Akshay, Ajay join Dharavi rappers to raise awareness about COVID-19
The rappers of Dharavi are doing what they do best: mixing art with reality. In a new song, featuring Bollywood biggies like Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn, Suniel Shetty, and Dia Mirza, various artists from the continent's largest slum, took the initiative to raise awareness about the coronavirus pandemic. The song also features Marathi actor Atul Kulkarni and Telugu movie star Rana Daggubati.
Dharavi, the infamous Mumbai slum, found a whole new identity in Bollywood with last year's hit musical Gully Boy. The movie, based on the winning story of real-life Dharavi rappers, brought the slum's bustling hip-hop scene to the forefront.
The new anthem, titled Stay Home Stay Safe, has been produced by rapper Divine's Gully Gang Entertainment. It has been directed by Joel D'Souza and written, composed and performed by MC Altaf, Tony Psyko of Dopeadelicz, and Bonz N Ribz of 7Bantaiz. The song focuses on how one can cope with the pandemic, while living in confined areas such as Dharavi and other slums.
The lyrics emphasize on promoting preventive measures such as staying and working from home, maintaining social distancing, washing hands, and also supporting healthcare workers and police personnel. Notably, Dharavi has been adversely affected from COVID-19, mainly due to poor living conditions and community toilets, shared by hundreds of residents. So far, the slum area has reported more than 600 infections and 20 coronavirus-related deaths.
Suniel Shetty said that it is "an honor and pleasure" to be a part of this initiative. "These are trying times and it's so humbling to see so many people come together to spread a message, that too, so powerfully," he said. "This song truly touched my heart, and I know the emotion will speak to many," the actor added.
Meanwhile, Divine said, "As one of the representatives of the hip-hop community of India, we are extending a small gesture towards the COVID warriors and spreading awareness amongst people residing in the densely-populated areas on the importance of staying home and staying safe." The rapper also asked the youth to co-operate with and help the police, the administration, and healthcare workers.
The new rap song is part of the #StayHomeStaySafe campaign, that has been supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the ATE Chandra Foundation. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc all across the globe. In India, the pandemic has killed 1,695 persons and infected more than 49,000. Globally, the disease has claimed the lives of 258,394 and infected 37 lakh.