Vidya Balan slips into the shoes of Rajasthan's first female porter; lugs big bags and clicks pictures with fans for money
AN ardent advocate of women's empowerment, Vidya Balan brought cheer to Rajasthan's first female coolie, Manju, by taking up her back-breaking work for Saturday and handing her the money she made by carrying passengers' luggage and clicking pictures with onlookers. This initiative was part of a television show titled 'Mission Sapne'.
Vidya Balan in the coolie costume and (below) with Manju, Rajasthan's first woman coolie
A source says, "Dressed as a coolie, Vidya was at the Sindhi Camp bus stop in Jaipur to lead Manju's life as a porter for a day. She was seen picking up big bags of passengers and even climbing a bus roof to load and unload luggage. Travellers were surprised to see her do the job and take a porter's fee for it," informs a source present at the location.
Vidya earned a big sum of money which will be given to Manju by the TV show makers. Interestingly, the actress also charged people for clicking pictures with her. "When people started recognising her, they approached her for selfies and also requested her to dance or deliver a film dialogue. She charged money for all that and explained the reason behind it. Manju was present with her throughout the day," adds the source.
Vidya says, "As public figures or privileged people, we sometimes forget that most people struggle to make ends meet. Stepping into Manju's shoes has been an eye-opening and humbling experience for me. The difficulties she faces are tremendous, especially in a job that is completely dominated by men, who believe that being a porter is not a woman's job. I am glad that through Mission Sapne I have been able to facilitate some change in Manju's life. I really hope that I have been able to make a sizeable contribution to help her build her children's future."