Bollywood auctions role for funds to curb crimes against women

by Nita Bhalla | @nitabhalla | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Thursday, 23 May 2013 11:03 GMT

Bollywood actress Bipasha Basu dances during the International Indian Film Academy show in Toronto, on June 25, 2011. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

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Working with Oxfam partner in Scotland, producer Pooja Bhatt offers bidders in Scotland chance for speaking part or role in elaborate song and dance sequence in one of her upcoming films.

NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Bollywood producer Pooja Bhatt is auctioning off a role in one of her next Hindi-language films to help raise money to reduce rising cases of violence against women in India, the charity Oxfam has said.

The opportunity, organised by Oxfam's partner Scottish Circle, is available to people in Scotland, where the highest bidder will win the chance to star in a film that will be screened to millions.

"I would be delighted to offer a role to the highest bidder in either the film ‘Bad’, which would be a speaking part… Or they could win a part in my film ‘Cabaret’, where they will get to participate in an elaborate song sequence complete with colour, dancers and the works," Bhatt said in a statement issued by Oxfam.

In December 2012, the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student in Delhi received widespread international coverage as thousands of urban middle class Indians took to the streets to protest crime against women and girls in the country.

In 2009, there were more than 2 million incidents of violence against women in India - a 25 percent increase since 2004, Oxfam said, adding that its research indicates that almost 40 percent of women have been abused by their husbands, though very few women report such incidents to police.

Bhatt, 41, whose first film "Tamanna" focused on the controversial issue of female Infanticide in India, has starred in award-winning films such as “Zakhm” and “Border”, and produced numerous films.

The statement said Bhatt hopes to travel to Scotland later this year to raise awareness of gender crimes in India and look at how Scotland addresses domestic abuse.

"The money raised from auctioning the Bollywood role will be used by Oxfam in India to help eradicate violence against women. The project supports victims to report violence to end impunity and helps them to become financially independent," the statement said.

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