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4/01/2006

 
BOLLYWOOD MEETS HIP-HOP

South Asian Supermodel, Film Director and Rap
Personality Encourage 'Gandhi' Reading

Toronto -- 'Hip-Hop Literacy' campaign founder Raoul
Juneja (a.k.a. Deejay Ra) celebrated the highly
anticipated "Water" Canadian home video release with
star Lisa Ray and director Deepa Mehta, amongst
hundreds of the film's fans at Blockbuster Canada's
flagship video store March 12th in Downtown Toronto.

Juneja also launched a 'Mahatma Gandhi' literacy
tribute with the support of Ray and Mehta last week
through his Lyrical Knockout Entertainment company,
setting up Gandhi book and "Water" DVD giveaways for
students commemorating the return of the world leader
to North American cinema.

Born and raised in Toronto, it was while vacationing
across India that Lisa Ray was offered a photo shoot
by a Bollywood fashion magazine, the pictorial which
soon catapulted her to being one of India's most
recognized models. Accepting offers to appear in music
videos and to host her own TV show soon led Lisa, of
Bengali-Polish descent, to star in her first Bollywood
movie.

"Kasoor" later caught the attention of acclaimed
director Deepa Mehta and resulted in Lisa Ray starring
in Mehta's "Bollywood/Hollywood" comedy, which
received a world premiere at the 2002 Toronto Film
Festival. Lisa then spent the next few years across
London in theatre training to prepare for her role in
Mehta's "Water" film, which illuminates the plight of
widows in India during the 1930's.

Lisa Ray stars as one such widow who finds compassion
in a young activist inspired by Gandhi's words, played
by fellow Bollywood superstar John Abraham, who
originally catapulted to fame in India as a supermodel
of Iranian heritage. Deepa Mehta's "Water" film score
was composed by AR Rahman, an award-winning producer
who recently composed music for Andrew Lloyd Webber's
"Bombay Dreams" play, and who is currently producing
music for the "Lord of the Rings" stage adaptation.

"Not since Lord Attenborough's 'Gandhi' film release
over twenty years ago has the words of the Mahatma
been prominently heard in Canadian or US movie
theatres, or quoted this much in mainstream media,"
explains Juneja.

"Deepa's 'Water' film provides the perfect time for
North American teachers to re-introduce Gandhi to
multi-cultural students and outline his contributions
not only to India's independence movement, but also to
Dr. Martin Luther King and the American civil rights
struggle, as well as to Nelson Mandela and the
anti-apartheid movement in South Africa."




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