From Big B to Big K (Salman Khan), Bollywood celebrities armed with brooms, jhadoos and cleaning agents, are joining the Swachh Bharat drive. They could be key to influencing behavioural change among the public.
Amid the rush and incessant honking of traffic, the camera panned over a litter strewn street, over crushed empty cans, soiled papers and the tell tale paan stains on the pavement and corners. It lingered on the bent heads of those seeking Goddess Lakshmi’s blessings, they went through their devotions seemingly oblivious of their surroundings. Not the goddess, who vanished. This is the message of a campaign film ‘Don’t let her go’ with actress Kangana Ranaut playing the role of Lakshmi. The film directed by Pradeep Sarkar also features Isha Kopikar, Ravi Kishan and Omkar Kapoor along with Kangana. Using them, the film attacks public behavior and attitudes that results in indifference towards cleanliness and hygiene.
In another video, Amitabh Bachchan addresses problems related to open defecation in villages and how lack of hygiene results in ill health. He talks about washrooms and making India a swachch place to live. Interestingly, Bachchan is also the brand ambassador for ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ (Clean India Mission).
The video has been launched as a part of the Centre’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan initiative, asking people to join the movement and make India a cleaner place. The video provide snapshots of what some film stars are doing to promote cleanliness and hygiene. It underscores that while people wish for a cleaner country, they don’t necessarily work towards it. So Prime Minister Modi roped in celebrities especially film stars, to drive his swachh message home.
At the launch of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan on Gandhi Jayanti two years ago, Modi chose Bollywood heartthrobs Salman Khan and Priyanka Chopra along with seven other celebrities from different fields. Salman Khan responded positively, those close to him saying he’s happy that the Prime Minister chose him to be part of this campaign.
He said, the “Me & My Foundation” accepts the invitation from our hon’ble prime minister for Swachh Bharat and we will give our 100% for My Clean India. The Clean India drive should be the greatest movement. I have grown up hearing my parents despair that while many of India’s tourist destinations are better than heaven, these have turned into garbage yards due to our lack of hygiene.”
Salman formed a team of nine people, mostly from film backgrounds, to implement his initiative.
The actor has a record of active social work with his NGO, ‘Being Human’, providing help to needy people. Now, with the Swachch movement he has broadened his activities to include sanitation and hygiene.
Salman and his team have initiated a clean-up drive in a village in Karjat and have re-painted homes in three villages in Maharashtra so far. The first was Hatluni, which was cleaned and painted while shooting for Bajrangi Bhaijaan. Professional painters pitched in to help.
The actor has taken the Swachh Bharat drive to Facebook, nominating 100 followers every month to take part in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. It started on Republic Day with Salman’s fans and followers uploading photos and videos of locations before and after cleaning. The idea is the five best cleaning initiatives will win prizes and of course, special mention on Salman Khan’s Facebook page.
Inspired by Modi, Akshay Kumar’s feature film Toilet- Ek Prem Katha, will also make the case against open defecation. Shooting begins sometime in November with director Neeraj Pandey at the helm. The idea for the film apparently came from none other than the Prime Minister, when he met Akshay Kumar at the International Fleet Review in Visakhapatnam. An inspired Akshay Kumar offered to help and the film is the result of that meeting.
South superstar Kamal Haasan was also nominated by Modi for the Swachh Bharat campaign. The actor took to micro blogging site twitter and posted, “Let me thank our hon’ble PM for naming me in this august list.”
Kamal Haasan is apparently reaching out through a group of volunteers called the All India Kamal Haasan Narpani Iyakkam’s volunteers (Welfare Club). The volunteer club is cleaning up the Madhambakkam lake and plan to adopt and clean 25 lakes in Tamil Nadu. As Kamal Hasaan said, “cleaning India’s fresh water bodies is critical and needs to be done on a war footing. All our water bodies are being converted into sewer drains and dump yards. This has to change and the society needs to understand the significance of conserving these water bodies.”
To make his initiative more scientific and sustainable, Kamal Hasaan is planning to join hands with the Environmentalists Foundation of India’s research team. The Film and TV Producers Guild took an encouraging step by urging its members to refrain from displaying posters of their films on public walls and government-maintained structures across the country. The guild believes this practice will motivate the public to emulate the film industry and thereby, play an important role in keeping India clean.
Mukesh Bhatt, president of the guild, who started the campaign, set an example by not pasting the posters of their film Khamoshiyan on public walls. Hrithik Roshan, Preity Zinta, Hema Malini and Vivek Oberoi pitched in with brooms and collected garbage. Big B regularly posts on twitter about Swachch Bharat Abhiyaan.
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