Kolkata: The screaming eerie silence of top Bollywood actors, when the anti-NRC movement was at its peak, had drawn strong criticism from not just activists but also their fans. Shah Rukh Khan had even been trolled by fans for not condemning the police brutality unleashed on his alma mater – Jamia Millia Islamia or the Delhi pogrom that took place during US President Donald Trump’s recent visit.
However, extra-ordinary situation needs extra-ordinary acts, and this time Indian film industry actors did not remain behind in donating to the cause of India’s fight against coronavirus.
Bollywood actors led by Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar made up by generously loosening his purse-strings in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak in India.
Bollywood Superstar Shahrukh Khan not only donated to Central’s PM Cares Fund and State Government’s funds of Maharashtra and West Bengal but also announced a series of initiatives through relief funds of his IPL Franchise-Kolkata Knight Riders, Red Chillies Entertainment, Meer Foundation and Red Chillies VFX.
The actor took on to Twitter to announce, “Given the enormity of the task, my team and I discussed ways to contribute in our own modest way. We have come up with a series of initiatives, which we hope will make a small difference.”
Through his IPL Franchise Kolkata Knight Riders which is co-owned by wife Gauri Khan, Juhi Chawla and Jay Mehta, the team would be contributing to PM CARES. They would also be contributing to CM’s relief funds in Maharashtra.
SRK would be providing a helping hand to the Maharashtra and West Bengal Government through his KKR franchise and NGO Meer Foundation. He would be supplying 50,000 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the healthcare professionals whom he called the ‘real heroes’.
Furthermore, with Ek Saath- The Earth Foundation, they would be catering to the food requirements of 5500 families in Mumbai. Daily wage workers, 10,000 in number would be receiving, 3 lakh meal kits. This would be under the banner head of his NGO – The Roti Foundation.
That’s not it, “2500 daily wage workers would be provided with basic amenities through his Meer Foundation in association with Working People’s Charter. And Meer Foundation would also be providing a monthly stipend to 100 acid attack survivors recognised from different states likeUP, Delhi, Bihar, West Bengal and Uttarakhand,” stated the press note released by the actor.
When thanked by Delhi CM, Arvind Kejriwal, for funding the underprivileged, the actor in a Delhi-wala style tweeted, ‘Don’t thank me, Order me…’
King Khan however, hasn’t spelled out the actual amount he has donated for the cause. But some Twitterati have tweeted that the amount is well over INR 70 crores!
Two days after the actor announced about the donation, Khan and his wife Gauri offered their four storey building to Maharashtra government to be used as a quarantine center.
Bollywood Superstar is not the only film actor to have pledged to stand by state governments Government of India. Earlier, Salman Khan also announced to contribute in a similar way, when he said that he will be sending money directly to the accounts of workers who are associated to film industry.
But, it was Akshay Kumar who first pledged to donate Rs 25 crore towards PM Cares funds.
Later many followed them including Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh, Kareena Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan, Katrina Kaif, Karan Johar, Karthik Aryan, Prabhas, Kangana Ranaut, Shilpa Shetty, Alia Bhatt, Vicky Kaushal and Lata Mangeshkar pledged their support to PM Cares and Maharashtra Chief Minister Relief Fund.
But none made their donation amount public.
Actors like Sonakshi Sinha and Amitabh Bachchan were even trolled for not making donations. They took to Twitter to clear the air.
Sonakshi tweeted, “Minute of silence for trolls who think that just because it wasn’t announced, contributions weren’t made. Neki kar dariya mein daal, suna toh hoga? Kuch log actually follow karte hai! Ab shaant ho jao & use ur time 2 do some actual good (announcing or not is a personal preference) (sic)”
Meanwhile, Big B tweeted, “Ek ne diya aur keh diya ke diya, dusre ne diya aur kaha nahi ki diya. Dusri shreni me hi rehne do mujhe aye priyajan. Jise mila wo kya jaane kisne diya, jano uska bus karun krandan. In haalaton mein aur kya kaha jaye. Jo janein mujhe jaanein, mai to sada swabhao se hi raha hu kamsukhan (One gave and said that he did, another gave and did not say that he did. Let me be in the second category. The one who receives knows not who gave, just knows his emotions, those who know me, know I have always been one to talk less) (sic).”
Ironically, major beneficiaries of Narendra Modi’s government, in the Bollywood like Hema Malini, Sunny Deol, Kiran and Anupam Kher and Vivek Agnihotri are yet to come forward to announce any kind of donation or support towards the battle against COVID-19 .
Hema Malini, Sunny Deol and Kiran Kher have released their MPLAD fund for PM Cares. We need to remember that this fund is actually public money and could not to be considered as donation.