To commemorate the billionth meal to be served by Akshaya Patra in August 2012, the legendary lyricist Javed Akthar and India's iconic singer Shankar Mahadevan are partnering to create music that will celebrate the joys of childhood and help Akshaya Patra to raise awareness about its program to enable hunger free education. The music, accompanied by a video featuring Mahadevan, will launch in the month of August when Akshaya Patra will be serving their billionth meal. According to Shankar the music will be poetic and will have a melody that lingers.
With this partnership, Mahadevan is joining the league of socially conscious celebrities by becoming the brand ambassador for The Akshaya Patra Foundation. He will help celebrate the momentous occasion by performing at a special function to be held in Bangalore. Mahadevan will pay tribute to the midday meals provided by Akshaya Patra and focus on the joys of childhood where children have fewer worries and responsibilities and do not have to worry about their next morsel.
"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," said Mahadevan.
The Akshaya Patra Foundation runs one of the world's largest mid day school feeding programs, in partnership with the federal and participating state governments of India, serving over 1.3 million children daily, in over 9,000 schools in 10 states. Akshaya Patra combines good management, innovative technology and smart engineering to deliver school lunch at a fraction of the cost of similar programs in other parts of the world. It costs Akshaya Patra only $15 to feed a child for an entire year. This meal gives these children an incentive to come to school, stay in school and provides them with the necessary nutrients they need to develop their cognitive abilities to focus on learning.
"Javed Akthar and Shankar Mahadevan teaming up for the Akshaya Patra children — it will be a powerful message with a powerful voice to ensure hunger is not a barrier to education for these deserving children," said Madhu Sridhar, president and CEO of Akshaya Patra USA. "We hope that Mahadevan will spread Akshaya Patra's mission across the world through his performances to touch hearts and expand the Akshaya Patra family."
Mahadevan achieved worldwide fame with his album "Breathless." He is part of the trio popularly known as Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and who has sung and composed music for many famous Bollywood films. Mahadevan hails from a middle-class background and is a software engineer by education. He has teamed up successfully with some of world's most extraordinary talent and has won three National Awards, and three Filmfare Awards.
Akhtar's lineage can be traced back to seven generations of famous Urdu poets, writers and freedom fighters. His father, renowned Urdu poet Jan Nisar Akhtar, mother famous Urdu writer Safia Akhtar and uncle, noted Urdu poet Majaaz were amongst the pioneers of the Progressive Writers Association. Akhtar's body of work can be categorized under four distinct categories; script writer, lyricist, poet and activist. He has co-authored and written several super hit Hindi films such as "Zanjeer," "Sholay" and "Sagar."