In Bollywood, physical fitness is measured in six-pack abs, 18-inch biceps, or size-zero figures that jump from buildings or dance around trees. Something slow and arduous, like trekking up one of the highest mountain peaks in the world — unless it’s for a desi remake of Vertical Limit (2000) — is hardly celebrity territory. But to support a cause and raise funds for cancer patients — called Kili Cancer — director Kabir Khan, along with former VJs Yudhishtar Urs (Yudi) and Maria Goretti, actor Tara D’Souza and dancer-activist Shallu Jindal, will climb Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa, later this month.
Kabir’s cold calling
Kabir used to be an avid climber during his student days at Delhi University. “I’ve spent months in Ladakh and Himachal (Pradesh),” he says. But that was 11 years ago, before he moved to Mumbai. What is he doing to get mountain-fit again? “I’m running up the stairs to my 18th floor flat to get my body used to climbing. I can do it 15 times at one go now. I’m trying to hit 20. The guard in my building was quite puzzled and actually asked why I’m doing this.”
Cause and effect
Kili Cancer is former VJ Yudi’s and fitness trainer Shayamal Vallabhjee’s (he trains the likes of Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza) initiative. Yudi says, “Shayamal told me about a friend who suffered from cancer, who always wanted to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. My grandfather too had cancer.” So they have started an organisation called Outcause, to bring an adventure activity together with a social cause.
“The funds we raise from this will go to the Tata Memorial Centre. Then, each year, we will support a different cause,” Yudi adds. The group will start their eight-day trek on October 14. A documentary will record their climb, and Yudi says they are in talks with the National Geographic channel to air it.