Sunday, March 6, 2011

Slumdog Millionaire star home destroyed

Mumbai: The home of 'Slumdog Millionaire' child star Rubina Ali and her awards won for the Oscar-winning film was destroyed in a major fire that raged through a slum in suburban Bandra in which at least 21 people were injured and rendering over 2,000 people including her family homeless.

"A total of 21 persons including four firemen were injured while fighting the flames which broke out last night. They have been admitted to the Bhabha hospital here," a fire official said. The fire was controlled a little past midnight, the official added.

However, no fatalities were reported so far, the official said, adding over 2,000 people have lost their homes as hundreds of shanties were destroyed in the blaze. The family of 12-year-old Rubina, who played the role of young poverty-stricken Latika in Danny Boyle's celebrated film, watched helplessly as their tin-roofed shack in the crowded slum went up in flames.

Rubina was an eight-year old during the making of the rags-to-riches blockbuster which won eight Oscars in 2009. "We all were at home watching TV, when a neighbour came to alert us about the fire. We all rushed out. We spent the entire night at the railway station. I have lost everything including books and precious belongings like awards, photographs, newspaper clippings and memorabilia from the success of the film," the child artiste said.

                                            Rubina in despair(Photo:Courtesy Allvoices)
"So far nobody has come to help us," she rued. Rubina's father Rafiq said, "We feel relieved to see that all our family members are safe. But all the good memories of my daughter's fame have been reduced to ashes. We have lost everything." The child star said the family was yet to move into a new apartment paid for by a trust set up by the film's director, Danny Boyle.                       

The fire broke out in Garib Nagar slums near Bandra (East) railway station at around 2020 hours yesterday after which 34 fire engines and 16 jumbo water tankers were rushed to the spot. The flames were doused around 12.30 am. The exact cause of the fire has not been established but initial reports say five gas cylinders exploded in the slums due to which the fire spread quickly, the official said. In June 2009, a similar fire broke out in the vicinity of Behrampada, claiming several lives. (PTI)

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