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April 20, 2009

Slumdog's Young Star for Sale?

British tabloid says her dad tried to sell her for millions, but he denies it

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News of the World claims that the father of Slumdog Millionaire child star Rubina Ali tried to sell his 9-year-old daughter to become a millionaire himself.

The British tabloid got the alleged story by having a reporter pose as an Arab "sheik," from whom the girl's father supposed demanded millions of Indian rupees--worth about $300,000 in the U.S.

NOTW quoted the father, Rafiq Qureshi, as saying he wanted his family to escape Mumbai's slums, adding, "I have to consider what's best for me, my family and Rubina's future."

But People magazine says Qureshi refutes the report, saying it was a "lie made up by foreign journalists playing games with me."

He told People there had been an offer but insisted that he had feigned interest out of politeness: "In India, you never say 'no' directly, least of all to guests. You try not to offend people by refusing to help. They said they were childless and desperately fond of Rubina after seeing her in the film. I felt sorry for them, but I was never going to give her up."

Slumdog Millionaire won Best Picture and other awards at this year's Oscars.

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