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Waheeda lauds film industry

Last updated on: October 18, 2003 16:58 IST

Waheeda RehmanActress Waheeda Rehman praised her colleagues in the Indian film industry for helping her with the educational charity, Pratham, which is committed to raising literacy levels among school children across India.

Rehman is the goodwill ambassador for Pratham, founded by Ohio-trained chemist Dr Madhav Chauhan; the charity has already reached out to around one million school children in Maharashtra.

"I persuaded so many of my colleagues to help Pratham," Rehman told in an exclusive aside at a gala evening for UK NRIs held at London's Grosvenor House hotel. The gala was presided over by veteran film actor and MP Sunil Dutt. "Anil Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor, the Bachchans -- Amitabh, Jaya and Abhishek -- Aamir Khan, Anupam Kher... lots of people have helped. Mr Sunil Dutt specially came for this gala."

Pratham hopes to raise at least £150,000 from the ticket sales of the function, which also included a VIP auction. A cricket bat and tee shirt signed by Virendra Sehwag raised £2,000. A dinner for eight persons with Sachin Tendulkar at the master batsman's signature restaurant in Mumbai raised another £2,500.

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Chennai-born Rehman said she became a social activist more than 35 years ago, when she started raising funds for deaf and dumb children and the spastics societies in Mumbai and Bangalore.

"If you want to do something and make up your mind about it, you do take out the time," Rehman said, before she named Amitabh Bachchan as one of the biggest contributors to the causes she supports. In the mid-1990s, Bachchan contributed Rs 10 lakhs to the spastics societies of Mumbai and Bangalore, she said.

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