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They have never boarded a plane, lived in a pucca house or attended a proper school. But little Rubina Ali and Azharuddin Ismail will still journey into a star-studded world as they attend the glitzy Oscars ceremony on February 22.
The lives of these Mumbai slum children have taken a fairytale spin just like the story of Slumdog Millionaire, the film by director Danny Boyle that they famously star in and which has bagged 10 nominations at the 81st Academy Awards.
On Thursday, they will fly off to walk the red carpet and rub shoulders with the who's who of Hollywood at the Oscars.
"I think we will win all the awards. We will win 10 out of 10," Azharuddin, 10, who essayed the role of a young Salim, the protagonist's brother, told a news channel.
Rubina, 9, who played young Latika, added: "I don't know anything now. I will see what happens there."
Just a few days back, their dream to attend one of the most glamorous events of the world was jeopardised by their poverty stricken life. Their parents were not keen on sending them to the Oscars and instead wanted the plane fare to be utilised for other necessities.
However, after a change of plan, Rubina will be escorted by her uncle and Azharuddin will be accompanied by his mother to the event.
"I was thinking that I would love to go but never thought this will come true through Rubina," said Rubina's uncle.
Echoing similar sentiments, Azharuddin's mother expressed good wishes for the director.
Not many moons ago these kids from the stark, dingy bylanes of a Mumbai slum only dreamt of living a comfortable life. And with ailing parents and hardly any money for survival, that seemed far from reality. But today they have been catapulted to celebrity status not only in their locality but in the entire world.
Their dreams have changed too. Rubina and Azharuddin now want to become actors even though they continue to live in their makeshift homes in a slum in the Bandra neighbourhood. Thanks to the director, they are also going to a proper school and might move into better houses soon.
For these two, a life out of the slum will be a long journey encompassing hardships, but with this opportunity they will get to enjoy the best of the world.
Another kid, Mozhim Shakim Sheikh Qureshi, who played a cripple in the movie, however, was not as lucky as his friends. The 13-year-old got injured while jumping off a train. His left arm is badly damaged and will take at least a month for him to recover.

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