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They dream with their feet
Akshay Kumar performs with Shaolin monks at the Pogo Amazing Kids Awards

Palak Jain must have got more applause in one hour than many TV stars get in their lifetime. The girl who plays the title role in Sunayana — Sapna Sach Hua on Pogo was rehearsing her dream entry on the green carpet to ovation orchestrated by production hands. After the umpteenth take the shot was canned but the crowd stayed put. The cast of Chandni Chowk to China would soon reach to give away the Pogo Amazing Kids Awards 2008 in Mumbai.

Meanwhile, squash champion Ritwik Bhattacharya and choreographer Ahmed Khan were inside watching Cyrus Sahukar anchor the show with the talking muppet Chamki from Galli Galli Sim Sim. “Shut up and let me speak,” Cyrus chided it as the busybody mouthed yet another line meant for him.

“Dancing is dreaming with your feet,” said Khan, handing over the evening’s first trophy to Vaishnavi Shetty. A second take was needed for Ritwik to hand over the Sports Star award to young tennis champion Ronit Bisht. “The Genius of the Year”, adjudged by math wizard Shakuntala Devi, was Shantanu Gawde, whom Monica Tata, vice-president and deputy manager, entertainment networks, South Asia, Turner International India, hailed as the “budding Bill Gates of India”.

Musician nominees Akash, Jasiel Peter and Roopak Naigaonkar performed in a group. Akash, the flautist, stood out and was handed the trophy by director Madhur Bhandarkar.

Deepika Padukone with Bengal’s Tathoi

Outside, six-year-old Sheelu Mishra of Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh, was in a daze. The farmer’s daughter had won the Kid Leader award. “I learnt tailoring by seeing my mother teach others. When she fell ill, I was so good that people asked me to take over as teacher. I was three then,” said the frail girl. She got her award from Bollywood hero Akshay Kumar. That cut no ice with her. There is no electricity in Sheelu’s village, so no films as well.

But Calcutta’s Sharanya Deb knew exactly who it was who handed her the Amazing Kid Entertainer award. “Deepika Padukone is so tall!” chirped the TV anchor, better known as Tathoi.

The star act of the evening was by six kids who had flown in from China. “They are students of Shaolin Temple,” said their leader. Flying kicks, twists in the air and many other breathtaking kung fu stunts later, a bearded man came on stage. “So did you like my students?” he lisped and took his headgear off to reveal himself as Akshay Kumar. What did Akshay do next? Tune in to Pogo to find out this Sunday at 10am.

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