From shoutouts on social networking sites to reaching into their own pockets to help those in need, Bollywood has almost always swung into action when a natural calamity strikes. And their response to the killer earthquake in Nepal has been no different. hitlist finds out how B-Town celebrities have made a difference this time...
Actress Alia Bhatt (below) has been raising funds for quake-hit victims through her social media account as relief and rescue operations intensify in Nepal
Glamour photographer Rohan Shreshta has perhaps not found enough time to touch his camera since April 25 when news first trickled in about a massive earthquake of 7.9 magnitude wreaking havoc in Nepal, a tragedy that left more than 5000 dead and thousands of others injured. The disaster deeply affected Rohan who has his familial roots in Nepal. The ace lensman immediately got down to the task of gathering help from all quarters to help the stranded and injured in the Himalayan kingdom. A page Nepali Relief was opened on social media to seek more assistance from internet users all around.
Soon enough, a deluge of help poured in with people donating money, food items, medicines and other relief material. And lending Rohan a helping hand in this initiative was his legion of A-list friends from Bollywood. Right from Karan Johar to Alia Bhatt, many from Bollywood actively supported the cause by tweeting about it from their microblogging profiles. Says actor Nikhil Dwevdi, "Rohan and his father Rakesh, an industry veteran, are devoted Indians, but have always been proud of their roots as we all should be. Any of his endeavours will always have our support."
Another online initiative that has found favour with stars is the online fundraising space Ketto, co-founded by actor Kunal Kapoor, which has been running a Twitter campaign with the hashtag ‘JoinHandsforNepal’. Actress-producer Dia Mirza, who has been actively endorsing the cause, says, "The proceeds will go to Care India which has an exemplary track record. We are also helping out Rohan (Shreshta) who is going to Nepal on May 2 with supplies for interior villages that are worst affected."
Priyanka Chopra and Anushka Sharma
Pay first, pray later
We have often seen prayers being sent across to a calamity zone, which though a good thing, may do little in helping restore normalcy. At such times, money and other essential materials like food and medicine come in handy. Asserts Miss India-Earth 2013 Sobhita Dhulipala, "When I open my Facebook account, I see a lot of prayers for Nepal with pictures of temples and victims. More than praying, paying helps.
I have made my contribution to Helping Hands charitable trust, which is a credible organisation committed to the cause of helping disaster victims."
Crooks see a calamity as a window of opportunity to cheat people and make money, a fact Manisha Koirala highlighted after it was brought to light that certain organisations were misusing funds meant for the rehabilitation of disaster victims. Says Mahesh Bhatt, "It is important to see that your contribution is made to a credible organisation which ensures that your money and other items reach the victims. Through Harmony foundation, we are vigorously working to raise funds for the victims. I have spoken to Manisha Koirala who will be joining hands with us. My daughter, Alia Bhatt, has also been raising funds for the cause through her Twitter page."
Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan
Amitabh Bachchan was seen enquiring on Twitter about the right organisation to touch base with. "HELP earthquake victims in Nepal and in India ! How and where does one do that ? PM Relief Fund ?? or some Media or where ? Indicate."
Social networking platforms have offered Bollywood stars the luxury to connect immediately with their fans and the same is put to good use in times like these. Shah Rukh Khan tweeted the helpline numbers in Nepal with a personalised message, "May Allah look after all. Here r the emergency contact numbers for Nepal,share, help. Prayers with all in Nepal. (sic)" Priyanka Chopra posted, "Prayers for all struck by the Nepal earthquake.Natures fury is incomparable.
Share emergency contacts #SilentPrayer (sic)" while Anushka Sharma wrote, "Absolutely devastating to hear about the earthquake. The visuals are terrifying. Pray to God to take care of everyone."
Director Anubhav Sinha, whose house help has gone missing in Nepal post the quake, says that Bollywood celebs often chip in during disasters and social media has made communication all the more effective.
"When actors go out and appeal to local people for a cause like this, people become eager to help. Bollywood has always been at the forefront when it comes to helping victims affected by massive natural disasters," he adds.
Akshay Kumar was caught unawares when rumours floating about him having declared to contribute the first day earnings of Gabbar Is Back for Nepal victims.
The star clarified via Twitter, “Heard a rumour that I am donating #GabbarIsBack’s 1st day collections to the #NepalEarthquake victims. Firstly I am not the producer so that’s not my call to make and more importantly I don’t need to wait for the film’s release to do my bit...”