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Monday, April 20, 2009

Price of Young Actor - $296,000

British newspaper News of the World claims that Rafiq Qureshi, father to nine-year-old Ali, offered to sell the little actress to a "fake sheik" planted by the paper.

"I have to consider what's best for me, my family and Rubina's future," Qureshi, who lives in the poverty-stricken area of Mumbai, reportedly told the undercover operative. "We've got nothing out of this film."

News of the World claims that its reporters posed as a wealthy family from Dubai. According to the paper, the offer to the undercover reporters wasn't the first one he made.

"They were approached by one wealthy Middle Eastern family who saw their plight in an item on Al Jazeera TV. The couple expressed an interest in adopting young Rubina and her parents' eyes lit up," says the paper's informant. "But the approach has made Rafiq very greedy and he has said that he will consider the highest offer for his child. But they realize that the money will soon stop coming in and Rafiq is open to all offers."

The paper's representative claims to have approached Quershi as a representative of a Dubai family looking to adopt Ali. He says the he was originally quoted a fee of 50,000 British pounds to "for this to happen." However, upon personal contact, the price allegedly jumped to 200,000 British pounds.

Justifying the inflated price tag, Qureshi's brother, Mohiuddin, supposedly declared, "The child is special now. This is NOT an ordinary child. This is an Oscar child!"

Slumdog Millionaire, in which Ali had starred as youngest Latika, won an Oscar for best picture, along with seven other Academy Awards.

Last week, it was announced that the producers of the film will be donating $742,000 to help the children of Mumbai, and have set up a separate trust to provide for Ali and costar Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail's healthcare and education.

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