|HOME | MOVIES | NEWS|
|February 21, 2001||
Mission Kashmir for Hrithik!
Aparajita Saha in Bombay
The city has 78 young visitors from the Kashmir Valley. They are currently recuperating from the thrill of meeting heartthrob Hrithik Roshan.
After all, it isn't every day that these children get an opportunity to forget the grim realities of life as they know it. They are no ordinary children either -- they are orphaned offsprings of civilians who succumbed in encounters between the army and the militants.
The meeting, which was scheduled for noon in Filmistan, eventually took place at four. But it was well worth the wait for Hrithik not only spent over an hour-and-a-half with the kids, he also spoke to each of them individually and gifted them autographed pictures of himself.
Dnyanesh Maharao, editor, Chitralekha, who was also involved in the project, says, "Hrithik had initially invited all the children to his house. But they left Pune late so we changed the venue to Filmistan. We thought he would spend around five minutes with them. But when he heard about their background, he insisted on speaking to each and every one of them.
"He asked them about their life in the valley, which of his films they liked and whether they knew any of his dialogues or songs. Then, he personally wrote their names on his pictures and signed it for them."
The children have already covered Pune where they saw the National Defense Academy and met musicians Naushad Ali and Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, some military officers and social activists.
"Panditji told the kids that he was from Kashmir and some of the kids were from his village there. He spoke to them for a long while about Kashmir," Maharao said.
"We want the children to get a taste of what normal life is. We don't want them to grow up bitter and think that the situation in Kashmir is what their life has to be like. Many of the kids wanted to join the army after visiting the NDA.
"Our aim is that they return home determined to lead a regular life and tell everyone there that there is a life beyond Kashmir, and that one day Kashmir will also return to normal.
"They have been in touch with various educational counselors. This should instill in them a desire to make something of themselves."
The children will visit the Nehru Science Centre, Gateway of India, Taraporevala Aquarium and Kamla Nehru Park. The Mayor of Bombay has arranged a tea party in the Mayor's Bungalow on the evening of February 21. The children also met the State Home Minister Krupa Shankar.
"These kids are used to the mountains but the sea is new to them. So we are taking them out for a boat ride in Gateway," says Maharao.
Sarhad, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) based in Pune, is behind this trip. The organisation, a brainchild of Sanjay Nahar, coordinated with the Kashmiri Yateem Trust and Rural Mission Public School in Kashmir.
Tell us what you think of this feature
ASTROLOGY | NEWSLINKS | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEDDING | ROMANCE | WEATHER | WOMEN | E-CARDS |
HOMEPAGES | FREE MESSENGER | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK