'Slumdog Millionaire' Kids Remember 2009 Oscars: Bodyguards, Brad Pitt and Rushing the Stage (Video)
It's been five years since the kid actors of Slumdog Millionaire took the Oscars by storm -- mingling with Brad Pitt and storming the stage after the film's best picture win.
As part of its oversized Oscars issue, The Hollywood Reporter tracked down six of the young actors for a reunion.
The formidable logistics of organizing the reunion were spearheaded by senior writer Seth Abramovitch and photo editor Audrey Landreth, who worked with photographers Joao Canziani and Mumbai-based Colston Julian.
Abramovitch located Tanay Chheda, 17, who portrayed the film’s hero, Jamal Malik, as a preteen (Dev Patel played the older version), at Choate Rosemary Hall prep school in Wallingford, Conn.
Chheda speaks fondly of mingling with stars like Anne Hathaway at the 2009 Oscars ceremony.
"Even 50 years, 60 years down the line, all of these experiences are definitely going to be super-fresh in my mind. It was something that really, really touched me," Chheda says. He now often notices people recognizing him and trying to place where they know him from.
To find the other young stars, Abramovitch coordinated with THR India correspondent Nyay Bhushan, who flew from Delhi to Mumbai to track them down.
“The entire story was shot with no permits and a lot of logistics with a base team of 25 people,” says Julian. “One challenge was to not attract a huge crowd, such as shooting in busy locations like a Mumbai train,” says Bhushan. When the father of one alumnus, Ayush Khedekar (youngest Jamal), initially refused to allow his son to attend the shoot while studying for exams, Julian convinced him to change his mind.
More than five years after Slumdog’s release, Tanvi Lonkar, who played Latika (middle version), Jamal’s love interest, is pursuing a Ph.D. Azharuddin Ismail and Rubina Ali, whose impoverishment incited critical media coverage following the film’s win for best picture, are beneficiaries of Slumdog best director winner Danny Boyle’s educational trust.
Lonkar remembers the actors having bodyguards for the Oscars, while the other stars share how Slumdog changed their lives.
"I used to live in a slum. Now I live in a nice apartment in Mumbai's Santa Cruz area and go to a good school," says Ismail.
Gathering the Slumdog actors was just one of three stirring reunions THR undertook for the Oscars issue. Click here to catch up with the descendants of real-life 12 Years a Slave protagonist Solomon Northup, and check back with THR.com on Friday for an unprecedented gathering of best picture-winning and -nominated producers spanning more than four decades, including Walter Mirisch (In the Heat of the Night), Robert Evans (Chinatown), Mel Gibson (Braveheart) and 2014 nominees Richard Suckle (American Hustle) and Rachel Winter and Robbie Brenner (Dallas Buyers Club).