Movies have a great impact on society in India, with crazy fan followings for big stars. But while fans are willing to follow their favorites wherever they lead, where exactly are the stars leading their fans?
In Tamil films, Rajnikanth has done a lot to help ordinary people, through his charitable trust. In Telugu films, Chiranjeevi started a blood bank and an eye bank, again through his charitable trust. In both cases, the stars issued a call, and their fans responded in droves.
In Hindi films, the emphasis has always been much more on glamor than in other language films, and perhaps this rubs off on the stars, too. But, while many stars lend their names to this or that charity, and they do come together to raise funds for major calamities like the tsnami, there hasn't been anyone who has prompted his or her fans to emulate them in good works. Or so I thought.
Recently, though, I came across a website (salmanmania.com) which describes a novel way some fans of Salman Khan's celebrated his birthday. Unbidden and unsolicited, these fans decided to pool together contributions from among themselves and send Rs.50,000 to the Salman Khan Foundation, which was set up to help people with extreme medical problems requiring expensive treatment. In addition, they sent a further amount to the St. Anthony's Age Care Home in Mumbai, which is sponsored by Salman Khan.
A little research showed that Salman Khan has a long history of helping individuals and organizations, through personal time commitment, monetary donations, and acting as a spokesperson to raise funds on their behalf. Now he has set up this foundation to organize these charitable efforts in a more systematic fashion. He has not issued any widespread appeals, either to his fans or anyone else, so it is all the more noteworthy that these fans should have taken this action on their own. They do say that they have been inspired by Salman Khan's example.
It's nice to see a star who is leading his fans on the path to good works, and not just fashions and fads. Let's hope more fans follow this example.
Blog can be accessed at http://nom-de-plume.sulekha.com/blog/post/2008/01/film-stars-and-their-f...