New Delhi: Members of India’s entertainment industry — including directors Anurag Kashyap and Neeraj Ghaywan, comedian Kunal Kamra, singer and music composer Vishal Dadlani — are adopting novel ways to raise funds for Covid-19 testing kits.
India now has more than 1 lakh Covid-19 cases and is in the fourth phase of the nationwide lockdown that has been in place since 25 March. India is conducting 758 tests per million at present and many believe more testing is required as some states are lagging.
With a shortage of testing kits being reported, members of the entertainment industry have decided to help by raising funds.
The trend began with Kamra, who took to Twitter on 20 May to announce his decision. Kamra recently made headlines for ‘heckling’ Republic TV owner and news anchor Arnab Goswami onboard a flight and was subsequently banned by many airlines from flying for three months.
“We need more RT-PCR kits. This is the fastest confirmatory test kit in India. Mylab is an Indian company making it at zero profit. I’ve adopted a kit which costs Rs. 1,34,000/- for my home city, Mumbai. You can do the same. I am giving away my YouTube button to the highest bidder,” he tweeted along with an image of his YouTube award for passing 1,000,000 subscribers.
— Kunal Kamra (@kunalkamra88) May 20, 2020
“I urge all artists to give away their prize possessions in such difficult times,” he added.
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Within a few hours, filmmaker Anurag Kashyap joined in.
“Highest bidder gets the original trophy for the Filmfare critics award best film 2013 Gangs of Wasseypur,” he tweeted. And this morning, director Neeraj Ghaywan of Masaan fame followed suit.
“I am offering my awards for a charity auction to raise funds for COVID test kits.
– TOIFA Best Debut Director (Masaan)
– Filmfare Best Film (Juice)
– Signed copy of the jury prize- ‘Prix de l’Avenir’ (Masaan) that I won at Cannes Film festival, 2015,” he tweeted.
Singer and music composer Vishal Dadlani’s contributed to this cause in a different way. He has offered “a personal video-call and live-performance of one of my songs with the highest bidder for this cause”.
Meanwhile, comedian and writer Varun Grover will auction his TOIFA trophy for Best Lyricist for the song Moh Moh Ke Dhaage (Dum Laga Ke Haisha, 2015). “Putting it up on ebay in 2050 was my retirement fund plan but i believe now is a better time to use it to secure India’s future,” he added humorously.
Poet, lyricist and scriptwriter Javed Akhtar has pledged to auction a personalised, signed copy of his book, In Other Words, a collection of poems that speak of the urban experience in all its glory and grittiness.
The campaign has so far raised Rs 1,424,849 of the total goal of Rs 2,016,000. Burda Media, India’s largest international publishing house, has said it will donate ten testing kits, which will help 1,000 people get tested for Covid-19 free of cost.
“The money raised through this campaign will be transferred directly from Milaap Foundation to Mylab Discovery Solutions, which will help Burda Media India secure the Covid-19 testing kits that will be donated to hospitals and labs.”
They require Rs 13,44,000 for ten kits in the next 20 days.
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