We expect super heroes to come to our rescue when we are in a crisis. Such was the situation of the people of Kerala when the floods devastated the state, and we saw super heroes in many. It was also the time when celebrities became real stars. Numerous film actors like Tovino Thomas, Sunny Wayne, Indrajith Sukumaran, Poornima Indrajith, Jayasurya, Kalidas, Priyanka Nair, Vinitha Koshy, Rajisha Vijayan and Rajeev Pillai were in the forefront of relief activities.
Tovino was one of the actors who worked at the grassroots-level to rescue the people of his place, Irinjalakuda. He also opened the doors of his house for the victims and provided temporary shelter for many. Indrajith and Poornima were very active in collecting relief materials under Anbodu Kochi, which sent out essentials to camps. Sunny was another actor who did the ground work along with his friends, rescuing people on boats. Rajeev Pillai postponed his wedding to help the people of Nannoor, his hometown, which was affected so badly by the floods. Those were the days when the celebrities shed their star image and led from the front to help the distressed people. Actresses Priyanka Nair and Rajisha Vijayan were very active in camps as well. Rajisha was busy packing medical kits during the floods, and she handed them over directly to the relief camps. Priyanka, along with her friends and family, was actively involved in providing food to several camps across Kerala.
In the aftermath of the floods, many celebrities and technicians came up with funds and ventures to rebuild Kerala. The funds were not just from Malayalam movie industry alone, Tamil, Telugu and Hindi industries came together for helping the state. Mohanlal, Mammootty, Dulquer Salmaan. Nivin Pauly, Kamal Hassan, Rajnikanth, Vikram, Allu Arjun, Suriya-Karthy, Vijay Sethupathi, Siddharth, Vijay Devarakonda, Dhanush, Udhayanidhi Stalin, Nayanthara, Sivakarthikeyan, Keerthy Suresh, Vishal, Jayam Ravi, Sivaji Ganesan’s family, Arulnithi, Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Sushant Singh Rajput, Varun Dhawan, Sunny Leone, Jacqueline Fernandez and Akshay Kumar were some of the stars who contributed generously to the cause of rebuilding Kerala.
Perhaps, Sushant’s was the most appreciated act on social media. One of Sushant’s fans, named Subham Ranjan, tagged the actor in a comment and wrote, “I don't have money, but I want to donate for the flood. How can I donate? Please tell me.” Sushant quickly replied and assured that he will donate an amount in Subham’s name and will make sure that it reaches safe hands. He donated `1 crore to the relief fund and later, he posted a screenshot of his contribution, along with the conversation he had with the fan. “As promised, my friend, @subhamranjan66, what you wanted to do, has been done. You made me do this, so be extremely proud of yourself. You delivered exactly when it was needed. Lots and lots of love. Fly. Cheers”. Actor Kunal Kapoor used his crowd funding website Ketto to raise Rs 1.5 crore, which was used to help NGOs and other organisations working in Kerala. It was not just celebrities who contributed to the cause.
Anand Theatre in Kottayam, which celebrated its golden jubilee this year, premiered My Dear Kuttichathan, the movie that made the biggest profit in the history of the theatre. The proceeds from the show were donated to the CM’s relief fund. However, this is not the first time Anand Theatre has shown such gesture. The opening movie of the theatre was The Bible in 1968. The movie was based on a flood that the state encountered at that time. So, the owners donated the entire collection of the first day's show to the CM’s flood relief fund then. It maybe a coincidence, but Anand Theatre stands tall by its actions.
Another initiative is on the part of K.M. Madhusudhanan, director of the award-winning movie Bioscope. He’s currently working on a documentary on the floods, which will have an in-depth documentation of the calamity. The cinematography is done by M.J. Radhakrishnan. “I had the plan of documenting the flood once it happened. Currently, it’s in the editing phase. We travelled to Chengannur, Idukki, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Wayanad, etc. for shooting the documentary. Some clips, which showcase the flood in its fury, will also be included. We are planning to premiere the documentary in film festivals. As it’s a documentary, returns will be less. But, whatever proceedings we get will be donated to the CM’s relief fund. The documentary will also feature Nilambur Ayisha. Since survival is the theme and she’s an artiste who has gone through a lot of difficulties, it actually complements a lot,” says Madhusudhanan. The Phoenix State, directed by Gilbert George, was another documentary on the flood. This was done with the help of Cinema Paradiso Club (CPC), a Facebook group for movie enthusiasts. The members of the group helped them in every district they shot. It was also heart-warming that Gilbert got assistance from ace technicians of the movie industry.
Mayaa Sivaa, director of Malayalam movie Dhan, has pledged to contribute 50 per cent of the collection amount to the CM’s relief fund. “We couldn't do anything at the time of the flood. Our movie was first planned for release during that time and had to be postponed because of the flood. That’s why we took a decision to donate half of the collection proceedings to the relief fund. We took the movie with the intention of making a good movie. The collection won’t be a whopping one, but we will do our part,”says Mayaa. Bunny Vas, producer of Telugu movie Geetha Govindam, also announced that the movie’s collection from Kerala would be donated to the relief fund.
80s stars, a group of actors from the 1980’s, donated an amount of `40 lakh to the relief fund. Recently, Association Of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA), came together to conduct Onnanu Nammal in Abu Dhabi, a six-hour-long spectacle, to raise funds for the flood survivors. Almost 80 artistes from the industry associated with the event which included star actors like Mohanlal, Mammootty, Manju Warrier, Dulquer Salmaan etc....