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‘Slumdog’ celebrations fill Mumbai’s slums

By Sam Dolnick

Associated Press

MUMBAI, India — In the narrow lanes behind the Mumbai train tracks, the slum’s first Oscar party turned into a raucous celebration of hometown heroes, complete with Bollywood dance moves and squeals of joy from old friends.

Every time the big-eyed girl who calls this slum home appeared on TV, her friends gawked, beamed, shouted — and danced.

Rubina Ali, 9, was plucked from the tin roof shack she shares with her parents and six siblings in this squalid Mumbai slum to star in "Slumdog Millionaire," the darling of this year’s Academy Awards.

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Her friend and neighbor, Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, 10, was also chosen for the film, and both were flown to Los Angeles to watch "Slumdog" nab eight Academy Awards, including the Oscars’ highest honor for best film.

Crowds gathered around the few television sets in the slum and it took barely a minute for word of each award to spread through the slum’s winding lanes.

Neighbors said they were nothing but happy for the child actors.

"It’s Rubina’s fate," said Mohammed Muzzammil, 22. "We don’t want anything from her success."

Rubina’s best friend Saba Qureshi wants something, however — lots of stories and pictures from Los Angeles.

"My eyes couldn’t believe that I was seeing Rubina in America," said Saba. "She looked like an angel."

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