Some of their peers were criticised for “flaunting” their holiday pictures as India grapples with a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, but many Bollywood stars are also using their celebrity to help out in the ongoing crisis.
From Priyanka Chopra’s fundraisers to Salman Khan’s food distribution for essential workers, stars are stepping up and doing their best as infected cases hit a record high of 401,993 on Saturday, three times the daily cases of the United States, the world’s worst-hit country.
More than 215,542 have died from the coronavirus in India as the country’s healthcare system is overstretched, and experts warn that the worst is yet to come.
On Friday, actor John Abraham handed over his Twitter and Instagram accounts to organisations working in Covid-19 relief to help connect with those that urgently need the help.
“Anything and everything to save lives and win this battle together,” the actor and producer posted.
Here are all the other stars doing everything they can to lend a hand in the ongoing pandemic:
Priyanka Chopra Jonas
The Bollywood and Hollywood star has been actively using her social media to share Covid-19 resources since the second wave began. On Friday, she and husband Nick Jonas launched a fundraiser, a partnership between the Priyanka Chopra Jonas Foundation and Give India.
“We are appealing to you all to contribute to the healthcare system which is at a breaking point right now. It’s our humble request,” the actress appeals in the video.
Husband Jonas adds: “The funds raised will go towards critical medical infrastructure, medical equipment and vaccination support.”
Akshay Kumar and Twinkle Khanna
Bollywood star Kumar, who’s also been actively using his Twitter account to share resources and information, donated 10 million rupees ($133,810) to former Indian cricketer now politician Gautam Gambhir’s foundation, which is helping distribute free food, medicines and much-needed oxygen to the needy.
The politician tweeted his gratitude in April.
“Every help in this gloom comes as a ray of hope. Thanks a lot @akshaykumar for committing Rs1 crore to #GGF for food, meds and oxygen for the needy! God bless,” he posted.
Kumar, who was hospitalised earlier in April after testing positive for Covid-19, then responded: “These are really tough times, @GautamGambhir. Glad I could help. Wish we all get out of this crisis soon. Stay Safe.”
The Bollywood actor, an ally of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), also donated 250 million rupees ($3.4 million) in 2020 to the PM Cares Fund at the beginning of the first outbreak.
Kumar’s wife, the actress-turned-author Twinkle Khanna, also posted an update on Saturday, saying the couple have successfully secured 100 oxygen generators for those in need.
Khanna has also been actively using Twitter since the second wave began.
“A big shout out to all of you who joined in donating toward this good cause by Daivik Foundation. Here are the oxygen concentrators all ready to ship,” she posted.
Last week, videos surfaced of the star sampling food before they were packed and sent out to frontline workers.
A member of Shiv Sena’s youth wing, the political party co-ordinating the relief work with the star, told The Indian Express that Khan came to check the quality of food that has been sent out.
“Salman bhai [brother] has immense respect for frontline workers. His mother even sends handmade tiffin for the police personnel that has been stationed outside his house on security duty. So Salman bhai thought since the lockdown is going on and these workers are on duty 24/7, we should…