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Of cricket Bollywood style and hip-shaking cheerleaders

By Hindol Sengupta, IANS

Sporting yellow and blue T-shirts with their names printed on them, a gaggle of India's most famous actors and sportsmen played a charity cricket match here Sunday amid cheering crowds and hip-shaking cheerleaders.

Hundreds of people thronged Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium to witness the face-off between stars of two most intensely followed professions in the country.

The match was organised by the Kinship for Humanitarian Social and Holistic Intervention in India (Khushii), a new charity body headed by retired cricket legend Kapil Dev.

Playing in two-member teams, the stars bowled and batted in two overs matches, as ten teenage girls in white and red blouses and very short skirts waved batons and synthetic bushels every time a four or a six was hit.

"The idea is to support Kapil in his cause," said ace spinner Anil Kumble.

"I have also been involved with charity in my own way and want to stand by Kapil who, I believe, will do a good job," he added

Playing with nimble footballer Baichung Bhutia, Kumble beat the duo of comic actor Arshad Warsi and hockey star Dhanraj Pillai in their two overs match.

Action hero Akshay Kumar hugged politician Amar Singh on the sidelines, as Kumble hit a six and lifted his bat high to the roar of the crowd, as the cheerleaders swayed their hips and leapt in the air.

The TV cameras focused for a second on their bottoms, and one of them tried to pull her skirt down. It stayed up.

When TV commentator and actress Mandira Bedi, sexy and smart in her all white trousers and bosom-fitting top, bowled to batsman Ajay Jadeja, he feigned a fall and crashed on to his wickets.

From across the rope, giggled match commentator comedian Sajid Khan: "Ajay is teasing Mandira. Ajay, did you fall for the ball or for Mandira's figure?"

Children from the audience dodged wireless set-carrying police in khaki, and zigzagged through the field to get autographs of the stars.

When Minister for Shipping and former actor Shatrughan Sinha arrived, all the players rose to their feet to say their hellos.

"This is where I belong," said Sinha. "These are my people," he added hugging actors Anil Kapoor and Sanjay Dutt.

The biggest cheers in the stadium were reserved for Dutt, who won the best comedy actor prize at the Filmfare Awards on Saturday night in Mumbai.

"Give a line from Munnabhai," the crowd yelled, talking of his latest blockbuster 'Munnabhai MBBS' for which he won the award playing a gangster-turned-doctor.

Dutt smiled and waved, the quintessential movie star in his fitting denims, front open shirt showing a chunky medallion and tinted shades. He was asked whether he would go to Pakistan for the upcoming cricket tour of the Indian team.

"If I go there, my bail will be cancelled," he said. Dutt is among those being tried for the Mumbai blasts of 1993 that killed 250. He is charged with illegal possession of arms.


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