CRY, Sony gift some laughs to less fortunate kids

MUMBAI: It was a promotional exercise with difference. Instead of the usual high tea and starry affair this one involved books and kids.

The NGO Child Relief and You (CRY) and Sony Entertainment Television yesterday arranged a different sort of afternoon for underprivileged children at Crossword - a bookstore at Mahalaxmi in central Mumbai. About 20 children were invited to have a fun-filled afternoon with the cast of Sony's Meri Biwi Wonderful,, a comedy series inspired by Bewitched, an American sitcom.

With two chaperones in tow, the kids were on their best behaviour and reached the venue half an hour early. While the stars were practicing their lines for the skit, the kids had a gala time with the Crossword staff.

Sometime prior to the speeches, the Meri... cast began to chat with the stars of the evening. The kids initially were a bit reserved but veteran actor-comedian Rakesh Bedi and actor Dilip Joshi had them at ease within no time.

While the actors were introducing themselves to the kids, the children added their own unique touch to the proceedings. When asked her name one little girl said she was 'Manisha Koirala' (the Hindi film actress). Other kids, meanwhile, attempted to make funny faces and with the stars tutoring them, some strange sounds as well.

Then came the part where the lead cast comprising Tanaaz Currim, Dilip Joshi, Rakesh Bedi and Rashmi Sharma, enacted their comical skit and had the kids rolling with laughter.

After the short skit Tanaaz continued to regale the little stars with guess what? The fairy tale Cinderella. One chirpy tyke volunteered to help her out with the story. The kids were instantly cued in the animated narration accompanied by sound effects. Later the kids were treated to some goodies from the in house Barista and gifted a few books. The cast bid adieu to the children with a promise to meet them soon. The actors now plan another outing for the kids, this time on the sets where they are shooting.

For the Crossword staff this was nothing new. It has been a regular event at their bookstore and weekly reading sessions for children so as to inculcate reading habits are a regular affair.

The event, though a first attempt made by the channel, is certainly laudable.

All the lead actors of the comedy show present during the show were unanimous that though the attempt to reach out to the unprivileged strata was indeed great a lot more could still be done. "It was an incredible evening but was just a small step, we have just managed to reach out to a few kids" said Rakesh Bedi. 

Mother of a ten-year-old daughter herself, Tanaaz Currim, who plays a fairy in the series, said: "As long as I can remember, I have enjoyed being with kids. I agree that we need to put in more efforts to reach out but we are here to entertain. We definitely do try and infuse certain messages in the stories as long as we do not shift from our main focus that is to entertain the audience."

Rashmi Sharma, who plays Tanaaz's mother, meanwhile said: "I prefer interacting with a few kids and showing them a good time. Gratification is instantaneous."

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