When Ayushmann Khurana was visiting the World Heritage site Kaziranga National Park clicking pictures of the majestic one horn rhinos, 12-year-old Suhan Mallik was attending his Maths class at Holy Child School of Guwahati. A standard six student, Suhan is said to have received an invitation from the manager of Ayushmann Khurana for a meeting with the actor. Ayushmann came to Assam on January 23rd and is presently camping in Kaziranga National Park for the shoot of an Anubhav Sinha “spy thriller”.
“Suhan Mallik met Madhur Bandarkar last year and have invited him to Kaziranga National Park and include the world heritage park in his shooting plans. Presenting a wooden replica of the one-horned rhino to the renowned film director, young Shohan had briefed Madhur Bhandarkar that such efforts shall go a long way in promoting the pride of Assam and protecting the animal from poachers. When the manager of Ayushan Khurana called up and asked us to come to Kaziranga, it was dream come true for my son who has been championing the cause of Assam Rhino since the age of seven” says Mofizul Mallik, father of Suhan.
Amidst the thick forest and tall elephant grass of the Kaziragna, Ayushmann Khurana went on a jeep safari on the 28th of January. The actor who was seen with his binoculars, enjoyed the majestic one-horned rhino grazing carefree in its natural habitat. Ayushmann even captured couple of rhinos on his mobile phone.
Even though he missed the chance to meet Khurrana, Young Suhan, has had the fortune to meet leading personalities and political figures of the country and the world to invite them to Kaziranga or seek their cooperation in the preservation of the one-horned rhino. The long list include Prime Minister Naranedra Modi, President Ramnath Kovind, and Amit Shah in 2018 during his visit to Guwahati, as well as Virat Kohli and the members of Indian cricket team. Suhan and his father went to Mumbai and meet Akshay Kumar at this home and invite him to Kaziranga and experience the magnificent rhino in the wilderness.
“Akshay met Sushan personally and expressed his willingness to come down to Assam and visit Kaziranga. When renowned people visit the World Heritage National Park, along with them the park and rhino get highlighted and the place gets its prominence. This is a way to promote and preserve the priceless creature” says Mofizul Mallik.
A resident of Guwahti, Suhan has gifted over 400 wooden rhinos to all the important people he has met so far. He has also gifted over 3500 saplings in year to create awareness on environment. In the last general election the young child carried out a drive called “cast your vote and get a plant” in the capital city. The government of Assam has conferred him with the title of “Friend of Rhino” in 2020 and the “Green Hero” three months back.
“I have a signboard making shop in the city. At night I drive Uber cab so that I can support my son in his efforts. I have put my small apartment on rent and stay at a cheap rented place so that Suhan can move ahead and be the champion of his cause” says Mofizul.
The Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve had reopened for tourists from October 21 after the lockdown and over 1, 10,458 tourists have visited the park since its re-opening.
Ayushman at present is shooting the picturesque locales of Karbi Anglong adjoining the National Park which boasts of more than 2500 one-horned rhinos besides being world’s largest habitat for Asiatic elephant and buffalo. The documentary called ‘Save This Rhino — India’ that features former England cricketer Kevin Pietersen and focuses on rhino conservation activities in its largest natural habitat.
To an invitation from Suhan to visit Kaziranga, industrialist Ratan Tata wrote to him in 2017 “I am pleased to know about your interest in nature and wild life journalism and your request for a meeting in this regard, as I have prior work and travel commitments in the coming weeks. Thank you also for inviting me to see the one horned rhinoceros at the Kaziranga National Park, which I will certainly bear in mind if I make a visit to Assam”.