The Unlikely Stars of 'Slumdog Millionaire'

Cheddha was initially asked to try out for the role, but he missed the audition. Then, eight months later, he was in his classroom when a casting director came to his school to find boys to play a movie role.

"I said, 'Sure what is this for?" and then 'Oooooh this is the thing that I had eight months earlier,'" says Cheddha. "Then in a couple of days I auditioned in front of Danny and got the job and started shooting."

Like Pinto, he is also from Mumbai, although his experience is very different. Cheddha lives in an affluent part of the city and has little experience with beggars and street children. He is grateful for the opportunity to see the sections of Mumbai that he barely knew existed.

"At first I thought it was dirty because there was s*** all over, but it was really good to see them, seeing them was a completely different thing," he says.

Mia Inderbitzin plays the role of the American tourist Adele. She lived in India as a child and now lives in New Delhi.

Originally, Inderbitzin received a call from a casting director asking her to come to an audition. She assumed it was for a Bollywood film and was unaware of Boyle's involvement.

"I was supposed to go to a tennis match with my husband, but I ditched him," she says.

The audition went well and she was called back to audition for Boyle. At the point, she was asked if her husband acted so they could play the roles of a tourist couple at the Taj Mahal in Agra. Her husband does not act, but works in film. They tried out together.

"It was a great, lovely experience," she says. But "we didn't hear from them."

So that was that, she thought, until Inderbitzin and her husband were in Japan on a ski vacation.

"I got a call that said 'So we'll see you next week in Agra.'" It was a Friday night and they wanted us to be there on Tuesday for the shoot," Inderbitzin said. "At this point my husband had a 'real' job…so he had to bail out, but I said I'm still doing it. We flew back from Japan and they flew me out the next day to Agra."

"After my first audition, they gave me the script and I read the script and I loved it and, having lived in Mumbai, I told Danny how accurate it is, depressing and amazing. I really connected with it."

"You know Danny Boyle makes great movies so I wouldn't expect less from him," she said. "But you never know."

The film has aroused some controversy in India. Today, the Press Trust of India reported that Tapeshwar Vishwakarma, the general secretary of the Mumbai Slum-dwellers Joint Action Committee, has filed a defamation case in a local court against Bollywood star Anil Kapoor, who plays the gameshow host in the film, and Indian composer A. R. Rahman, who scored the film.

Vishwakarma alleged that the film portrays slum-dwellers in bad taste by calling them slum dogs. The hearing is due to take place on February 5.

"Slumdog Millionaire" opens in India on January 23.

Ammu Kannampilly contributed to the reporting of this story.

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