Days after being roped in as a brand ambassador for Planet India, the veteran actor chats exclusively to The Statesman
Veteran film actor and social activist Jackie Shroff feels social media can play a bigger role in creating awareness about the burning issues particularly those related to the environment that the world is facing today. The actor who has been promoting sustainability and green living for a long time was recently roped in for the Planet India campaign which showcased powerful stories of India’s climate and nature heroes.
In an exclusive interview with Aditya Kant and Chandrani Banerjee, Jackie Shroff maintained that while it was good that several volunteers and people from different cross-sections of life were coming forward to plant more trees, it was equally important that the plants are taken care of and looked after well.
Expressing his concern about the lack of awareness amongst the masses about the growing pollution, the actor feels that everyone needs to do his bit to make an impact and create a better world for the coming generations.
“Plants are to be looked after like our kids. It really hurts me when I see saplings and plants being discarded in the surroundings. Will we ever do this to our kids? The time has come when each one of us need to adopt plants in our surroundings like our children. We need to nurture them for our future generations,” said Shroff.
Jackie Shroff will be highlighting the stories of young Indians who are rewriting the narrative of climate change. The campaign has brought together international and Indian filmmakers. These filmmakers will show inspiring stories of how people and communities across the country are indulging in innovation and ingenuity vis-à-vis the climate crisis. “Planet India is a way for us to get inspired by these amazing innovators,” he adds.
Himself leading from the front, the actor can be seen carrying a sapling at every public event he attends.
“Let’s get it clear. It’s everyone’s job to plant trees. We don’t want our coming generations to curse us for polluted and poisonous surroundings. Do you want to leave a poisonous legacy behind?” he asks.
Jackie Shroff says his indulgence with the campaign continues even at the sets of shoots where he keeps gifting saplings to the staff.
“Protecting the planet is something which is very close to my heart. It’s such a great feeling to be in touch with such people across India, who share this passion and are doing incredible things,” he mentioned, adding that the campaign has given him hope for the future.
The campaign that kicked off ahead of the G-20 Summit in the capital, in fact, is a first-of-its-kind powerful visual storytelling campaign celebrating India’s solutions to the climate and crisis seen in nature.
Hailing the initiative of the government during the G-20 summit that witnessed the signing of the Green Development Pact and in which the visitors and dignitaries were offered green saplings, the actor said such initiatives go a long way in promoting awareness about greenery and growing pollution.
When asked how the awareness campaigns in which the celebrities take part can be taken to the grassroots level amongst the masses, the veteran actor said it can only be done through awareness and bringing minor adjustments in one’s daily life.
“Just be mindful of how many utensils you use while having a meal. If you can avoid using more than one, you will be not only saving water but also minimising the pollution being caused while washing these dishes,” Jackie reflected.
Asked how successful he has been in making his children Tiger and Krishna aware of issues like sustainable growth and environment protection, the actor mentions that his kids have grown up seeing him as an environment enthusiast and now are setting an example for others by nurturing plants and maintaining greenery in the house.
“Charity begins at home beedu. Oron ko gyaan baantne se pehle apne ghar to saaf rakhne kaa, I am happy I could bring that awareness and sense of responsibility among my kids,” said the veteran actor while claiming that enacting the role of green warrior would be a dream role he would look forward to doing in future.