Bollywood stars, Will Smith raise funds via India virus benefit
New Delhi – Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan told jokes and sang for his adoring fans on Sunday during an almost five-hour online benefit to raise funds for those affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Tens of thousands of viewers watched more than 70 of the country’s biggest celebrities – including cricket captain Virat Kohli – as well as international names such as Hollywood actor Will Smith and rock legend Mick Jagger in the I For India show broadcast on Facebook.
“I can, I will, and I must help,” Khan told fans after singing a cheerful, humourous ditty about how “everything will be all right” following the deadly crisis.
Jagger and Smith spoke about the struggles of rural migrant workers, many of whom have lost their jobs and gone hungry during an ongoing nationwide lockdown imposed from late March.
“They may have lost their jobs, they may have lost their homes. They and their families may be going hungry. So I would like to ask you to donate. Please give what you can,” Jagger said.
Indian actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas and actor Hrithik Roshan, along with local choirs and children, sang or spoke passionately in English and Hindi about raising money for those in need.
Other celebrities interviewed doctors and experts about the virus and how health workers were coping on the frontlines of the pandemic.
Organised by Bollywood directors Karan Johar and Zoya Akhtar, the event has so far raised 37.5 million rupees (S$707,265) out of a target of 60 million rupees.
The donations would be matched rupee-for-rupee by major philanthropic groups including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the organisers said Sunday.
The funds will be donated to more than 100 groups providing food and other essential services during the crisis. - AFP