Rubina Ali

Rubina Ali
Born Rubina Ali
(1999-01-21) 21 January 1999
Occupation Actor
Years active 2008–present

Rubina Ali (born 21 January 1999), also known as Rubina Qureshi, is an Indian child actress who played the child version of Latika in the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire (2008), for which she won a Screen Actors Guild Award. Following the film's success, she was cast in the Bollywood film Kal Kisne Dekha (2009).

Personal life

Like her on-screen character, Rubina came from one of the slums of Mumbai, living in the Garib Nagar slum near Bandra station. She lives with her father Rafiq, her sister Sana, her brother Abbas and her stepmother Munni. Rubina's biological mother, Khurshid (alias Khushi), after divorcing Rafiq, married Monish, a Hindu. Her father married Munni and Rubina was raised by her father and stepmother. Munni has four children from her past marriage – Suraiya, Sanjida, Babu and Irfan.[1][2][3][4]

Following the success of Slumdog Millionaire at the 2009 Academy Awards, the Maharashtra Housing Area Development Authority recommended the children be rehoused, with an official saying the children had "brought laurels to the country" and deserved to be rewarded.[5] On 25 February 2009, the Maharashtra Housing and Development Authority announced that Azharuddin as well as Rubina would be given "free houses" so that they would no longer have to live in the Mumbai slum of Garib Nagar.[6] However Ali remained in a shanty in Garib Nagar until it burned down in March 2011.[7] After taking temporary refuge in rental, Rubina and her family were eventually rehoused in her own flat in the Bandra West suburb of Mumbai, bought for her by the Jai Ho Trust set up by British director Danny Boyle.[8][9]


Rubina's casting in Slumdog Millionaire proved controversial with the producers admitting they debated whether to use real slum children in the film fearing it would distort their lives too much. Director Danny Boyle justified the casting saying: "These people have so much prejudice against them, why should we be prejudiced against them as well?"[10]

Critics have claimed Rubina and her co-star Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail had been underpaid for their part in the film. This has been disputed by the film's producer, who says the actors had been paid the equivalent of a monthly salary payment for the production company's senior staff in Britain. A trust fund has been set up for the children which will be released to them when they turn eighteen, provided they continue in education until this time.[11]

Both Azharuddin and Rubina attended the 81st Academy Awards on 22 February 2009, along with all of the other actors who played Salim, Jamal and Latika. Azharuddin was accompanied by his mother Shameem Ismail, while Rubina was accompanied by her uncle.[12] This was her first journey outside of Mumbai.

In March 2009, Rubina was cast in the Bollywood film Kal Kisne Dekha (2009), alongside her Slumdog Millionaire co-star Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail. The film is being directed by Vivek Sharma and will feature the Bollywood stars Shah Rukh Khan, Rishi Kapoor and Juhi Chawla in cameo roles.[13]

In July 2009, Rubina's autobiography Slumgirl Dreaming was published, detailing her life so far and her experience filming Slumdog Millionaire.

In 2009 Ali announced that she would be starring in the romantic comedy Lord Owen's Lady alongside Anthony Hopkins,[14] but as of 2013 the film has not commenced filming.[15]


According to the United Kingdom newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, Rubina Ali was paid £500 during filming for a month’s work on the film.[16] A Fox Searchlight spokesman responded that for their one-month work on the film, she was paid three times the amount of an average annual salary for an adult living in their neighborhood.[16]

On 26 January 2009, Danny Boyle (director) and Christian Colson (producer) released a written statement saying that they had “paid painstaking and considered attention to how Azhar and Rubina’s involvement in the film could be of lasting benefit to them over and above the payment they received for their work”. Boyle and Colson have stated that they have "set up trust funds for Rubina and Azharuddin and paid for their education," although the exact amount of the trust funds is not known. This has also been met with criticism as there is question as to how children growing up in the slums have any expectation of being able to attend higher education, making the trust fund potentially useless.[16]

Boyle has explained that, "We don't want to reveal exact figures about what's in the trust fund, what's in the bank account for them for when they leave school because it will make them vulnerable and a target really but it is substantial, and they will hopefully gain benefit from the film long after the film has disappeared and long after the media who are chasing them at the moment sadly have lost interest in the film and that's been our approach throughout and I think it's the right approach."[17][18]

Awards and honours




Year Film Role Language Notes
2008 Slumdog Millionaire Younger Latika English and Hindi Slumdog Crorepati in Hindi and Naanum Kodeswaran in Tamil
2009 Kal Kisne Dekha Hindi
2013 La Alfombra Roja herself Hindi and English The Red Carpet in English; documentary short


  1. "I want to stay with dad: Slumdog star Rubina Ali – Mumbai – DNA". 20 April 2009. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  2. "Sell off Rubina? It's a lie: father". Indian Express. 20 April 2009. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  3. "In the belly of iniquity". The Telegraph. Calcutta, India. 26 April 2009.
  4. Ramesh, Randeep (28 February 2009). "Slumdog actor upset at return of her mother". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2 March 2009.
  5. "Slumdog children to be rehoused", BBC News, 25 February 2009.
  6. Serpe, Gina. "Slumdog Kids No Longer Slumming It", E! Online, 25 February 2009.
  7. "Slumdog Millionaire child actress's home in Mumbai fire". BBC News. 5 March 2011.
  8. Slumdog Millionaire' star Rubina Ali's flat in Bandra IBN 16 October 2011
  9. From slums to queen of suburbs, Rubina Ali goes places The Weekend Leader 2 Apr 2012.
  10. "Slumdog stars return to reality" The Sun
  11. "Slumdog Millionaire's child stars to miss Oscars" Daily Telegraph
  12. "Two Mumbai slum kids set for fairytale journey to Oscars". Indo-Asian News Service. 19 February 2009. Retrieved 20 February 2009.
  13. "Azhar and Rubina shoot for movie where Shah Rukh has a cameo". The Siasat Daily. 5 March 2009. Archived from the original on 12 March 2009. Retrieved 5 March 2009.
  14. "Slumdog kids to star alongside Anthony Hopkins". One India. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  15. Baker, Steven. "Slumdog Millionaire's Rubina Ali 'abandoned' by UK director". Digital Spy. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  16. 1 2 3 Dean Nelson and Barney Henderson (26 January 2009). "Slumdog child stars miss out on the movie millions". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 January 2009.
  17. Tapper, Jake. "Slumdog Symphony: A Chat with Danny Boyle". ABC. Retrieved 29 January 2009.
  18. Ahmed, Afsana; Sharma, Smrity (5 March 2009). "From Slumdog to Bollywood". The Times of India. Retrieved 5 March 2009.
  19. "15th Annual SAG Awards, Recipients Announced!". 25 January 2009. Retrieved 25 February 2009.
  20. "Cadillac, Slumdog & Bees are Triple Threats Black Reel Awards". Daily Express. 15 December 2008. Retrieved 23 February 2008.
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