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Ranbir Kapoor is all set to walk the ramp January 23 for the young girls of Shabana Azmi's ancestral village Mijwan and the veteran actress says the effort will create awareness about their talents.
Thanks are due to Namrata Goel, daughter of Jet Airways' chairman Naresh Goel, who has orchestrated the fashion show being organised in Mumbai for the education of girl children in Shabana's ancestral village Mijwan.
"Last year Namrata visited Mijwan for the first time. And the visit transformed her completely. She started gathering support for the fashion show on Facebook. Before I knew it, she had the whole show in place. Namrata is the one who got Ranbir Kapoor on board, got him interested in Mijwan," said Shabana.
"Namrata is all of 21. My father (Kaifi Azmi) always said that change has to come from the youth. People like Ranbir and Namrata prove it. My father was only 19 when he got involved with social causes.
"Namrata arranged the ramp show last year and again this year. Last year we had 22 stars walking the ramp for us. This year it has gone up to 25 stars. So our film industry's participation is growing," she added.
Ranbir has discovered the philanthropic side to himself. Not only is he going to walk the ramp, the young star is also keen to participate in other activities and events connected with the betterment of the girl child.
Apparently Ranbir has also expressed a keen desire to visit Mijwan and Namrata plans to take him there soon.
Namrata recently visited Mijwan with Shabana. "She accompanied me this week. Manish Malhotra and his three assistants also went," said the actress.
Namrata has been fund raiser for Shabana from the age of 15. "Namrata has spent most of her life in London. She did a school play at age 15 to raise funds amounting to 16,000 pounds for Mijwan and since then was after me to take her to Mijwan."
Shabana is proud of the development in her ancestral village.
"In Mijwan we run a school, a college, a computer centre and sewing and chikankari centre. The work they do is so stunning that Anita Dongre has been giving them work. Now Manish Malhotra is also giving them work. The ramp show will create awareness of their fine craft.
"Someone said about the embroidery work of my girls in Mijwan, 'So beautiful is their needlework that butterflies would be tempted to sit on them.' Because their work has to do with the garments and embroidery this fashion show makes a lot of sense."
Shabana recollects her father's (Kaifi Azmi) passionate involvement with Mijwan.
"Mijwan is such a tiny village in the back of the beyond. It used to be frozen in time until my father took over. There was no road, school, nothing. After his paralytic stroke, he dedicated himself to bettering the village. I never paid attention to his dedication to Mijwan while he was alive. Mujhe iss baat ka bahut dukh hai (I regret that).
"The first time when I visited Mijwan at the age of 24, there was no transportation. I had to be carried in a doli! I wondered how I could connect such a tiny hamlet to Mumbai and the film industry. Namrata Goel put it all together for me. And now there is Ranbir joining her," said Shabana.