Amitabh to lead AIDS campaign

| 01 December 2004 23:09 IST

India’s megastar Amitabh Bacchan was today appointed by former South Africa President Nelson Mandela as a 46664 special ambassador of India, to lead a worldwide campaign against AIDS.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation chief executive John Samuel announced the appointment after screening the film Yesterday, at the 35th International Film Festival, on the occasion of the World AIDS Day.

Bacchan is the first ambassador being appointed in the Asian subcontinent. The Foundation carries the number 46664, which Mandela was holding during his imprisonment at the Robin island while fighting Apartheid.

“AIDS is a threat to humanity and I have taken it up as a social cause to make people aware through the media, campaign and events”, said Bacchan at a press briefing later.

On the lines of a campaign he led for Polio immunisation, Bacchan expects India’s celebrities to join the campaign to save humanity on the earth.

Bacchan had all the praises for the movie Yesterday, the first movie in Zulu language, produced by Anant Singh and directed by Darrel James Roodt.

“The best part of the movie is that it does not preach but subtly passes on the message in three hours while the viewer also gets involved in a love story”, said Bacchan.

Bacchan has already acted in a short film produced by Smita Thackeray, which shows how the megastar treats his driver, the AIDS patient, with affection and love.

“My son has also acted in a film Phir Milenge, based on AIDS”, he informed, adding that many such episodes are expected from the film industry.

However, Bacchan went defensive when the media persons asked him in what way he would control the promotion of sex and sexual relations through Indian films, as an ambassador, since illicit sexual relation is one of the prime cause to spread AIDS.

“It is up to the government authorities and censor board to formulate guidelines to stop vulgarity in Indian cinema. Ultimately, it is up to the people what to accept and what to reject”, he quipped.

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