From Salman Khan to Vidya Balan: the Bollywood brigade of social crusaders

  • Anirban Das, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: May 10, 2014 12:51 IST

While many people have voted during the Lok Sabha elections to be a part of the change for the betterment of India, there are a few who believe in being the change.

We look at a few actors from Bollywood who have been constantly working across different sectors to bring in the much-needed change that many have just desired for.

Salman Khan

The big step:
Launched the Being Human foundation in 2007

Salman Khan started the non-governmental organisation, Being Human, to help the under-privileged. The actor raises funds through the brand’s merchandise and by organising charity events. In 2011, Salman started a production house, Salman Khan Being Human Productions, through which more money is being generated for the NGO.

Star talk: "Many of us do a lot of charity work. Other than donating our hard-earned money, we also spend a lot of time attending charitable events, visiting ailing patients, cheering our soldiers at the border etc," Salman had earlier told us. Kumar

The big step:
Is starting self-defence classes for women

The actor is going to start a martial arts training institute for women with Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray. The basic training program is open for women of all age groups, free of cost. While the first academy will start by the end of June or early July, more classes will be opened across Maharashtra, and eventually across India later. Akshay, who has studied martial arts, will train the women himself.

Star talk: "I am thankful to Aaditya Thackeray for coming up with the idea and also lending his complete support. This initiative is very close to my heart," Akshay told us.

Aamir Khan

The big step:
Created and continues to host the TV show, Satyamev Jayate.

He is the program creator and host of the TV series, Satyamev Jayate, through which he has been spreading awareness about several sensitive social issues that affect India. The show has touched upon child sex abuse, dowry deaths, untouchability, water crisis, honour killings and more so far. Both seasons of the show have received a positive response.

Star talk
: "As creative persons, we entertain people, but we also feel we have to contribute to our society by bringing about improvement in the social fabric and inculcating better values. Two things are required to change India: one, we should change our attitude towards women, and two, we should not be self-centric and think about working in the larger interest," Aamir said on another show, Aap Ki Adalat.

Vidya Balan

The big step:
Campaign against open-air defecation

According to data released by the National Sample Survey Office, India faces a severe sanitation crisis. Vidya Balan became part of the initiative, called Nirmal Bharat Yatra, taken by the government to spread awareness about this issue, especially in rural India. The actor appeared in radio and television advertisements cajoling villagers to use toilets.

Star talk: "We have to inspire more and more people to make our country open-defecation-free," she said to the media during the launch of the initiative in Delhi. Bachchan

The big step: UN ambassador for girl child

After successfully collaborating with the United Nations for polio eradication in India, Bachchan is now the UN ambassador for the girl child.

Star talk: "I was invited by the United Nations and UNICEF to do the polio campaign and we were very successful. After almost seven or eight years working on that project, now our India is polio free. That’s a huge achievement. The United Nations has now also appointed me for the girl child and we have been working vigorously on that (sic)," Bachchan told us in a recent interview.

Doing good

Celina Jaitly the former Miss India, has been fighting for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people for many years now. Bose has formed the NGO, The Foundation, for the removal of discrimination of all forms in all walks of life. Azmi is also a social and women’s rights activist and a Goodwill Ambassador of United Nations Population Fund. Oberoi has been associated with Yashodhara Oberoi Foundation, Project Hope and Project Devi and several other charitable organisations. Das raises awareness about several causes including violence against women, AIDS, child survival and the need for powerful social movements in India.

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