The child actors from Slumdog Millionaire are not your typical movie stars. They didn't grow up in Bel Air, they don't attend posh private schools, nor do they hang out with other celebrities. They grew up in the slums of Mumbai, and one lucky break got them a trip to Los Angeles, a walk down the most glamorous red carpet, and a trip to Disneyland.
After a whirlwind trip to Hollywood, 10 year-old Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail and his nine-year-old co-star Rubina Ali returned to Mumbai as movie stars only to be depressed about their current living situations.
"I don't want to sleep on the floor anymore. I want a proper bed and live where the air does not smell of poo. I have seen what it is like in America. Here, there is garbage everywhere, people get angry, swear and shout. I have realized how bad life is here. I just want to get out," Rubina declared when she returned.
Ask Anil Kapoor, who acts in the Oscar winning movie, to get his thoughts on the how the success of the movie will impact the young stars.
"I spoke to all the parents over there, I told them they shouldn't focus on getting the children more roles, but focus on education instead," Kapoor said during an exclusive one-on-one interview at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.
"If they do more and more films as child actors, they become slightly lost," adding that he "only did one film as a child, but fortunately it didn't get released."
But he confessed that he wouldn't be surprised if after they finish their education, they make a return to the big screen.
"I wouldn't be surprised if during the 100th anniversary of the Oscars, they pick up an award for Best Actor or Best Actress," Anil said.
In response to the reports that Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, who plays the youngest version of the main character's brother Salim, got slapped by his father for being "too jet lagged" to work, Anil said, "Sometimes there is a lot of speculation and sometimes there are things that are really blown out of proportion. I don't believe everything I read, but I'll see it with my own eyes soon. I'm going to send a good press release (to the States) to clear things up."
While the child stars are having a difficult time readjusting to life in the slums, government aides have stepped in to provide proper housing for Mumbai's newest stars.
"I think the government has really given them a lot of respect, love and recognition," said Kapoor. "Two of them are getting new houses. Everyone is getting a lot as far as education is concerned too. They'll be well taken care of," Anil assures Slumdog fans, "trust me!"
While Anil doesn't believe that Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail and Rubina Ali should go back into acting, he would love to see them make a cameo on Who Wants to be a Millionaire: Slumdog edition.
Ideally, he insists, he would want "Frieda Pinto in the hot seat," and he thinks she should be able to "call the kids" as her lifeline. "I think it'll be more exciting," he joked. "Don't you think?"