TODAY   |  September 06, 2011

‘Slumdog Millionaire’ kids: Where are they now?

The 8-year-old children who were taken out of Mumbai slums to star in the hit film, “Slumdog Millionaire,” are now young teenagers with very different lives. NBC’s Michelle Kosinski reports.

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>>> as we all know, "slum dog millionaire" won eight oscars, including best picture . it also sparked controversy over child actors who came from the slums of mumbai. but where are they now?

>> they were only around 8 years old when chosen from among hundreds of kids. if you ever wondered how are they doing today? they are young teenagers, still have big dreams but lives are very different and she still lives in the slum. real life slum children with the mill dollar smiles. they helped take "slum dog millionaire" all the way to the oscars. today azar is 13. all of is a sudden your life completely changed.

>> yes. i -- i'm telling you, i think this is my dream one has become true.

>> reporter: it's not luxury, hardly a mansion, but azar now has his own apartment with his family in a very nice quiet mumbai suburb. hard for him to believe just two years ago azar was living in that slum. you realized making the movie that he wanted to make something of himself. so you like big dreams .

>> yes, very big dreams .

>> reporter: azar now wants to be an about actor or scientist. and on a visit back to the slum where kids his age still play in the drainage pipes or fish in puddles, azar is uncomfortable. though he's kept his old friends here.

>> i don't like to go there, i feel sad.

>> reporter: he also worries about rubena , his costar whose family at one point was accuse of trying to sell her and the foundation say her parents kept rejecting new homes offered to them, she is still living in the slum. her home here has been destroyed twice, which claimed her mementos from the movie. but rubena who wants to be a movie star one day, says this.

>> translator: i'm very happy. i find nothing difficult because my family is with me. my life is great. i do not need anything.

>> reporter: and azar just a few miles but a world away is determined now to build success for himself and his friends, including rubena whom he calls his sister.

>> i will help them. i will promise i will help them.

>> what the director has done for them is set up a trust that will be theirs when they turn 18. but if they stay in school. ann?

>> michelle, thank you so much.