The actors have decided to get their act together. In a move that's bound to raise eyebrows within the film fraternity, actors Sanjay Dutt, Sunil Shetty, Anil Kapoor, Salman Khan, Ajay Devgan, Abhishek Bachchan, Fardeen Khan and several others have decided to swallow their egos and come under an umbrella.
In an EXCLUSIVE chat with this writer, both Sanjay Dutt and Sunil Shetty confessed that the move would have a positive impact on the entire industry. Says Shetty, "It's a healthy development that will have far-reaching repercussions. We have started a trust that will be involved in charity work."
Actually, the seeds of this consortium were first sown when six actors got together and worked like one close-knit family in far-away U.S. "Amit-ji [Amitabh Bachchan] inculcated this habit in us while shooting for KAANTE," Shetty divulges, "There was bonhomie on the sets all the while. We forgot our differences and were like one family."
"But," Sanju tells me, "The movement further gained momentum when we started shooting for L.O.C. With 30 artistes in the cast, right from top stars to television actors, we used to get together every night and interact closely. Actually, J.P. [J.P. Dutta] is like one big headmaster who insists that we should have our evening meal together. That's when we actually started bonding. There were no egos or personality clashes. I interacted with the same intensity with a TV actor like I did with any big screen actor on the sets."
Adds Shetty, "Come to think of it, there's work for everybody in the industry. All of us have enough films in the kitty, so there's no need to feel insecure. In fact, by joining hands we'd be able to carry out so much of positive work."
To start with, the I.I.F.A. Weekend 2003 will open with the Samsung I.I.F.A. Charity Cricket match, to be held on May 15 at The Centurion Cricket Ground in Johannesburg [South Africa].
Conceptualised by Wizcraft International Entertainment, the team will include Harbhajan Singh, Dinesh Mongia, Mohammed Kaif, Zaheer Khan and Anil Kumble joining hands with Kapil Dev, while the rival team will include Sunil Shetty, Anil Kapoor, Salman Khan, Akshaye Khanna, Rahul Khanna, Zayed Khan, Fardeen Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan, Arbaaz Khan, Sanjay Kapoor, Bobby Deol and Shilpa Shetty.
South African sport stars Pat Symcox, Graham Pollock, Shaun Pollock and South African celebrities will pitch their talents on the cricket field as well.
The funds raised from the match will be used to provide relief to the backend staff and their families that have faced misfortune during the course of shooting of films.
Actually, Shetty has been instrumental in helping put the cricket match together. Others who have played an equally important role include Anubhav Agarwal from RNA Mirage Builders [who has donated three flats], Samsung India, Mehul Choksi from Gili, Sony Entertainment Television and B.V. Rao from Venky's Chicken.
So, what next? "Just recently," says Sanju, "Several dancers with whom I had worked very early in my career, during the ROCKY days, approached us. They seem out of work and we intend raising funds for their families."
Let's hope the new move by the artiste fraternity continues with its honest intentions unitedly. For, like they say, united we stand, divided we fall!
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