Albert Einstein used to charge between $1 and $5 for giving autographs and donated this money for charity. More than six decades after his death, Bengali rock singer Silajit Majumder has started following his example to raise money for the same purpose.
He has gone a step ahead and charges for clicking selfies with fans and even accepting friend requests on Facebook.
“I charge Rs 500 for clicking selfies at a music show. There are those who willingly shell out the money. Years ago, when I started charging money for giving autographs (Re 1), people were surprised. But the genuine fans did spend that money for the autographs,” said the singer, who is known for his Bengali songs Jawl Phoring, Ja Pakhi and Jhinti.
Silajit told Hindustan Times that the money he receives from these platforms go to the charity. The singer runs an NGO, Nouka, which works for the well-being of underprivileged children. Silajit plans to provide academic guidance to the children too.
The singer, who has acted in Bengali films such as Krantikal (2005), Mahulbanir Sereng (2004) and Asukh (1999), said Facebook is a good platform for creative people to remain in touch with fans.
He too likes sharing information of his upcoming albums and songs. But soon he realised that people were more interested in becoming friends on Facebook than knowing about his upcoming albums.
“Do they realise the meaning of friendship or do they just want a popular face on their friend list? I was confused and hence I thought why not see if they are really interested in becoming my friend or not? I started charging Rs 500 for each request,” the singer said.
What started off as a deliberate move to discourage fans from sending innumerable friend requests on Facebook, has now become an initiative for a greater social cause.
The singer had received money from two fans and now wants to take this movement forward to support this NGO.
If he receives good response, he will soon start online payment for his NGO.
The X=Prem singer recalled an incident some years ago where a fan handed him one Rs 100 note and asked him to give 100 autographs. The singer obliged. The singer also plans to reward those who pay for the friend requests.
“I will meet them at my place, talk about my work and also gift them my new album,” said the Bigg Boss Bangla season 2 participant.