The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is beginning to make its way through Bollywood, with some of India’s biggest stars posting videos of being doused with freezing water onto social media. The challenge — in which participants can chose to make a donation to the ALS Foundation or dump a bucket of ice water on their heads — has raised over $41 million since its launch in late July.
“It’s for a good cause, so I’m doing it,” the actress and former model Bipasha Basu says before pouring a tiny metal bucket of water on her head. She posted the video, filmed in her bathtub, to her Instagram account.
Actor Abhishek Bachchan, the son of superstar Amitabh Bachchan, also took up the cause. “Here we go,” says Bachchan, after challenging his father and the actor Shah Rukh Khan. Other Indian celebrities that have taken the challenge include singer Daler Mehndi, tennis players Sania Mirza, Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna (who started the trend in India) and actors Riteish Deshmukh and Sidharth Malhotra.
But Indian cinema’s embrace of the challenge is not without critics. In a column for the Indian news site Firstpost titled “Who cares about ALS: In India, the Ice Bucket challenge is all about fun” the writer Ayesha Perera noted that “in India, it is so off the radar that we don't even have an estimation of the number of cases.” Here’s another reason the challenge may seem out of reach to the average Indian: the challenge’s suggested donation of $100 is out of reach for most of the country’s 1.3 billion people.
— Lakshmi Gandhi
First published August 22 2014, 8:43 AM