Page last updated at 19:31 GMT, Friday, 29 May 2009 20:31 UK

Slumdog stars 'to get new homes'

Rubina Ali stands in front of her demolished shanty in Mumbai
Rubina Ali has been forced to move in with relatives

The government of the Indian state of Maharashtra has announced it will give new homes to the two child stars of the Slumdog Millionaire film.

The announcement by the state's top official creates the possibility that the homeless pair will own two flats.

On Thursday, director Danny Boyle said a trust he had set up had bought a new home for one of the child stars, Azharuddin Ismail.

He said that another should soon be found for girl star Rubina Ali.

'Too small'

Rubina, 9, and Azharuddin, 10, both lost their homes this month when the Mumbai (Bombay) authorities demolished parts of their slum.

Azharuddin Ismail
Azharuddin Ismail may end up owning two properties

The Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Ashok Chavan, said he had approved the transfer of two government apartments to the children on Friday to "enable them to live a life of dignity".

But correspondents say their former neighbours in the slums will not be so lucky.

"Slumdog Millionaire has won Oscar recognition," Mr Chavan told the Associated Press.

"We thought this would be a proper thing to honour these children acting in the film. It would be a good gesture on the part of the government."

However the mother of Azharuddin, Shamin Ismail, told the BBC that the apartment being offered by the government was in an unsuitable location away from the rest of her family - in the far western suburb of Malad.

"Our family may grow and it would be better if we had a bigger house," she said. "My son worked very hard during the making of the film so it's only fair if he gets bigger accommodation."

'Glamorous world'

Mr Boyle, who has been criticised for not helping the child actors enough, on Thursday blamed the press for raising their expectations.

Danny Boyle. Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail and Rubina Ali
Danny Boyle set up a trust which is supposed to look after the child stars

"Inevitably, the tension and pressure is media generated," he said.

He said he hoped a new home would also be found for Rubina Ali, who played Latika, before the monsoon rains in June.

"They were given access to a world, an extraordinary and glamorous world, and they understandably want their lives to be completely transformed," he said.

Earlier this month, the authorities tore the children's slum homes down.

Since then Rubina has been staying with relatives and Azharuddin has been living in a makeshift shanty with his parents.

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