By: Upala KBR, Mid-Day
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Aamir Khan is known to be associated with serious causes and this year he decided to celebrate Children"s Day with children from Pratham. Ashok Gaitonde, the Chief Finance Officer of Pratham says, “Since its inception, the goal of the Pratham team has been to ensure that every child is in school and is learning well.
Pratham"s ultimate aim is to get every child rescued from zardozi and leather industries into the education net, thereby eliminating child labour.
The children entertained Aamir with songs and dances. The actor greeted each child personally. The show kicked off with the kids singing, Hum nanhe munhe hai. Aamir got emotional and tears rolled down his cheeks when they sang Maiyya Meri Kahe Toh Mujhko Mumbai Bhejna. Later he told us, “I was very moved by the song. I love interacting with children as they treat me normally and never like a star." Later, Aamir answered questions asked about himself and films. One child asked him about the problem with his brother Faisal, to which Aamir replied, “All brothers fight. That"s part of being a family where you love each other and I love my brother Faisal very much."
A short encounter with the reclusive Aamir Khan follows:
Tell us about your association with Pratham.
This is not the first time I have done it. Last month, I spent some time with cancer patients. If I can make people happy by spending time with them, it"s the least I can do. I do feel there are lots of issues related to children like child labor, basic health care and malnutrition. Pratham is fighting against the lack of education in children. I have been involved with a cause supported by MPs where different political parties have crossed over political boundaries to raise their voice against malnutrition of children.
How long have you been supporting their cause?
For more than three years. Waheedaji (Rehman) put me onto it when she asked me to be part of their activities. During Rang De Basanti, I was involved with their fund-raiser in London. After that, I stayed in touch. I have always been there for their fund-raising activities, and spending time with the children whenever they"ve wanted me to be.
Will you show them Taare Zameen Par?
Yes, but it"s not just them. I want to have special screenings for as many children as
Is your fondness for children the reason you made TZP?
I feel very strongly about children. The issue of children and their childhood have always troubled me. There are so many children who are not economically well-off and suffer so much in life. So when the TZP script came along, I didn"t hesitate to do it. The film is about children and childcare which I feel strongly about.
Any message for the children of India on Chindren"s Day?
I want to tell all children that every child is special and that they should believe in themselves. There is some great quality in every child whether that be sports, music, education, painting, dancing etc. Har bachche mein ek khaas baat hai… and we should encourage our children to bloom and feel good about themselves.
What message do you give your children (Junaid and Ira)?
I tell them to believe in themselves and follow their hearts. I want them to be happy. I want all children in this world to be happy.