Covid-19 relief: Bollywood stars and Indian personalities come together for virtual fundraiser

The two-hour I Breathe For India: Covid Crisis Relief event will feature performances and poetry recitals by the likes of Amitabh Bachchan, Rana Daggubati and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, says Give India foundation

From left: Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan, actress Kriti Sanon and South Indian star Rana Daggubati. AFP and Getty Images
From left: Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan, actress Kriti Sanon and South Indian star Rana Daggubati. AFP and Getty Images

Bollywood film stars as well as those from South India are joining hands with cricketers and other personalities for a virtual fundraiser in an attempt to raise 10 crore rupees ($1.3 million) for the coronavirus crisis in India.

Set to be held for two hours on Sunday, from 6pm (4.30pm UAE time), the I Breathe For India: Covid Crisis Relief fundraiser is driven by the Give India foundation and will feature conversations, poetry recitals and musical performances.

Stars who have signed up for the cause include Bollywood celebrities Amitabh Bachchan, his son Abhishek Bachchan, actor couple Genelia and Riteish Deshmukh, Anil Kapoor, Anupam Kher, Kriti Sanon and producer Karan Johar. South Indian stars Rana Daggubati and Samantha Akkineni will also participate, along with spiritual leaders Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Radhanath Swami and cricketer Rishabh Pant.

Former Miss Universe and actress Lara Dutta will host the event along with author Shayamal Vallabhjee.

The event has never been attempted in India before, said organiser Give India.

“What is happening in India is heartbreaking for all of us. With such widespread apathy, it's time we come together to extend a helping hand to those who are severely impacted by the pandemic,” the foundation said.

Funds raised will go towards the buying and distribution of medical supplies, supporting verified organisations helping families under the poverty line, and setting up vaccination and isolation centres.

Members of The Indus Entrepreneurs, a non-profit network of entrepreneurs and investors with their headquarters in the US, have also pledged to match every rupee donated up to $1 million.

Last year, millions of viewers watched more than 70 of India's biggest celebrities, including the country's national cricket team captain Virat Kohli and actor Shah Rukh Khan, as well as international names such as actor Will Smith and rock legend Mick Jagger, appear in the iFor India show broadcast on Facebook, to raise funds for coronavirus relief.

This year, too, many Bollywood stars, from Priyanka Chopra Jonas to Salman Khan, have been using their celebrity status to help out as the country grapples with a second wave of the pandemic.

On Saturday, daily coronavirus deaths in India climbed to a record 4,187 as the pandemic intensified in the world’s worst-hit nation. The country also recorded another 401,078 cases on Saturday, and accounts for nearly half of the world's new known cases.

Bollywood star Anushka Sharma and her husband, Kohli, also announced on Friday that their Covid-19 relief campaign had already raised more than 3.5 crore rupees in only 24 hours.

"Grateful to everyone who has donated so far. Thank you for your contribution. We have crossed the halfway mark, let's keep going," Sharma posted on Twitter on Friday.

The celebrity couple, who donated 2 crore rupees towards the campaign, aim to raise 7 crore rupees on the platform Ketto, and said the money raised would go towards providing oxygen, medical manpower, vaccination awareness and telemedicine facilities.

On Sunday, Sharma posted a tribute to healthcare and frontline workers.

“Their dedication is truly inspiring. You continue to risk your lives for the nation, and for that, we are eternally grateful to you. You are the real heroes, for Virat and I, and for the nation,” she said.

Updated: May 10, 2021 01:48 AM

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