Sikkim schoolkids’ ad brush with Ranbir – Two children shoot education commercial with Bollywood star in Mumbai

The Telegraph

NIRMAL MANGAR

(From left) Ranbir Kapoor, school children Lakhit Lepcha, Abhishek Rai and school principal Sekhar Chettri in Mumbai.

Gangtok, May 13: Lakhit Lepcha and Abhishek Rai feel like minor celebrities in their own school. After all, they just returned after shooting an advertisement with Ranbir Kapoor.

“What does he look like…. Is Ranbir tall? Is he actually as good looking as he looks in the movies?” These are questions that 14-year-old Lakhit and 11-year-old Abhishek have been asked repeatedly by classmates.

The two students of Melli Gumpa Government Secondary School were among a handful of kids from other parts of India who sang and danced with Ranbir for the ad stressing the importance of education.

The bonus — Ranbir played soccer with them and took a picture.

All this would perhaps not have been possible if the school had not sent its report to the Sikkim Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan office.

“We had sent a report of the school’s activities to the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan division of the Sikkim government after they told us to submit the details. We got a message later from the department that our school had been selected to feature in an ad,” said Sekhar Chettri, the principal who accompanied the kids to Mumbai.

A team from Mumbai visited the school in April and spent a few days filming on the school premises, in the classrooms and library. They also did screen tests on the students.

“After a screen test, the two students were selected to act with Ranbir,” Chhetri said.

On May 3, Lakhit and Abhishek left for Mumbai by train — this as their first train journey.

“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,” Lakhit, who is in Class VII, said.

Class IV student Abhishek said: “We took the first train ride of our life. Mumbai is a big city and we enjoyed working with Ranbir.”

The kids said Ranbir asked them about their state and what hobbies they had. He also played soccer with them.

The HRD ministry accommodated the children in a hotel in Mumbai.

For Lakhit and Abhishek, both children of small farmers, this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Principal Chhetri had told them to record all the details of the trip in a diary, so they could read it out to the school in the assembly.

A day after the two returned to Melli, in south Sikkim, on May 9, they read out their accounts in school.

Lakhit said several of her friends exhaustively quizzed her on Ranbir — his height, handsomeness, dance moves.

Lakhit loves Shah Rukh Khan and Abhishek swears by Salman, but no harm in doing a jig with Ranbir.

The song in the ad goes like “Tang tang tang suno ghanti baji, school tumhe pukare” (listen to the school bell, the school is calling you) and was shot in the streets of Bandra. The children will be seen with Ranbir telling adults about the importance of education.

The lyrics were penned by Javed Akhtar.

The ad is expected to be aired in June.

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