From Prakash Raj to Amitabh Bachchan and Tanushree Dutta several Bollywood actors and media celebrities used their fame this year to highlight issues ranging from communal politics to farm crisis and women rights.
Here’s a list of six celebrities who took a stand this year and made a positive impact on society:
Prakash Raj: The murder of his friend and journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh changed him for ever. The national award-winning actor-filmmaker became one of the most vocal opponents of politics around Hindutva and the BJP in general. Ahead of Karnataka Assembly polls, the actor set off #JustAsking campaign. More people are joining the Just Asking Foundation now and want to understand what we are going to do in the next 5-10 years, he said in an interview.
Javed Akhtar: It should be worrying when you see politicians are better at Twitter than literature's experts. Akhtar is a rarity in India. He is one among few authors who are equally brilliant on Twitter and has brought his wit and wisdom to the internet. In a literary festival in the national capital recently, the self-proclaimed atheist quipped, “it leaves me deeply disturbed when I don’t get trolled by Hindu-Muslim communal bigots on a daily basis.”
Naseeruddin Shah: In a statement issued to an NGO Karwan-e-Mohabbat for their YouTube channel, the actor raised voice against growing communalism and cow vigilantism. After his remarks on how the death of a cow is getting more importance than the killing of a policeman in India today, he stood his ground amid fierce backlash from right-wingers. “A poison has spread in the Indian society .... And I want that every right-thinking person should feel angry, not scared,” he had remarked.
Ravish Kumar: Seemingly unfazed by the right-wingers’ repeated threats to kill him, NDTV's Ravish Kumar continued to hold the idea of India. In an interview to the National Herald in the recent past, the news anchor and journalist had regretted that the “news channels are being used to crush democracy in India.” He had stated that the mainstream media, especially the electronic media, have been serving only the powers that be and generating controversies that serve their purpose.
Amitabh Bachchan: He is frequently accused of keeping mum on the important issues. However, the megastar drew national attention towards worsening agrarian crisis in October. He reportedly helped over 350 farmers from Maharashtra by clearing off their debt. Additionally, he announced to pay off loans of over 850 farmers from Uttar Pradesh. The 76-year-old actor also declared support for Ajeet Singh Karmveer, an anti-trafficking and anti-prostitution activist, who had appeared on KBC.
Tanushree Dutta: The Bollywood actor triggered #MeToo movement in India, challenging sexual harassment of women at the workplace. The movement took the entire nation by storm and saw many high-profile resignations like that of Minister of State External Affairs MJ Akbar. Dutta said in an interview that she was inspired by Christianity, Buddhism, yoga and the #MeToo movement in the United States.