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Weaving support

Aamir Khan champions the cause of exploited weavers.

entertainment Updated: Feb 11, 2010 01:42 IST
Hiren Kotwani

Actor Aamir Khan, who brought the plight of the Chanderi weavers to light while promoting his film 3 Idiots last December, is planning to take the cause further.

He wants to start a retailing outlet to help these weavers sell their exquisite saris and fabrics. The actor-producer is determined to prevent this skilled art from from dying prematurely.

Khan admits he had only vaguely heard of Chanderi saris from the ladies in his family till Sayeeda Hamid, who was with the Planning Commission two years ago, approached him for help for these artisans. Their earnings had dropped drastically and many of them were taking up jobs such as stone-breaking and road-making to make ends meet.

Helping hand
While travelling across the country in December, Khan visited a weaver’s house in Chanderi and was distressed to see how these craftsmen were being exploited.

“Weaving is a part of Indian culture and needs our support,” asserts the star, who roped in co-actor Kareena Kapoor, a fashion icon herself, to join hands with him.

Elaborating on his plans of starting a retail outlet, Khan says, “Saris made by two weavers over a period of three months is sold in the market for Rs 25,000. But these guys get only Rs 3,250 per person. That’s about Rs 1,000 a month and Rs 35 a day. Although the marketing middleman is expected to make profit, there should still be a more equitable distribution of the earnings. If these weaver stop making the saris, how will anyone buy them?”

Khan has discussed the idea with designer Sabyasachi Mukherji and plans to become a wholesaler for weavers across the country.

“I don’t know if the plan is feasible, but I’d certainly like to explore it and see if we (can) push it through,” he says.