Bollywood unites to present caring face

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT in Mumbai
  • Published 7.02.05
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Mumbai, Feb. 7: Associating with a cause is usually nothing more than a photo-op for Bollywood stars. But, on Sunday, Bollywood put up an event to raise funds for tsunami victims.

At the end of the six-hour Help Telethon concert that went on till 2 am, the celebrities raised over Rs 10 lakh ? only through SMS.

More than the crores of rupees that the fundraiser intends to raise, it is the sentiment that Bollywood cares that counted.

Barring Hrithik Roshan, who is believed to be unwell in Hong Kong, most of the heavyweight stars were present at the concert at Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai.

Amitabh Bachchan opened the show reciting a poem and followed it up with an Awadhi Holi song. Then teaming up with son Abhishekh and Mallika Sherawat he played the remix version of his evergreen hit Rang Barse.

Shah Rukh Khan did his jig on Main Hoon Na, while Isha Sharvani enthralled the audience with a fusion of martial arts and ballet.

Singer Abhijeet played the title song of Kal Ho Na Ho. While Rabbi Shergil rendered Bulla KiJaana, Strings played their popular number Door.

Among others to participate were Sanjay Dutt, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan, Rani Mukherjee, Aishwarya Rai, Suniel Shetty, Preity Zinta, John Abraham, Saif Ali Khan, Lara Dutta, Priyanka Chopra, Kareena Kapoor, Fardeen Khan, Bobby Deol, and Malaika Arora. Stars of the yesteryears included Rekha, Sharmila Tagore, Om Puri, Sunil Dutt and Dilip Kumar.

Musicians like violinist L. Subramaniam, Kavita Krishnamoorty, Alga Yagnik, Adnan Sami, Sonu Nigam, along with Pakistani entertainers like Moammar Rana and Meera Rafqat Ali Khan also performed.

Compered by Kabir Bedi and Sonali Bendre, the show was attended by information and broadcasting minister Jaipal Reddy, Union sports minister Sunil Dutt, and chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.

News channels beamed live coverage of the appeals for donations that the stars made. Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta appealed to viewers to purchase two of Hrithik Roshan?s autographed jackets. ?My son is a great fan of Hrithik and I would like to buy these for him,? said a man from the audience. The auction bids for the jackets were opened at Rs 51,000 and Rs 1 lakh.

The stars threw open bids for film memorabilia, and dream dates with the biggest names in Bollywood. The highest bidders will get to meet the Bachchans and Aishwarya Rai over tea.

They will get to spend a day on the sets with Shahrukh, do a gym session with health freak Sunjay Dutt or go on a bike ride with John Abraham.

The bidding for these dream dates starts with sums of Rs 1 lakh and goes up to Rs 40 lakh for a painting by M.F. Husain. The auctions, which will continue till the end of February, will be available online at www. helptelethon.org.

?We even have a Michael Schumacher watch to bid for, and costumes and dresses worn by stars in their movies. The bidding has already crossed over Rs 2 crore,? said Sabbas Joseph, director of Wizcraft International Entertainment ? an organiser.

According to Joseph, after the live telethon was simultaneously telecast on six news channels, the number of SMS passed beyond 1.5 lakhs.

Viewers need to type ?donate? and SMS it to 4646, and Rs 10 for every SMS will be deducted from their account and will be donated to the Prime Minister?s Relief Fund.

?We do have a target in mind about how much we want to raise through the telethon, but I wouldn?t like to disclose that. We will try to do our best,? said Joseph, hoping that the telecast of the concert on February 12 would further boost the sums raised.