, who lives in a Mumbai slum with Ali, says he is only trying to do right by his daughter and family by attempting to cash in on her fame.
“I have to consider what's best for me, my family and Rubina's future,” Qureshi told the News of the World journalists, who posed as a wealthy Middle Eastern family interested in Ali’s illegal adoption.
Police in Mumbai are probing the accusations. According to Reuters, law enforcement called Ali and her father to the police station and recorded their statements.
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“On Sunday, Rubina’s mother, Khurshid, complained to us that her ex-husband was trying to sell her daughter, saying she saw some reports on television to that effect,” Deputy Commissioner of Police Nisar Tamboli told Reuters.
Ali’s family denied they were trying to sell her, Reuters reports.
“We never thought that we would have to face this. We are poor people, for us, our children are everything. Why would we give her away like that?” Rubina’s uncle Moinuddin Qureshi said to the news agency.
In the past, Rafiq Qureshi criticized the “Slumdog” production, claiming that he and his family got nothing from Ali’s role in the movie. That is not accurate: In addition to the salaries for the film, trusts for Ali and for fellow young star Azharuddin Ismail were established. Part of the trust is used to pay their tuition at an English-language school, for emergency medical costs and living expenses, and the remainder of the trusts are available to Ali and Ismail after they turn 18.
On April 16, it was announced that the filmmakers also donated $747,500 to Plan, a international children’s charity. The aim of that donation is to help improve the lives of Mumbai street children. They hope as many as 5,000 kids over the next five years will benefit from the donation.
More ‘Housewives’ on the chopping block?
The recession might not be over on Wisteria Lane. A source close to the show says that despite the money saved by taking Nicollette Sheridan off the pay roll, more housewives might have to move off the block.
“The bottom line is no one is safe right now,” the source said. “You’ve got this huge ensemble cast mostly of women dressed to the nines — at least with ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ they’re in scrubs most of the time. It’s a lot of salaries and wardrobe and it all contributes to the fact that ‘Housewives’ is just really expensive, and a lot of costs need to be cut.”
Should any cast members in particular start showering creator Marc Cherry with gifts? The source wouldn’t name names at this point, but hinted that another main character could go.
“Obviously no one wants to rock the boat too much, but there are several story lines that feel played out,” the source said. “‘ER’ never suffered terribly by losing big-name actors — it would be unwise for anyone to think they’re safe right now.”
Weekend box office
Either Zac Efron really is a big box-office draw or there’s been a real craving for a new film from the body-switch genre. Either way, “17 Again” brought in slightly more than $24 million during its first weekend in theaters. Slideshow: Celebrity Sightings
Behind it was Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck’s “State of Play,” with $14.1 million. Although that number trails far behind “17 Again,” it’s actually a pretty good opening weekend for a political thriller.
The third-place spot is interesting: “Monsters vs. Aliens” edged out “Hannah Montana: The Movie.”
The Miley Cyrus flick brought in $12.6 million (“Monsters” made $12.9 million), which is a 60 percent drop from its opening weekend, which drives home the point that a young female audience is likely to show up for opening weekend, but they’re not good repeat customers.
Courtney Hazlett delivers the Scoop Monday through Friday on msnbc.com. Follow Scoop on Twitter: @ courtneyatmsnbc.
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