She may be only nine years old, but Slumdog Millionaire actress Rubina Ali has made history by becoming the youngest person to ‘write’ an autobiography. In her new book Slumgirl Dreaming: Journey to the Stars, the child star gives an insight from her rise from the slums of Mumbai to Hollywood fame and back again.
She also gives her opinion on ’strange’ Nicole Kidman, who she starred alongside in a soft drinks advertisement.
In the 192 page book written by journalist Divya Dugar, who spent the past six months following Rubina, only 24 pages feature her pre-Slumdog life. As well talking about making the multi Oscar-winning film and the recent demolition of her home in the Mumbai slums, Rubina also discusses her more recent acting job.
Rubina was reportedly paid more than her Slumdog salary for three days work on a French Schweppes advert, which she filmed on location in India with Nicole. Rubina played a small child enchanted with Nicole’s Indian princess character in the bizarre ad’s confusing plotline.
Despite sharing a trailer together, Rubina admitted she didn’t get to know the Australian actress very well. In the book, she said: ‘I really liked her, but she was very quiet and didn’t speak much. I think she was a bit shy.’
She goes on to describe the actress as ’strange’ because she refused to come out of her trailer over the whole shoot, seemingly afraid of the sun on her alabaster complexion.
Rubina was discovered by director Danny Boyle when he auditioned hundreds of children from the Mumbai slums last year and cast her as the younger version of Freida Pinto’s character Latika.
In the book, Rubina admitted the success of the film hasn’t changed her life so much, because she returned to the slums again after attending the Oscars in Hollywood March. But she admits she now has higher standards of hygiene and will walk a long distance to find a pay-for toilet rather than urinate by the railway tracks like she used to.
The book’s writer Divya said: ‘She knows a lot more about the world beyond the slum. She has seen what life is like for the rich. She has seen the other side of the picture and knows now that life can be better.’
Rubina’s father Rafiq also vehemently denies reports he tried to cash in on his daughter’s movie fame by offering to ’sell’ her for £200,000.
Divya added: ‘She has a blind faith in her family, she thinks they couldn’t have done anything to harm her.’
Rubina is now living at an uncle’s house after her shanty home was demolished by Indian authorities in May. The youngster admitted she doesn’t known where her Slumdog salary has gone, but a lot of it is believed to have funded her father’s medical treatment for a broken ankle.
She said: ‘I’m not sure I got all of it, or where it has all gone.’
Thanks to a trust set up by Boyle and the Slumdog producers, Rubina and co-star Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail are attending school and are having homes built for them.