I was invited by Screen ( an Express group publication) to a panel discussion on Celebrity social responsibility: does it go beyond lip service? . My co panelists were Imran Khan, Diya Mirza, Raju Hirani, Priyanka Sinha(editor of Screen Weekly) and Radhika Bajaj from UTVi. Panel discussion. Here are some (not all) of my thoughts on the subject.
I think any change good or bad is the result of effective leadership. When one has the opportunity or power to influence someone , that person by default finds himself in a position of leadersip. And the greatest quality of leadership is to be able to lead by example.People should not be unfair by expecting celebreties to take on more than an average citizen can or should. However in the realm of that, the single greatest contribution every celebrity- film sport or any other kind can make is to lead by example. What they choose to do in addition to serve society is their choice and and up to their discretion, and certainly not a compulsion
Often celebrities are accused of using social causes to gain publicity. That may be true in some instances, and even if it is as long as the cause gets awareness its not too bad a trade off. In times when most people are apathetic to what’s going on around them, its commendable that some celebrities take out time to support various causes and use their position to give a platform to issues they feel for.
In defense of the indifference of some , I feel it’s important to understand the changing structure of our society to understand what some describe as apathy. From a nation on which socialism was virtually enforced after independence to the rise of individualism in the 90s, we swung like a pendulum from one extreme to the other. And are now finding balance which is why one sees extremely successful people from different fields , giving up lucrative salaries to step into the murky world of public life.
Would love to hear your thoughts to take this forward.