A couple of school children from Sikkim, in northern India, one of whom is a Lepcha girl, have had the chance to meet a prominent Bollywood actor and film an advertisement with him. The two kids are celebrities in their school in the town of Melli, Sikkim, which is just a few miles north of Kalimpong.
According to a news story last week in The Telegraph of Calcutta, Ranbir Kapoor, a successful 30-year old actor from Mumbai, and a group of schoolchildren from several parts of India, gathered together to participate in filming an advertisement about the importance of kids getting an education. Lakhit Lepcha, a 14-year old girl, and her younger classmate, Abhishek Rai, 11, took a train to Mumbai to do the filming. The principal of their school, Sekhar Chettri, accompanied them on the trip.
Mr. Chettri gained recongnition for his program at the Melli Gumpa Government Secondary School by sending a report about it to the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, an agency that promotes the universal availability of elementary education in India. After he submitted his report, the agency informed him that his school had been selected to be featured as part of the ad extolling the benefits of education.
A film crew from Mumbai visited Melli in April to spend a few days filming in the school. After some screen tests, the two children were selected to do the filming with the famous actor in the big city. On May 3, the two, plus the principal, took a train to Mumbai, the first ever train ride by the youngsters.
Lakhit told her school when she returned, “it was an amazing experience to work with Ranbir Kapoor. I have seen him only on television but performing with him was like a dream come true.” The kids said that Ranbir asked them about their hobbies and about the state where they lived. He also played some soccer with them. Officials from the government Human Resources Development Ministry stayed with the children in their Mumbai hotel.
Mr. Chettri asked the two kids to write their impressions of the trip in a journal so they could share their experiences with the school when they returned to Sikkim. Both children are from farming families. The day after they returned to Melli, the two read their accounts to the school. Lakhit indicated that her friends quizzed her exhaustively about Ranbir—how handsome he is, his height, and his dance moves.
The ad, filmed in Bandra, a suburb of Mumbai, includes a scene of the actor and the kids talking about the importance of education. Needless to say, a dance and a song is also part of the ad—“listen to the school bell, the school is calling you.” The ad will be aired next month.