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|May 29, 2000||
Now, it's H for Hrithik!!
Hrithik fever seems to get more contagious by the day. From coke commercials to celebrity cricket matches, whatever this young lad does seems to hit the headlines. Surprisingly enough, no one can get enough of him. And now that our cricketing stars have been shown wallowing through muck, the craze for this young star is only expected to increase.
Cashing in on the handsome hunk's unfathomable success are film producer Subhash Sharma and Amrut Shah, chairman and managing director, Sundaram Multi Pap Ltd. Thanks to the efforts of these two, Hrithik will now be with the young 'uns, everyday -- at least on their long books.
Twelve personally autographed poster pictures of Hrithik in all his different avatars -- from the clean-shaven, suave, suited gentleman to the sporty, car-crazy muscleman -- will now adorn the covers of school notebooks.
Additional incentives include allowing kids to mail their views to Hrithik directly through the complimentary fan club cards that are provided along with the book. The back cover of the book has six more pictures of Hrithik, along with a few personal facts and words of Hrithik wisdom: "To dream of the person you would like to be is a waste of the person you are," is a prime example.
Educationists, though, are not too crazy about the Hrithikmania pervading the country. Said a 24-year-old fifth grade teacher, who wishes to remain anonymous, "I am a big Bollywood movie buff, but I do think they are taking this craze thing a little too far this time. They don't understand that kids today are very impressionable, particularly where filmstars are concerned."
She goes on to cite an example. "I had five boys in my class who, after watching the movie, picked up eyeglasses from the roadside without their parents knowledge and wore them to class. And they did this only because Hrithik wore similar spectacles in the second half of Kaho Naa…Pyaar Hai. It's fun when things like this happen in a film but, in real life, it's absolute stupidity."
"Posters of any filmstars, especially on school books, encourage youngsters to fantasise about a make-believe world. Hrithik may be a great guy but what people fail to see is that the kids identify with his character in the film, not with him as a real person. This sends out wrong messages to children. We teachers try very hard to get students to pay attention in class and we really don't need to deal with such added distractions."
"If people need to make learning more fun, why would I stop them? Let's have real life heroes on our book covers, if we must -- Sachin, Sampras, Michael Jordan -- not imaginary ones!"
Larissa Mendes, a seventh grader can't figure out what the fuss is all about, "What's my book cover got to do with my math?" she asks, perplexed. "I'd go ahead and buy the book, it looks like a fun book to own." She does admit, however, that many of her pals would swoon over the pictures. "A lot of girls are Hrithik crazy, so this could be distraction for them. I wouldn't even bother with the fan club card."
She also narrates incidents where girls have scratched Hrithik's initials on their wrists with their geometry compasses and how searches are conducted in class to nab traders of Hrithik posters and picture postcards.
College kids seriously didn't give a damn, though they agreed that younger kids would definitely be under Hrithik's influence.
Hrithik-fan or Hrithik-foe, you simply can't ignore Hrithikisis -- the epidemic can't contain itself. In Bombay recently, kids refused to drink Pepsi preferring to remain parched in support of the star. This, apparently, was their form of protest against the recent Pepsi ad-film that poked fun at him. The generation next were hurt and their little dils didn't want any more of the right choice.
Calcutta is victim to Roshan's spell too. Calcutta police are reported to have caught at least a dozen teenagers trying to take a flight or a train to Bombay after Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai created a storm in the city's cinemas. Principals of Calcutta schools are considering putting Hrithik to some constructive and educative use.
One school principal felt students would understand history, geography, and biology better if they were linked to film stars! "For instance, students could be told that the capital of Maharashtra was Bombay, from where Hrithik hails, or the longest bone in Hrithik Roshan's body was the femur."
H for House? Not any more! Now, it's H for Hrithik!!
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