First, a trailer…

The Browser: News & links to raise your eyebrows & furrow your brow. New headlines may be added as the day goes on. Stay tuned.

Neil Jordan to direct Neil Gaiman‘s Newbery-Award-Winning The Graveyard Book.”

Don’t worry. There are no zombies ahead.

The new era of HOPE is over. Remember that “sinking boat” that was “pointed home” and “still had time”? It sank.

Week-old, but still good: Christopher Orr on why this is a bad, bad year for the Oscars.

Were the children in Slumdog Millionaire exploited?

… the reality of life for Rubina Ali and Azharuddin Ismail is far closer to that of the characters they play in the story of love, violent crime and extreme poverty in India.

The child actors’ parents have accused the hit film’s producers of exploiting and underpaying the eight-year-olds, disclosing that both face uncertain futures in one of Mumbai’s most squalid slums.

Slumdog Millionaire has won four Golden Globes and is nominated for 10 Oscars. It is on its way to making hundreds of millions of pounds in box office receipts.

The film’s British director, Danny Boyle, has spoken of how he set up trust funds for Rubina and Azharuddin and paid for their education. But it has emerged that the children, who played Latika and Salim in the early scenes of the film, were paid less than many Indian domestic servants.

Rubina was paid £500 for a year’s work while Azharuddin received £1,700, according to the children’s parents.
However a spokesman for the film’s American distributors, Fox Searchlight, disputed this saying the fees were more than three times the average annual salary an adult in their neighbourhood would receive. They would not disclose the actual sum.

Both children were found places in a local school and receive £20 a month for books and food. However, they continue to live in grinding poverty and their families say they have received no details of the trust funds set up in their names. Their parents said that they had hoped the film would be their ticket out of the slums, and that its success had made them realise how little their children had been paid.

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