Being a public figure sure brings along with it a host of social responsibilities. And charity is NOT one of them. Because having the will to generously give away one’s hard earned money to others isn’t something that can be perpetuated even as a means of publicity. For actors and celebrities who have been engaged in charitable works for a period of time more than enough to gain social mileage exists, it perhaps is one of the many reasons why the world still believes in the virtue of humanity as being prevalent. As some of the biggest names of the entertainment industry continue to set benchmarks in true generosity, we take a look at the most charitable actors in India who have been serving society in all soul and spirit as artists of true humanity-
Shah Rukh Khan
One of the world’s biggest movie stars and also a global actor with a massive fan following, Shah Rukh Khan is the Badshah of Bollywood. Equally unparalleled is the legendary actor in the realm of his charitable works to the extent that even made him the first Indian to bag a special award at the 20th UNESCO Charity-Gala in Germany for his generosity in such causes.
The 2011 Pyramide con Marni awardee for his charitable commitment to provide education for children, SRK was also only one among the two actors to have found mention in the 2014 Hurun India Philanthropy List, alongside fellow actor Salman Khan. Even as someone committed to keeping his donation making sprees away from the media glare owing to religious beliefs, SRK still comes across as the most charitable actor in India who continues to further the cause of social welfare through his association with many a philanthropic ventures.
The Greatest Actor of the Century that he is revered as, Bollywood biggie Big B Amitabh Bachchan is no less great a soul when it comes to donating generously to social causes. Not only is he actively involved with organisations and institutions that strive to bring about betterment in society, he also is supportive of them monetarily. With a number of donations worth millions each, the superstar has been living up to his image as one of the most influential figures in the public realm in India.
Bachchan’s show of generosity ranges from his 5 crores worth of donations to people hit by floods in Kerala to the ₹1.1 million to help clear the debts of nearly 40 beleaguered farmers in Andhra Pradesh, another ₹1.1 million each to Resul Pookutty’s foundation for a medical centre at Kochi and to the Maharashtra Police Welfare Fund in 2013 as well as a further ₹3 million to clear the debts of some 100 Vidarbha farmers and that of 2100 farmers from Bihar. Extending also his philanthropic works through the Harivansh Rai Bachchan Memorial Trust that he founded, Amitabh Bachchan has committed himself through this organisation to power 3,000 homes in India with solar power generated electricity.
Not just himself but the entire Bachchan family is as steeped in the ideals of altruism, having donated ₹2.5 million to a charitable trust, Plan India, that works for the betterment of young girls in India. Even with lending such substantial financial help though, something he does as regularly as his other works, Bachchan Senior still shies away from being very assertive about his contributions publicly as he says that he feels embarrassed to talk about such charitable gestures that is done in all genuine humanitarian interests.
He is at least as famous for his many works of philanthropy as he is for that swashbuckling superstar personality and Bollywood’s forever most eligible bachelor Salman Khan is every bit the admired on screen figure in real life as well. Having been involved with several charities during his career, Khan went on to set up his own non profit venture as the Being Human Foundation that is committed to helping the underprivileged. In fact so prominent has been Khan’s nature of generosity towards those in need that even without the facts and figures, his is a stature that still pits him as an actor who is indeed among the most charitable in India. Specifically with underprivileged children, Salman Khan doe not hesitate for even a moment in shelling out money to help better their lives in any way he can.
A versatile actor who has dabbled in diverse realms of the arts as well, Kamal Haasan is a south superstar whose legions of fans stand testimony to the enormous charm of him. Aptly then, as one of the first Indian actors to have converted his fan clubs into welfare organisations through which he pursues his humanitarian interests, Haasan comes across as an actor among the most charitable of India. The recipient of the first ever Abraham Kovoor National Award for his humanist activities, Kamal Haasan also pledged his product-endorsement income to social causes, something quite remarkable for someone who had completely refrained from doing any kind of brand endorsement in the past. With his commitment to help and support children infected with HIV/AIDS, this industry veteran and multi faceted talent presents himself as also as exceptional a case in generous benevolence.
Another global icon and Indian superstar Priyanka Chopra is also an actor with numerous works embodying the true, human spirit to her credit. A forever vocal supporter of women’s rights, Chopra has been particularly interested in furthering the cause of the girl child even when she continues to be concerned with the lot of underprivileged children in general. Through her foundation “The Priyanka Chopra Foundation for Health and Education”, the actress donates 10% of her income to support 70 destitute children in the country, out of which 50 are girls.
Also an avid supporter of environmental charities, Chopra has been honoured by US based magazine Variety with the Power of Women award for her philanthropic work while being associated with UNICEF as its Goodwill Ambassador. Her continuing interest in philanthropy and her relentless contribution to social causes through charity also earned her the Mother Teresa Memorial Award for Social Justice as well as the Danny Kaye Humanitarian Award by UNICEF at the UNICEF Snowflake Ball 2019.
If there’s someone who lives up to his many avatars as a real hero in the silver screen as dedicatedly in real life as well, it has to be the Khiladi of Bollywood, Akshay Kumar. With such choice of films that revolve around social issues, Kumar has already been pledging himself to the cause of such welfare that benefits all. And with his numerous contributions to charity, this big hearted superstar is living also the same pledge in person through his generous financial contributions to a wide range of causes.
Be it donating to flood ravaged Indian states or to drought hit farmers, as well as his money lendings to the Prime Minister’s health care fund, Kumar has been the most standout actor of recent times when it comes to charity. In his massive donations that also come of as a quick response to whatever issue the country is facing at the moment, the actor has established himself as not only the most charitable but also among the most popular of public celebrities in India.
An enduring presence in south Indian movies, who enthralls one and all with not just his repertoire of acting skills but also his charismatic looks and style, Mahesh Babu is another silent giant treading the world of charity. With almost 30% of his annual income pledged to charities, Mahesh Babu is more generous that what we know him to be. The insanely popular actor however prefers to keep his philanthropic acts under the radar and just goes about this whole indulgence in generosity in his trademark cool manner. Not only has he donated large sums for numerous causes be it dealing with disasters or to other such organisations supporting similar causes, but Mahesh Babu has also adopted a couple of villages with plans to make them more prosperous and advanced by addressing the basic needs of them.
While most actors genuinely contributing to the cause of charity still manage to make headlines despite their intention of not meaning to, there is one particular Bollywood veteran who has forever been perpetuating his own ideals of generosity, in as much silent fanfare as he can. An actor par excellence, Nana Patekar indeed has to be perhaps the most charitable celebrity of India who gives away almost 90% of his income in the form of donations. From contributing money towards rebuilding of the flood ravaged villages in Bihar through the charitable organisation Anubhuthi to donating his entire earnings from the movie Paathshaala to five different charitable organisations as well as donating also the entire amount of Rs 1,000,000 of the Raj Kapoor award bestowed on him towards drought relief activities in Maharashtra, Nana Patekar has time and again surrendered himself completely to pursuing his philanthropic interests.
As someone who has found in charity and philanthropy his ‘reason to live’, this larger than life hero both on and off the screen also has to his name the Naam Foundation that which helps the farmers in drought-stricken areas of Maharashtra, financially and also otherwise.