NDTV channels to air I-Day mega show with Aamir - tribute to Kargil soldiers

MUMBAI: Bollywood biggie Aamir Khan is the star attraction for an exclusive Independence Day show Jai Jawan that will be telecast on NDTV 24x7 and NDTV India on 15 August.

The Independence Day special on the sibling news channels doffs its cap to the Hollywood tradition of stars visiting American troops in far flung regions to boost their morale. NDTV promoter Dr Prannoy Roy thought of the idea and approached Aamir six months ago, say informed sources.

Bollywood Superstar Aamir Khan has done a Lagaan for the soldiers in Kargil.

The two-hour show, which has Aamir teaming up with NDTV news anchor and presenter Barkha Dutt, was shot over five days in the Himalayan heights of the Dras and Kargil sectors on the Pakistan border.

A highlight of the Independence Day event is a cricket match a la Aamir's celebrated film Lagaan and a full-scale live entertainment show by the star to a gathering of soldiers from units all over Kargil.

The cricket match was held at Mogulpura in Kargil - at a height of 11,000 feet. Aamir leads a team of soldiers - the Lagaan XI against the officers - the Ladakh Scouts team. And for the winners - bats autographed by cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar and the actor himself.

During Aamir's five days in Kargil, he mixed freely with the soldiers, exchanging anecdotes and bringing them surprise gifts and video messages from their families, informed sources say.

Aamir's visit involved interaction with the soldiers in their daily routines, sharing early breakfast and a night in a bunker at the barracks of a regular unit at the front.

Bollywood stars meeting the troops at the frontlines is not a first. The likes of Nana Patekar (in particular), Suneil Shetty, Raveena Tandon and Shilpa Shetty have done it before, but never on this scale.

The ratings the Jai Jawan show garners will be worth tracking, for this is the kind of show that could have as well been pitched on a mainstream entertainment channel. Whatever it delivers on the ratings scale, there is no denying that this is a one-of-a-kind event and a first for Indian television.

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