Cine stars pitch in for earthy causes

The instances may be rare, but there are some stars in the Kannada film industry who shine beyond the silver screen.

“People make us actors and stars. We owe something to them beyond our roles on screen,” says actor ‘Ninasam’ Satish of Lucia fame, who is helping the families of farmers who have committed suicide owing to agrarian crisis. He has decided to dedicate 10% of the profit from his future projects to this cause.

Mr. Satish says his decision was “quite natural” given that he hails from a farming family in Yeladahalli of Mandya district, where his family grows rice and sugarcane on two acres of land.

Actors Puneet Rajkumar and Shivarajkumar have contributed money they get from conducting reality shows on the small screen for a trust started by their mother Parvathamma Rajkumar in 2007 that works for the cause of the blind. Members of Dr. Rajkumar family are part of Shakti Dhama, a Mysore-based NGO that rehabilitates destitute women.

Their brother — actor-producer Raghavendra Rajkumar — has, meanwhile, floated an academy to help the poor realise their dream of becoming IAS and IPS officers. “Over thousand candidates, aspiring to get through civil services exams, have to go to places like New Delhi for coaching classes. Now, they can avail the facility here, with scholarships for ambitious but poor students,” says Mr. Raghavendra Rajkumar.

Actor Vijay of Duniya fame surprised many recently with his unusual gesture of paying the fines of five people in Mysuru Central Jail. They had continued to stay there after completing their jail term because they had no money to pay the fine. When Mr. Vijay was shooting for the film Devaru on the premises of Mysuru jail, he learnt about the predicaments of a few inmates and decided to step in. “I just did what my conscience told me to do,” he told The Hindu.

Two more popular actors — Sudeep and Darshan — are also serving public cause in their own way, though they have kept them out of public glare. Mr. Sudeep contributed funds to a charity on Diwali day to meet the educational needs of poor students. Through the support of his fans association, Darshan is helping poor students, patients in need of financial assistance, and technicians who worked for his films.

Yash to the aide of the thirsty

Yasho Marga Foundation (YMF), floated by cine star Yash, has been spending hours trying to revive the vast tank in Tallur village of Yelburagi taluk (Koppal district) by strengthening bunds and removing silt. The tank — which is the lifeline for 20 perennially drought-hit villages — is bone dry. Volunteers associated with it are also educating people nearby on the need to conserve water. Mr. Yash, along with his wife Radhika, a popular Kannda actor, launched the dredging programme on February 28. Tallur tank is one of the few tanks selected by YMF for rejuvenation and is spending an approximate sum of ₹4 crore, according to Mr. Yash. “There is a need to improve and rejuvenate all tanks in the State ... through rejuvenation of Tallur tank I have made a small beginning,” says Mr. Yash. Last August, YMF supplied drinking water to 50 villages in Kalaburagi and Vijayapura districts.

Kondareddypally — Prakash Raj’s adopted village

Renowned actor, director, producer, Prakash Raj (Prakash Rai in Kannada cinema) owns a farm near Kondareddypally village in Mahabubnagar district of Telangana. Every time he travelled to his farm he could not help but notice the problems faced by the villagers, beginning with terrible roads. Coming from the progressive theatre movement of the 1980s, he believed that this required his intervention. He then decided to “adopt” Kondareddypally with a population of 2,000 and met Panchayat Raj and Information Technology Minister K. Taraka Rama Rao 18 months ago to take the government’s consent. The Prakash Raj Foundation, founded in 2015, then got into various developmental activities in the village.

Today the village has an asphalted 7-km road, is plastic free, and has a system in place for waste disposal. Work is on to revive a lake with help from the government and the government school which was in dilapidated condition has now been refurbished. “My idea is not making people seek financial assistance, but become self-sufficient by educating them about their rights,” Mr. Prakash, who visits the village once a week, told The Hindu.

This apart, in Karnataka, Mr. Prakash is actively involved in the Save The Tiger Campaign. He also continues to keep in touch with theatre groups in Karnataka and is one of the people behind the CGK Theatre Festival. Ask Mr. Prakash how he finds time to do all these in the midst of busy shooting schedules, he smiles, and says, “You will always find time to do the things that are meaningful and dear to your heart.”

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Printable version | Jul 29, 2021 3:55:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/cine-stars-pitch-in-for-earthy-causes/article17449864.ece

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