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Brand ambassador A.R. Rahman to compose anthem on TB


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India's noted music composer and director A.R. Rahman, in his new role as a brand ambassador to create awareness about tuberculosis, will compose an anthem and television spots to be aired later this year.

Coinciding with the World TB Day Wednesday, Rahman said his effort would be to spread the message that tuberculosis, which kills two million globally every year, is a curable disease.

"I haven't yet finalised what shape the message will take. It could be an anthem or even a music album, with musicians from other high burden countries, to spread the message that TB is curable," Rahman told IANS.

"I may work with musicians from countries like Brazil and China to spread the message to stop spread of TB and fight poverty, which contributes to the disease," said Rahman, who has been selected by the Stop TB Partnership Forum comprising over 250 organisations to be the face of the efforts to control TB.

In preparation to becoming brand ambassador for the fight against TB, Rahman has already visited TB clinics in London and would be visiting more in and around the capital to make himself familiar with the DOTS (Directly Observed Treatment Short-course) strategy being used globally.

"I am currently busy with the "Bombay Dreams", (a musical) soon to open in Broadway. After that I will get busy with this project," said Rahman.

Andrew Lloyd Weber's spectacular production of Rahman's "Bombay Dreams", based on an idea by noted filmmaker Shekhar Kapur, is scheduled to open in the Broadway on April 29.

The musical, which had its world premiere at London's Apollo Victoria Theatre on June 19, 2002, quickly became the biggest hit currently playing in London's West End.

"The anthem and the TV spots will be targeted to spread awareness and help India and other high burden TB nations achieve the target of over 70 percent coverage of infectious cases and 85 percent cure by 2005. There is very little time left to achieve the objective," said Rahman.

"Hopefully the anthem or the album should be ready within six months," said Rahman, adding that in preparation he would be visiting some of the other high burden countries


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