When you think about Bollywood, it’s easy to be a tad bit cynical especially considering how most of its denizens are opportunists and don’t leave any chance for self-promotion. Sadly, this includes their charitable acts too. Photographers and media first, charitable act later…is the mantra most actors follow. Then there are those who announce grand schemes and help for the underprivileged, only to forget paying up once the photo-ops are done.
Perhaps they should all inculcate the spirit of giving as seen in Ramadan. This Holy Month is a period, not just of reflection but also for caring for the underprivileged. Of course, there are some stars who are genuinely selfless, do not hesitate to be the first to offer help, regardless of the cameras and provide a stellar example for others to follow. Presenting the most generous stars of Bollywood…
Do we even need to name him? Salman’s large-heartedness is as famous as his volatile temper! His blow hot-blow cold personality may have confused the media for years but if there is something that people unanimously agree, it is about his charitable nature. His Being Human Foundation has been written about and applauded. But even without a registered organisation, Bhai donates generously.
He gives so selflessly that charity-seekers think it is their birthright to barge into the Khan home at any hour and ask for help. Salman’s wise father writer Salim Khan has put an end to his son’s arbitrary generosity. But Salman remains the one-stop relief fund for all those who require distress money! Incidentally Salman is also very generous to the not-so-needy. Once, he took off his expensive Rolex watch and give it to Abhishek Bachchan. For the record, this was before Aishwarya became a Bachchan bahu!
Another exceedingly large-hearted superstar who believes in more than just throwing money at the needy is Akshay Kumar. In his new avatar as the nationalist hero, Akki has provided real inspiration to fans with his ‘cinema with a social message’ routine (Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, Kesari, Padman etc). But outside of films, Akshay can be counted on to be by your side whenever a you are in distress. When a journalist’s husband needed emergency heart surgery Akshay intervened, had him shifted to the best hospital, spoke personally to the doctors there, took care of all the bills and, hold your breath, he remained in the hospital with the journalist until her husband was out of danger! In February he donated INR 5 crore to the families of soldiers killed in the Pulwama attack. Akshay once said, “I’ve the power and I don’t use it then what’s the point of having it? Everyone can’t be as generous as Bill Gates. But we can all try.”
Believe it or not, Salman Khan’s arch-enemy and the current subject of internet trolls (thanks to his PM Modi biopic which hasn’t released so far), is also his rival in the volume of charitable work that Vivek and his organization does for the poor and the needy including the adoption of entire destitute villages, eye camps, educations for poor children etc. However, Vivek does make it a point to talk a lot about it.
One of the richest women in the Indian entertainment industry is generous, but not to a fault. She will invest only in the needs of the truly needy. She pays for the education and other needs of the underprivileged who come to her without hesitation provided they are genuine in their need. A favourite Lata Mangeshkar story concerns a senior citizen from Nagpur who wrote a letter saying he needed surgery for his cataract which his son and daughter-in-law denied him. Lataji personally phoned on the number mentioned in the letter, introduced herself and told the shocked gentleman (who nearly died of a heart attack on hearing the voice that mesmerizes millions) that she wanted to verify his identity before doing the needful.
SHAH RUKH KHAN
Shah Rukh Khan may joke that he loves money but his charitable side is something he doesn’t boast too much about. His philanthropic work is done mostly done without any publicity – the way it should be done. Shah Rukh is known to adopt any number of destitute villages in Odhisa where he takes care of every child, woman and man’s education, health and other needs. He also donates regularly to the cancer department of a leading hospital in Mumbai. His work through his organisation MEER Foundation is exceptional. Recently, they were in the news for starting an initiative where the group pledged to organise corrective surgeries for acid attack survivors. “I don’t like to talk about it. And I’m not one of those celebrities who pretends to not like their charity being written about. I genuinely don’t like it,” Shah Rukh once said. Bravo.
Amitabh Bachchan is also notoriously publicity shy when it comes to philanthropy. He was the face of Unicef’s polio campaign. Besides, he has even started an online bidding scheme called ‘Jeneration’ where the Bollywood stars put their clothes for sale and the collections made by this site is used in to raise funds for various organizations. Amitabh Bachchan donated Rs 5 lakh each to the families of CRPF jawans who were martyred in the Pulwama terror attack. And these are just some of the acts he is known for.
SUSHANT SINGH RAJPUT
Sushant Singh Rajput is a unique star. He does not announce his generous acts nor does he give lectures or share lofty articles. He just gets into the thick of things. During the Kerala floods last year, a fan wrote to him expressing his wish to donate for the flood relief but not knowing how to. Sushant responded in kind and said he would donate in his name and ensure the money reaches people in need. Guess how much he donated? One crore! He gave a similar charity during the Nagaland floods.
How can we not mention Deepika who has not just donated to charity but actually founded an entire organisation dedicated to raise awareness about depression and other psychological disorders?
Having battled depression herself, Deepika founded The Live Love Laugh Foundation to further the cause. She also adopted the village Ambegaon in Maharashtra. She also took part in the World 10K Bangalore Marathon, which raised money for over 80 NGO’s. What an inspiration!
Sonam is very vocal on social media regarding causes close to her heart but few know that she is also very generous when it comes to social issues. She puts her fashionista status to good use. The actress tied up with the designer, Pernia Qureshi's pop shop where she donated some of her outfits. The proceeds from which are donated to an NGO called Smile Foundation. Smile Foundation helps the underprivileged children around the twenty-five states in our country.
Not only that, Sonam is also the brand ambassador of the Cuddles Foundation, a charity foundation that helps to meet the nutritional needs of the children afflicted with cancer. Sonam also been spotted spending some quality times with the kids in Tata Memorial Hospital.