Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra Jonas and a bevy of Bollywood stars joined hands in a five-hour concert to raise funds for workers affected by coronavirus.
“The times are so bad that you will now have to hear me sing a song and not just act in movie,” joked Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, the final performer in the star-studded virtual Bollywood concert ‘IForIndia’ that streamed on Facebook on Sunday evening.
While Khan’s singing was questionable, but pleasing, his intent was noble and he seemed to inject fun and joy into these bleak times of coronavirus outbreak. The charity fund raiser, IForIndia, was aimed at helping all those workers adversely affected by coronavirus in India and to highlight social change.
“Everything will be all right … We will be back with six-packs and to watching matches in cricket stadiums, just give it time,” rapped Khan in a mix of Hindi and English along with his youngest son AbRam, who stopped his father from singing a second song.
The five-hour concert, though bloated and interminably long, did what it set out to do and raised more than Rs30 million as an army of Bollywood stars, sportsting personalities and Hollywood heavyweights implored those watching to donate any amount to a good cause.
The celebrity line-up was massive and the casting would put any Karan Johar musical to shame. Apart from Khan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Chopra Jonas, Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Saif Ali Khan threw their weight behind this cause to help raise funds for all those struggling due to the coronavirus outbreak.
While actor Varun Dhawan danced his way into our hearts, Bollywood heartthrob Hrithik Roshan sang a song while playing the piano. He wasn’t particularly good, but that’s not the point.
Like Khan, Roshan’s musical genius won’t blow your mind, but the collective earnestness shone through.
Actress Chopra Jonas, along with her husband Nick Jonas, also participated robustly. She spoke about letting medical professionals do their jobs without hassling them, while Vidya Balan spoke about the rising case of domestic violence against women during coronavirus lockdown in India.
Actors like Aamir Khan, his wife and director Kiran Rao, singer-actor Farhan Akhtar and Shabana Azmi used their celebrity this evening and joined hands to help workers who had lost out on daily wages due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Hollywood heavyweights such as Will Smith, Jack Black and Mick Jagger – who have been to India before – also supported this cause. Canadian singer Bryan Adams also regaled his Indian fans with a song.
Within 30 minutes, the online concert fundraiser raise saw more than Rs10 million being collected through online donations and the collection clocked more than Rs30 million by 10pm, UAE time.
The highlight of the evening also included a tribute to late actors Irrfan Khan and Rishi Kapoor by director Mira Nair and Amitabh Bachchan. While Nair, who directed Khan in ‘The Namesake’ and ‘Salaam Bombay’, spoke about the greatness of Khan as an actor and an avid listener, Bachchan reminisced about his times with ‘Chintu’ in a nostalgic, personal tribute to the actor. Singer Sonu Nigam, who is based in Dubai, also performed his hits including ‘Kal Ho Na Ho’.
Although there were a few technical glitches towards the end of the five-hour concert, Khan’s segment was uninterrupted and devoid of technical lags.
It was an evening of revelations as action hero Tiger Shroff, who is popular for his gravity-defying stunts, took a stab at singing. He sang the song ‘Roop Tera Mastana’ featuring the late icon Rajesh Khanna and actress Sharmila Tagore’s iconic romance.
The fund-raising effort, hosted by top producer-director-show host Johar, also saw musical trio led by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy open the star-studded concert that was streamed live in the evening.
Actress and activist Azmi spoke about how they were all using art for social change and how coronavirus has united people in a strange way.
“It’s time we realise that how interdependent we are. It is time for introspection, It is time to come together in kinship and harmony. I hope this will lead to a new world order … a world order that is just, a world order that is equitable and a world order that is in sync with nature. Say it out loud. I can, I will and I must help. Press the donate button and do your bit for India,” said Azmi to the viewers who were watching the show live on FB.
Singer Shreya Ghoshal sang the song ‘Tujse Naraaz Zindagi’, while actor Arjun Kapoor reminded us of the daily wage earners who had lost out on earnings due to coronavirus outbreak.
“Press the donate button and show your love for India,” said Kapoor.
Twinkle Khanna also highlighted about the misinformation about curing coronavirus through drinking cow urine. She interacted with a medical expert who said that the virus is going to stay for one or two years.
“We all have to practice social distancing and try to touch less number of people. Stay at home,” said Dr Devi Shetty.
Singer Badshah sang his club anthem ‘Tareefan’ from the privacy of his home along with singer Lisa Mishra.
Actor Sidharth Malhotra spoke about being kind to animals and pointed out that the animals aren’t carriers of the infection and therefore shouldn’t be mistreated.
Actor Parineeti Chopra, sports icons Sania Mirza, Virat Kohli and Oscar-winner AR Rahman also put in an appearance and appealed to everyone to donate generously.
The virtual concert was a great example of Bollywood stars uniting to bring about social change.