Bollywood pandemic:

Actor Sonu Sood’s humanitarian work during the pandemic consumed yards of newsprint and TV space. (IANS photo)

NEW DELHI – The devastating Covid-19 pandemic delivered a sucker punch to thousands of people across the country during the year 2020, upending their lives in countless unimaginable ways. Owing to the nation-wide lockdown due to the pandemic, a lot of people struggled with financial issues, others bid goodbye to their loved ones, many others found themselves without jobs and means of livelihood. Along came grief, loneliness, hopelessness, and a gamut of emotions.

As the coronavirus continued its steady march, several Bollywood stars stepped in to help out in their own ways. While some celebrities used their social media platforms to spread awareness on Covid-19 protocols, including social distancing, washing hands, and wearing masks, others helped out with financial donations to organizations and individuals in need.

Here is a list of the good Samaritans of Bollywood:

Sonu Sood

The actor’s humanitarian work during this pandemic consumed yards of newsprint and TV space. Along with his childhood friend and restaurateur Neeti Goel, the actor launched a campaign named ‘Ghar Bhejo,’ which arranged for food, transport, medical and other assistance for over 7.5 lakh stranded migrant workers. Be it providing meals to migrants, gifting e-rickshaws to the needy, funding liver transplant operation for a six-year-old, or helping a girl with knee replacement surgery, he did numerous acts of philanthropy. He has topped U.K.’s 2020 celebrity list for charitable efforts during the pandemic. Through his efforts for helping out the needy, he proved that not all heroes wear capes.

Ajay Devgn

In the wake of the nation-wide lockdown, Ajay Devgn donated Rs. 51 lakh to the Federation of Western India Cine Employees in order to support the daily wage workers from the film industry. Later, in Mumbai’s Dharavi, he donated oxygen cylinders and ventilators to a 200-bed Covid-19 health center. The locality, often described as Asia’s largest slum, had proved to be a challenge for the authorities working there to contain the spread of coronavirus, Devgn’s contribution helped them in navigating the situation.

Shah Rukh Khan

The King Khan of Bollywood remained at the forefront in helping with efforts to fight Covid-19. In April, Shah Rukh Khan and his wife Gauri Khan offered their four-story office space located in Khar West suburb of Mumbai to help expand quarantine facilities for those infected with the virus. His other efforts included donating 50,000 PPE kits to frontline workers, providing daily food provisions for over 5,500 families in Mumbai, and several others.

Akshay Kumar

The ‘Kesari’ actor became the first Bollywood star to step up by donating Rs. 25 crore to the PM-CARES fund. He further contributed another Rs. three crore to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and 1,000 wrist bands to the Mumbai police to help them in early detection of the virus.

Salman Khan

The superstar helped to rescue 25,000 daily wagers of the Federation of Western India Cine Employees and further extended financial support for them. He also made donations to the members of All India Special Artists Association and the spot boys whose payments were stuck. Khan urged people to follow the government guidelines for the lockdown and asked them to take care of themselves and their families.

Priyanka Chopra

The “Sky Is Pink” actor provided over 10,000 pairs of footwear to the frontline workers in Los Angeles, Calif., and also sent 10,000 pairs for the medical workers in public and government hospitals in India. The “Desi Girl”  further helped aid COVID-19 relief efforts by her contributions to various charities and also used her stardom to spread the word about preventive measures to combat the COVID-19 virus.

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