After Akshay Kumar and Salman Khan, it’s the turn of another Bollywood heavyweight, Shah Rukh Khan, to put his money behind the fight against COVID-19. However, unlike Akshay and Salman, SRK’s appears to be a more diversified portfolio when it comes to charity, routing the assistance to a number of organisations through his own group of companies: Kolkata Knight Riders, Red Chillies Entertainment, Meer Foundation and Red Chillies VFX.
While lauding the Central government’s COVID-19 efforts, as well as those of the Maharashtra, West Bengal and Delhi State governments, SRK announced several key initiatives to extend his support that he hoped would “make a small difference”. “We have initially focused our efforts on the three cities — Mumbai, Kolkata and New Delhi — with the realisation that this is a start and we stand ready to contribute in whichever way possible going forward,” he said in a press communication on Thursday.
The aim is to not only provide relief during the pandemic, but also help raise awareness about COVID-19 and encourage more people to come forward and help. To ensure that the basic necessities reach many who are being deprived of them in these trying times, the allocated funds will be distributed amongst various beneficiaries for a wide range of issues and concerns.
So in the wide-ranging relief package, Kolkata Knight Riders, the IPL franchise co-owned by Gauri Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Juhi Chawla Mehta and Jay Mehta has committed to contributing to the PM-CARES Fund.
Red Chillies Entertainment owned by Gauri Khan and Shah Rukh Khan has committed to contributing to the Maharashtra CM’s Relief Fund.
KKR & Meer Foundation will work with the West Bengal and the Maharashtra governments and contribute 50,000 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits for healthcare providers. They will also work to raise awareness to encourage other contributions. “Supporting and protecting the healthcare workers is of paramount importance. They are the real heroes who put their lives on the line everyday to protect us,” said the statement.
Meer Foundation, along with Ek Saath – The Earth foundation, will provide daily food requirements to over 5,500 families for at least a month in Mumbai. A kitchen will also be set up to send out 2,000 freshly cooked meals every day to help households and hospitals whose daily needs aren’t being fulfilled.
Meer Foundation, in association with Roti Foundation, will provide three lakh meal kits to 10,000 people per day for at least a month. Roti Foundation was founded by former director general of police, Maharashtra, D. Sivanandhan. During the COVID-19 outbreak, they have tied up with the Mumbai Police and are providing meals to underprivileged people and daily wage labourers.
Meer Foundation, in association with Working People’s Charter, will provide basic essentials and grocery items for at least a month to over 2,500 daily wage workers who have been identified across Delhi.
It will also provide a monthly stipend to over 100 acid attack survivors, which will take care of their basic needs. The survivors identified are across Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Bihar, West Bengal and Uttarakhand.
“This is a start and all the members of the companies stand committed to doing further as we see across India what all is required and put our best effort going ahead,” said the statement.
“At a time when the human race is facing an immense crisis, there can only be one true response — the expression of humanity itself. This is a moment for all of us to come together in a collective effort to make each other kinder, stronger and braver to face the days ahead,” said SRK.
He said that the crisis is not going to pass in a hurry, it will take its time and its toll on everyone. It will also show everyone that there isn’t really a choice between looking out for oneself and looking out for one another. “There’s nothing more obvious in the spread of this pandemic, than the fact that each one of us is inextricably connected to each other, without any distinction,” he said, adding, “So, while we do whatever we can to support each other in our own small ways, the compassion we show to those who are likely to face the most brutal brunt of both, the pandemic and its economic consequences, will define us as a generation and as a nation.”
He added, “The scourge we are up against, is fearsome and unknown to us. Like all uncharted paths, our journey to overcome every new challenge it throws at us, will be arduous. There will be times when the best intentions might yield the wrong results. There may also be times when we accidentally stumble upon important solutions. All we can really do is try our utmost to adapt and confront each challenge with courage. As a nation, and as a people, it is our duty to give it all we’ve got. Only together we will be able to fight through these difficult and unimaginable days.”
He ended in his characteristic starry style, bending his own popular “ Aur paas, aur paas (And closer and closer)” dialogue in Dil To Pagal Hai to urge people to maintain distance: “ Thoda door...aur door...aur door...aur door (a little further, and further, and further)”
Earlier Akshay Kumar had pledged ₹25 crore to the PM-CARES Fund and Salman Khan had come forward to financially support 25,000 daily wagers from the film industry through his Being Human foundation.