By Shevlin Sebastian
Photos: (From left: Vijay Yesudas, Kunchacko Boban and Asif Ali); Kunchacko Boban giving a chequ of Rs 4.5 lakh to Munisa, representative of the Sneha Veedu organisation
A few years ago, singer Vijay Yesudas and his friend Nikhil Menon would play cricket outside the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi, as members of the Kochi City Tigers. “”We would play matches now and then,” says Vijay, at a press conference today. “I have warm memories of that time.” Thereafter, there arose a desire to involve the members of Mollywood. Soon, Indrajit Sukumaran and Prithviraj and others joined in, and they played at a ground at Thevara.
In 2008, the Celebrity Cricket Club (C3) was formed. “It is a brotherhood of actors, singers, directors, producers and the like,” says Vijay, the secretary of C3. Adds Kunchacko Boban, the chairman, “All of us have a passion for the game. By playing together, it strengthened our friendships. But over a period of time, we realised that we would also like to contribute to charity. ”
So, the C3 team played charity matches at Sharjah and in London.
Fast forward to March 9. The C3 gave a cheque of Rs 4.5 lakh to the Sneha Veedu organisation, which looks after endosulfan victims. The cheque was collected by the representatives, Kunjikannan and victim, Munisa. The idea came after Kunchacko went to Wayanad to act in the film, ‘Valiya Chirakulla Pakshikal’’’, which is based on the endosulfan issue. “I met many victims and was moved by their plight,” says Kunchacko. ”We have plans to help more people.”
Adds Asif Ali: “ We are now planning to play matches in South Africa, Australia and the US. And we request sponsors to come forward. ” In fact, the England match was generously sponsored by the Malayalis living there. They also have plans to set up a music band. Alongside matches, they will do shows, to generate funds for their charity initiatives. The C3 team includes actors Nivin Pauly, Unni Mukundan, Saiju Kurup, Jojo George, singers Afsal and Madhu Balakrishnan, and directors Lijo Jose Palliserry, Deepan and others.
(The New Indian Express, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram)