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Lights, camera and action for Laura Bush

Staff Reporter

U.S. First Lady visits the sets of a popular children's show

NEW DELHI: While United States President George W. Bush was `making history' with the nuclear deal, First Lady Laura Bush was busy creating some of her own on the small-screen.

It was lights, camera and action of a different kind for her when she went visiting the sets of Galli Galli Sim Sim — the Indian version of the popular television programme Sesame Street — at Eagle Studio in neighbouring Noida on Thursday.

Her script had been sent to the White House a month ago. It was a big day for four Indian muppets — Boombah, Chamki, Aanchoo and Googly — as Ms. Bush walked down the `galli' and interacted with them.

After meeting the `stars' and the brains behind the show — Miditech, Turner Sesame Workshop and Eagle Studio — it was time for her to get into the act and count.

Sitting on a bench with actress-turned-activist Nafisa Ali and with tomboy Chamki instructing her to count till five, Ms. Bush got a chance to reach out to children in quite another way. The show, which is to be aired on "Cartoon Network" and "Pogo" later this year, is partly funded by USAIDS.

"The segment turned out quite sweet. Chamki starts the programme by saying, `I want to introduce you to two of my friends', and then she introduces the First Lady and Nafisa Ali. We finished in two takes. It was very nerve-wracking at first with all the security, but it finally became very informal. It was like a friend had dropped in," said executive producer of Galli Galli Sim Sim Niret Alva.

Ms. Bush is believed to have visited the Egyptian as well as the American versions of Sesame Street. An educator, Ms. Bush took interest in how the show would translate for Indian audiences.

"It was a real honour. She came across as a very genuine and warm person. I told her that I was excited to do the skit opposite her. It was a golden opportunity to tell her about my work with HIV/AIDS," said Ms. Ali.

The First Lady also visited Prayas Institute of Juvenile Justice at Tughlakabad and the Missionaries of Charity in Jangpura.

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