The CSR Reel is Missing from Bollywood’s Big Bang

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By Vijay Kumar Ratre, Mumbai

In my recent years of stay here in Mumbai, where I also have come across number of stars on my way, I have ever wondered that these money making giants of Bollywood cinema have a very little to dispose as their corporate social responsibility. Even to some of my acquaintances I have put-forth the question arising inside my skull that- the Bollywood being an industry with the turnovers of thousands of crores, has not have any concrete stand on social responsibility towards India and its people as a whole, and more specific towards Mumbai? Adding to this mixture of profit making commerce, the Indian cinema has completed its 100th year this year and number of shows, awards and programmes are being held or scheduled to commemorate the same.

vijay_kumar_ratreWe can find hundreds of examples where big celebrities have stood for various causes and for the social reasons, shed their pockets and made huge charities too. The examples can be taken from any of the celebrity and his or her cause; like Amitabh Bachchan for Polio, Amir Khan for Narmada Bachao or Satyamev Jayate or for Bhopal Gas Tragedy, Aishwarya Rai for Eye Donation, Yana Gupta and Celina Jaitley for Peta, Shabana Azmi for Slum Rehabilitation, Priety Zinta for cleanliness drive and so many such others. These and all the big and small stars of Bollywood also have been fulfilling their constitutional duties towards country and its development by paying their income taxes.

No doubt that films produced here by these celebrities have wide influences in our society for social changes and giving the best of entertainments to people. Some of the films have even set examples for their social and individual causes for bringing positive thoughts to particular sects. They might even have been sponsoring for the causes of the NGOs and Non-profit Organization that are run under their aegis of from their financial supports.

There are examples of some big celebrities who have opened some educational institutes and hospitals in different parts of country for the benefit of the common mass. But all for the example that are set forth here can undoubtedly be jotted in as an individual effort from the side of the celebrity involved in. There are hardly any examples of collective or so to say corporate efforts made in the name of Corporate Social Responsibility in the whole of Bollywood’s yielding industry. The industry and its big famed banners have a lot to report in the name of organizing big ceremonies and award functions all the year long, but have missed to touch the true thirst of responsibility towards the people at large.

My concern for putting down these lines are just to stimulate the big banners and millionaires of Bollywood towards the need of the hour for the raising a collective or an organizational effort for the cause of community and its overall development. The term ‘corporate’ may not be so easy digestive for the hundreds of small towns across the country, but for the mega cities like Mumbai, where film business is tagged to be the most profiting, this term is as common as  ‘Vadapaav’ here. But do every white collared individual here understand the factual meaning of being a corporate? And if they and their banners proudly announce them as corporates, then unquestionably there follows the responsibility of social responsibility too.

I am compelled to trace the great explanations of Corporate Social Responsibility given by Goodpaster and Matthews late back in the year 1982, when this concept was being nurtured, and that says “When making a profit conflicts with respecting the welfare of the community, corporations do not always choose profit as their only goal. They look within to their boards of directors and managers, they take time to hear community representatives, and they chose courses of action carefully geared to the needs of the community as well as their own.” This particular notion inherits the ‘being human’ aspect of business where nurturing the causes of the community and working to solve their issues are considered equally significant while increasing one’s wealth.

Most of the major governmental and non-government corporations and industries do portray a clear picture of corporate social responsibility in the form of community development, working for education and empowering women or legal aids etc. These are also a part of their routine business curriculum, and one can find their testimonials at their fingertips. But Bollywood that proudly states it as the gateway to the corporate world, I think has to make genuine efforts towards this, not among its individual celebrities but as an organisation, in a collective form.

Some of the banners have even been granted government support and financial aids for their sustainability, some film companies are certainly making their true efforts for the sustainability of Indian theatre, Indian form of dance and music, but the Bollywood big boost to India and its people is still awaited that would have an united spirit of corporate social responsibility in it. The Bollywood is missing the strings of its collective responsibility and reel of actual communitarian responsibility is absent; and this is the right time I feel, while commemorating centenary of Indian cinema, that it comes out with concrete ideas for the benefit of people of India, who have always enjoyed their movies and put their hard earned penny to the pockets of these stars.

Vijay Kumar Ratre, Associate Editor, INDIACSR, Mumbai. He can be reached at vijayratre@hotmail.com

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