Salaam Bombay!, directed by Mira Nair, was released in 1988. It won the Audience Award at Cannes and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.
Roger Ebert's review for the Chicago Sun Times describes the genesis of the film:
The history of the making of "Salaam Bombay!" is almost as interesting as the film itself. The filmmakers gathered a group of the street children of Bombay and talked with them about their experiences, visiting the streets and train stations, bazaars and red-light districts where many of them lived. Out of these interviews emerged a screenplay that was a composite of several lives.
Then many of the children were enlisted for weeks in a daily workshop, not to teach them "acting" (for that they already knew from hundreds of overacted Indian film melodramas), but to teach them how to behave naturally in front of the camera.
Out of those workshops a cast gradually emerged, and it was clear almost from the start that the star was an 11-year-old street child named Shafiq Syed, whose history was unknown, but who proved to be such a natural filmmaker that he sometimes reminded the directors of errors in continuity.
One of the questions asked, but not answered, by the film is, what should be done about these children?
At one point Chaipau and some friends are rounded up by the police and herded into a large institution that combines the worst features of an orphanage and a prison, but that doesn't seem to be the answer, and we are left with the troubling impression that in Bombay, at any event, the children seem to fare better on the streets. There they have an identity, and a measure of hope.
Of course, in the best of possible worlds something would be "done" about them, but "Salaam Bombay!" takes place far from such a world, and the movie is about children doing the best they can for themselves.
It sounds as though Slumdog Millionaire does this. Maybe it will prove to be a less satisfactory film as a result?