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Zbigniew A. Chertlur: 7-yr-old Polish boy who sings Telugu songs

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Shillpi A Singh

Zbigniew A. Chertlur is only seven years old but already an Internet sensation, popular on the web as the “6-year-old foreigner who sings Telugu and Indian patriotic songs”.  He has a huge fan following on the social media, around 3,000 followers on Facebook and in a short span of time, he has grabbed more than three million eyeballs on his FB page. He is quite a rage on the YouTube as well with many ardent fans who subscribe to his channel, follow it, watch his uploads and share it on their social media handles.

Fondly called Bujji or Zbigs by his friends and family, Zbigniew was born on April 30, 2009, in Wroclaw, Poland. Currently based in London, Bujji is a well-known face in the modelling and acting circuit in the UK. He was the face of TESCO, Nissan, and Camelot commercials and has acted in a handful of short films.

Known as a boy who remembers everything and forgets nothing, Bujji’s claim to fame, however, is his rendition of long forgotten Telugu songs, both film and devotional numbers that have captured the imagination of the Telugu speaking communities settled in the US and the UK.  His most popular ones are Nevena Nanu Pilichinadi and Lahiri Lahiri Lahiri Lo from the NTR-starrer Mayabazar and Paadutaa Teeyagaa Challaga from Mooga Manasulu. On the occasion of Ugadi, Telugu New Year, he shared a video of his rendition of the Telugu anthem, Maa Telugu Talliki Malle Poodanda, to greet Telugu people across the globe. The video has been well received by the community spread across the world and has become viral.

Bujji’s parents moved bag and baggage to London four years ago to give him a better future. Though he is fluent in English and Polish, he can sing in Spanish and Telugu, and that’s quite a feat. He started learning Telugu songs in December 2015 and four months alone he has sung many yesteryear hits and devotional numbers, perfectly taking care of its nuances and accent. His renditions are a huge hit on the Internet. A fashion photographer by profession, Bujji’s father Sharath C. Chertlur, who initiated him into singing in Telugu said, “He has a remarkable memory. One day, I heard him humming a Spanish song. Befuddled, I asked him how did he learn it? His response was equally surprising. He said from TV. That is when I thought of introducing him to the Telugu language. The first one that I taught him was a Suklam Baradharam Vishnum, a difficult devotional song and he did a fantastic job with it. I must say that with every presentation, he is improving and taking it a notch higher.”

A gifted child, he has a photographic memory. At 3, he could recognise car brands by seeing their logos alone. By the time he turned 4, he had memorised the capitals of more than 250 countries. He then learned about important inventions and discoveries and some of the physics like Newton’s Laws. All of this when he could not write or read, but yes, he could remember when told and repeat when asked. “He remembered everything and forgot nothing of what I said to him and that made me realise that probably we should move to the UK to give him a good education and more exposure,” said Sharath.

A student of Grade 2 at Parsloes Primary School in London, he is an avid reader, and his favourite authors are Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton, and Francesca Simon.

He is bound to leave you spellbound with his in-depth knowledge of India, its culture, languages, religions and above all the epics — Ramayana and Mahabharata — and other mythological stories and characters. His favourite Gods are Krishna, Shiva, and Hanuman, and he credits YouTube for bringing him closer to his Telugu roots.

His mother, Urzula E Chertlur, who is a manager in a jewellery firm in London, is yet to come to terms with her son’s growing fan following. “I want Zbigs to stay grounded, but aim for the sky.” She added that her son is a foodie and loves Indian sweets, his favourites being Kaju Barfi and Besan Laddu.

For the young boy, it was overwhelming to perform in front of a crowd of 2,000-odd Telugu speaking people here in London for the APNRT function held at the White House Complex in honour of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu’s recent visit to the United Kingdom.

A budding actor, he is a big fan of the Khan trio and Big B from Hindi cinema and Mahesh Babu and Pawan Kalyan from Telugu movie. Bujji’s last screen outing was Simon Giles’, The Sting of a Martyr, a psychological drama, where he shared screen space with Michael Luke Walsh, Karina Diglyte, Antonia Turner, and Steve Nicolson. Bujji has also landed a plum role in Roland Joffe’s untitled next. But he seemed quite excited about his next movie Lost in the Snow, which will be extensively shot in Poland, his land.

On the domestic front, he has bagged a full-length role in Telugu movie to be directed by Gopi Mohan and another one by Chandra Siddhartha. Praising the young prodigy, Mohan said, “Bujji is a small wonder. His renditions of old Telugu film songs left me speechless. His talent needs a bigger platform, and I am happy to have him on board for my next movie.”

And not just Telugu, he will soon bowl over his fans and followers with old Hindi film songs. “I am trying to reach a wider audience. Hindi is our national language, and it is spoken and understood by so many people across the globe that it becomes indispensable to have Hindi songs in my repertoire,” said Bujji.

He is flooded with offers for stage shows in the US. Sneha Vedula, the founder of Tulip Kids and Team Shakti, who is enamoured with his singing prowess, said, “He is a talented young boy, and it would be great to have him here for one of the cultural festivals in near future. His spirited renditions will inspire Telugu people in the US to take pride in their language, the Italian of the East. God willing, it will happen soon.”

If you are wondering about his favourite song, the young singing sensation has an ace up his sleeve. It’s the National Song Jana Gana Mana and Vande Mataram. It’s a perfect parting shot and that too on a patriotic note from a small wonder called Bujji.

The author can be contacted at shilpi.devsingh@gmail.com

  • sudheer naik

    I specially appreciate his talent and awesome kid no words to say.All the best for your exciting career ahead

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U.N. Chief Returns To Climate Talks To Hopefully Reach a Deal With Countries

One issue that has risen to the fore at the talks is the proposal by Poland for countries to back the idea of a "just transition" for workers in fossil fuel industries

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U.N. Climate Conference
In this Dec. 11, 2018 photo a participant in U.N. climate conference walks by a photo of a satellite in Katowice, Poland. VOA

The United Nations secretary-general flew back to global climate talks in Poland Wednesday to appeal to countries to reach an agreement, as some observers feared the meeting might end without a deal.

U.N. chief Antonio Guterres opened the talks last week, telling leaders to take the threat of global warming seriously and calling it “the most important issue we face.”

But as the two-week meeting shifted from the technical to political phase, with ministers taking over negotiations, campaign groups warned of the risks of failure in Katowice.

Harjeet Singh of ActionAid International said the main holdouts were the United States, Australia and Japan, while the European Union was “a mere spectator.”

U.N., Climate
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addresses during the opening of COP24 UN Climate Change Conference 2018 in Katowice, Poland, Dec. 3, 2018. VOA

“A new leadership must step up,” said Vanessa Perez-Cirera of the environmental group WWF. “We cannot afford to lose one of the twelve years we have remaining.”

She was referring to a recent scientific report by a U.N.-backed panel that suggested average global warming can only be halted at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) if urgent action is taken by 2030, including a dramatic reduction in use of fossil fuels.

Endorsing the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change became a crunch issue over the weekend, with the United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait opposing the move.

Jean-Pascal Ypersele, a former deputy chair of the panel, said whether or not countries believe the conclusions of the report was irrelevant because the science was clear.

Fossil Fuels, Climate
Youth and indigenous groups protest against fossil fuels during US-hosted event at the UN climate talks in Katowice, Poland, Dec. 10, 2018, as the COP24 UN Climate Change Conference takes place in the city. VOA

“Nobody, even the so-called superpowers, can negotiate with the laws of physics,” he said.

Ypersele called for the 1.5-degree target — already mentioned in the 2015 Paris accord — to be recognized in the final text.

“It’s a question of survival for a large part of humanity, and many other species,” he said.

Poland, which is chairing the talks, was expected to circulate a condensed draft text Wednesday running to about 100 pages, down from about 300 at the start of the talks.

The Dec. 2-14 meeting is supposed to finalize the rules that signatories of the Paris accord need to follow when it comes to reporting their greenhouse gas emissions and efforts to reduce them.

Li Shuo, a climate expert at Greenpeace, warned that the current text was riddled with loopholes. “A Swiss cheese rulebook is unacceptable,” he said.

Pollution, Climate
Clouds of smoke over Europe’s largest lignite power plant in Belchatow, central Poland, on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. VOA

Poor countries also want assurances on financial support to tackle climate change.

A third objective of the talks is getting governments to make a firm commit to raising ambitions in the coming two years, albeit without any precise figures.

One issue that has risen to the fore at the talks is the proposal by Poland for countries to back the idea of a “just transition” for workers in fossil fuel industries facing closure from emissions-curbing measures.

Also Read: To Help Poor Countries Adapt To Global Warming, World Bank Doubles Its Funding

Germany’s environment minister, Svenja Schulze, told reporters that her country is committed to phasing out the use of coal, though the exact deadline has yet to be determined.

But in a nod to the recent protests in France over fuel prices, Schulze warned against governments forcing through measures, saying they would lose public support “faster than you can spell climate protection, and then people pull on yellow vests.” (VOA)