Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 3 (IANS) People walking down a busy road here were in for a surprise when they spotted Malayalam actor Suresh Gopi selling lottery tickets.
Suresh Gopi, along with director K. Madhu and producer Suresh Kumar, were seen on a road near Tagore Theatre selling lottery tickets specially launched to constitute a 'welfare fund' for artistes belonging to different fields.
'In a matter of 90 minutes, we sold tickets worth Rs.35,000. People from all walks of life crowded around Suresh Gopi to buy a ticket from him. We went into shops and even banks in the locality and many people obliged us,' Kumar told IANS.
The lottery tickets are priced at Rs.100 and the lucky draw is to be held March 9. The first prize is Rs.20 million.
The state's Culture Minister M.A. Baby, at a special function in Kochi last month, had launched this special lottery in the presence of superstars Mammootty and Mohanlal.
Several NRI organisations have, meanwhile, sent requests about whether these lottery tickets could be sold abroad also, officials said.
Thiruvallam Bhasi, vice-president of the World Malayalee Council in Melbourne, said the council would be glad to sell tickets that are meant to create a fund for artistes who have entertained all of us.
'We have got in touch with the state government because we expect close to 5,000 Malayalis from across Australia to take part in the 'Australian Malayalee Fest 2009', which will be held Feb 21,' Bhasi said.
Baby told IANS that he would have to check with the finance department if lottery tickets could be physically sold outside the country.
'Another way is that these non-resident Keralites can by way of a power of attorney buy tickets here through their relatives,' said Baby.