Madhuri Dixit-Nene
Madhuri Dixit-Nene Image Credit: Screengrab

Bollywood actors including Anushka Sharma, Vidya Balan, Madhuri Dixit-Nene, Farhan Akhtar and producer-director Karan Johar joined hands to put together a powerful video on April 19 to combat the rise in domestic violence during the coronavirus lockdown, spearheaded by actor Rahul Bose.

They have urged everyone to speak up and stand up against this heinous crime, that has seen a spike in the last few weeks.

In the black-and-white video, the stars are seen urging survivors of domestic violence to speak up and they also urged those who saw such crimes in their own household or in their neighbourhood to report the matter to the police. The video begins with the hashtag #LockdownOnDomesticViolence, a clear indication of their collective motive.

Activist and actor  Bose, who spearheaded the star-fuelled campaign along with Dr Nandita Shah of Akshara Centre, hopes that their initiative would compel battered women to come forward. We are listening is their credo.

“From my first-hand experiences from the 2004 Tsunami to the times of this present Covid19 crisis it is a devastating fact that calamities, natural or manmade, hit women hardest. During this lockdown period incidences of domestic violence against women have spiked alarmingly across not just the country, but the world. It has been my privilege to be a part of this campaign (which, crucially, is in three languages, Marathi, Hindi, and English) created by the wonderful people at Akshara Centre in partnership with the Special Services Cell and the Government of Maharashtra," said Bose.

The video, an initiative of NGO Akshara Centre, ends with the helpline number 100 in India and a shout out to Maharashtra political leader and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

Other actors who have participated in this video include Dia Mirza and cricketer Virat Kohli, Sharma’s husband, and female cricketer Mithali Raj.

The coronavirus lockdown has seen a spike in domestic violence incidents with women aid groups reporting a rise in domestic abuse incidents.