In one swift decision, noted singer and composer Shanker Mahadevan has joined the league of national and international celebrity endorsers like Aamir Khan and Angelina Jolie by become the brand ambassador for Indian NGO Akshaya Patra. While Jolie is the goodwill ambassador for UNHCR and Aamir is spreading awareness on malnutrition and children for UNICEF, Mahadevan will focus on the midday meals and the joys of childhood where children do not have to worry about their next morsel.
Mahadevan achieved worldwide fame with his album ‘Breathless’ and has sung and composed music for innumerable films in Bollywood. As part of his commitment as a brand ambassador, he will compose and sing a number especially for Akshaya Patra to coincide with the NGO`s billionth mid-day meal this August. Mahadevan will himself feature in this music video which will celebrate the joys of childhood and show the innocence and carefree moods associated with growing up. Talking about the cause, the singer said, "I am very happy to be associated with Akshaya Patra as the cause is very close to my heart and something that I have always wanted to do - feed children."
The Bangalore-based Akshaya Patra Foundation runs a nation-wide mid-day meal programme in partnership of the Government of India and various state governments, reaching out to 1.3 million children everyday. The organisation lays stress on education for children through the mid-day meal route. Akshaya Patra hopes that Mahadevan will take their message across the world through his concerts and stage performances. Through his association, it hopes to reach its goal of providing a nutritious meal to five million children by 2020.
In Mahadevan, the organisation found the right brand ambassador as he hails from a middle-class background and is a software engineer by education. He is part of the talented trio popularly known as Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy in the Hindi film industry. It is difficult to pin down Mahadevan to any particular style, category or genre. He has been an integral part of bands like Remember Shakti, SILK, Mynta and others. Besides Hindi, he has composed and sung in Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu and Marathi, Gujarati and Punjabi and many more and has won a number of awards including three National Awards and three Filmfare Awards.
Mahadevan, who is known for songs like, ‘Maa’ from ‘Taare Zameen Par’ and ‘Mitwa’ from ‘Kabhi Alvida Na Kehena’, also runs an online music academy, the Shankar Mahadevan Academy, where those interested in music are trained by talented teachers under his supervision.
It is noteworthy that more and more Indian celebrities are stepping in to exploit their public image for the greater good. The trend has been on for a while as actress Sharmila Tagore has been a Unicef brand ambassador while Rahul Bose is doing his bit as Oxfam`s global brand ambassador.