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NRI UK radio, influences World Cup anthem by Bollywood music

  • The song 'Khelo Khelo' becoming popular on Asian radio stations in Britain.
  • To give an Asian voice to English football fans
  • Over a 100 football songs released recently have kicked off the race to become Britain's best selling World Cup single
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Southall, June 11, 2006
Sucharita Ghosh

England football stars are set for a Bollywood boost after an NRI radio presenter recorded a World Cup anthem influenced by Bollywood music.

The song, Khelo Khelo in support of skipper David Beckham and team is becoming increasingly popular on Asian radio stations in Britain.

The singer/composer Pralay Bakshi worked with FM channels in Mumbai and the UAE before taking on the persona of radio presenter Sunny Kapoor, on one of Britain's most popular Asian radio channels.

"When India and England play a cricket match, a lot of people support India and a few support England. But when it comes to football - this country is football crazy. There is World Cup fever everywhere," said Sunny Kapoor, presenter, Kismat Radio.

"All the Asians support England but they don't have a song - we need a Hindi song. So many people speak and understand Hindi and Bollywood music. Our breakfast show is in English but all the music we play is Hindi, so we needed a song, that's how it happened," he added.

The song was composed and recorded within a day.

Co-presenter and jazz singer Nisha Sharma says that while the song was born from an on-air challenge to Kapoor from his listeners to give an Asian voice to English football fans, movies like Bend it Like Beckham reflect the increasing popularity of football among British Asians.

"I think if you are a man in this country, you certainly are a fan - Asian or not. And if you watched that big film a few years ago, you see that even women are into it. I think football transcends barriers of colour and race. London is so cosmopolitan, when football is on, everybody is friends," said Nisha Sharma, co-presenter, Kismat Radio.

Overwhelming viewer response to what started out as a laugh prompted Kapoor to call in professional producers.

By the end of the day with some commentary from football matches and a passage in English rap mixed in, the three minute Asian football anthem was on air.

But despite the language, the team insists that it's a song for all English fans.

"Its a bit of fun so the target audience is everybody. A colleague heard it, she doesn't speak a word of Hindi only English and she was singing the chorus within minutes. People are now interested about what its about - there is a translation of it on the radio website - and the rap is in English so people understand that as well," said Devinder Sudera and Ashvinder Mann, Producers.

Over a 100 football songs released recently have kicked off the race to become Britain's best selling World Cup single.

While contenders wait for the chartbuster to be announced in July, this one is fast becoming a hot favourite with Britain's two and a half million Asians.

Without India or Pakistan in the running, their football loyalties lie firmly with England, who they are supporting Bollywood style.

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