Imran Khan, Dia Mirza and Gul Panag recently sat on a panel with filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani and others to discuss Celebrity Social Responsibility – Does it Go Beyond Paying Lip Service. Organised by Screen Big Picture in association with UTVi, the event was held at Mumbai’s Express Towers.
“I am quite socially responsible and I strictly endorse only products that I feel strongly about,” said Imran – pointing out that he would never endorse fairness cream and had recently taken part in a theatrical production of The Vagina Monologues, a play about the domestic abuse of women. Imran is set to star in two romantic movies with Katrina Kaif – one for Sanjay Gadhvi and the other for Dibakar Bannerjee.
In answer to another question, Gul argued that celebrities are important in furthering a social cause. “It is great if due to my presence, the cause gets highlighted,” she said. Gul will soon be seen in the media-based thriller Rann with Amitabh Bachchan and also Crooked with Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
Dia Mirza asked “Why is it such a surprise to everyone if an actress talks intelligently? Why can’t she be capable of knowing political issues around her?” Dia, who is looking forward to the release of Acid Factory with Irrfan Khan later this year went on to add, “Compared to celebrities abroad, Indian celebrities don’t do enough. But the fault also lies with the government for not giving us platforms to do enough.”
More generally, Bollywood has been criticised recently for having moved away from its earlier interest in social causes.