Mumbai, June 10 -- If there is one man in India whose fame can rival that of a Bollywood star, it is Sachin Tendulkar. Who better, then, to support a noble cause than the cricketing legend?
The Master Blaster has collaborated with actor-director Farhan Akhtar to recite a poem in Marathi for the latter's initiative - MARD (Men Against Rape and Discrimination), which attempts to create awareness among men to respect women and promote gender equality.
"The idea is to rope in various people and get them to recite a poem in their respective mother tongue. So, for the Marathi version, Sachin was approached. He agreed instantly," says an insider. When contacted, Farhan says, "Sachin is one of the biggest icons of modern India and his support has given us more strength to keep moving ahead in our quest for a gender equal and safe society. I thank him for making the time and am deeply grateful for his presence in this initiative."
The poem, originally penned in Hindi by Farhan's father, Javed Akhtar, has been translated into different languages - Telugu, Tamil, Punjabi and Marathi, among others.
Photographer Atul Kasbekar spoke to Sachin (Kasbekar's organisation, Bling!, has partnered with Farhan on the initiative) about the cause. Kasbekar says, "I've known Sachin for 20 years. After the World Cup final win, Sachin specially mentioned the women in his life - wife Anjali and daughter Sara. So, of course, we knew that he would feel strongly about the issue."
The final nod from Sachin came during the recently concluded T20 tournament. "Farhan and I met him. Anjali was also present. It took him five minutes to go through the details and say yes. He called us again and asked if we would want to record it before he goes on a holiday," says Kasbekar, adding that the cricketer recorded the poem at music directors Shankar-EhsaanLoy's studio.