NDTV's 'Jai Jawan' with Aishwarya in Siachen to mark beginning of a new series

MUMBAI: Shahrukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Aamir Khan, Rani Mukerji, Johnny Lever and many others have brought sunshine in the otherwise mundane lives of the Indian soldiers when NDTV's Jai Jawan took them to interact with the soldiers. Now it's Aishwarya Rai's turn to do a 'Daiya Daiya' for the jawans in Siachen. What's the big deal, one would ask. Here's what... Siachen is 14,000 feet above sea level and the temperature there is a freezing -15° C! What's more Rai is the first woman to be allowed in Siachen.     

This episode of Jai Jawan will be aired on New Year's eve and this was the first time that NDTV took their satellite along with them for direct uplinking. This episode will also mark the beginning of a new series of Jai Jawan.

NDTV India's anchor Panjak Pachauri, who accompanies Rai to Siachen informs that their unit took four tonnes of equipment along with them for this shoot. This comprised five cameras, three kilometer-long wires, satellite dish, 16 TV monitors, lights, switches... the works! A helicopter and two army trucks were borrowed to carry the equipment to Siachen apart from the other seven - four wheel drives, that were required to transport the 11 crew members to the location. Rai traveled to Siachen from Mumbai in the cockpit of the helicopter and stayed in Siachen with the jawans for two days.

The satellite dish that the crew carried with them was used to communicate live with the families and friends of the soldiers who resided in villages and towns near Haryana and Delhi. The soldiers and Rai interacted with the families. This is the first time that NDTV carried a satellite dish with them on Jai Jawan. One hitch although, was that at -15° C, the satellite dish froze and kerosene stoves had to be used to heat the satellite and get it working again. Apart from that, a few crew members had breathing problems as a result of which, one of them even had to be hospitalised and another two were put on Oxygen.

Rai, on the other hand, was her usual bubbly self and had loads of fun with the jawans. She danced on the song 'Daiya Daiya Re' from her movie Dil Ka Rishta and 'Nimbuda Nimbuda' from Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. This was probably the first ever stage show that was done in Siachen. The sporting Rai also joined the jawans during lunch and dinner.

Pachauri who was with her throughout said, "Aishwarya is very sporting and has no starry airs about her. She enjoyed the food from the army canteen and sat with the soldiers to eat. She also performed in front of the 1000 odd jawans on two songs." The NDTV crew carried 20 of her movie songs along with them to Siachen.

While, this episode will mark the beginning of a new series of Jai Jawan, NDTV has already drawn out a list of stars, who will be accompanying them to the remote areas where Indian soldiers live a solitary life. Says Pachauri, "With the new series, we are just pushing the border further and that makes it that much more challenging for us."

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