On 14 February, audiences in Mumbai and beyond had a very special day – with top celebrities of Hindi cinema Farhan Akhtar, Shaan, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. Mumbai’s Bandra Fort Amphitheatre lit up to high-powered performances at the Lalkaar – Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon concert and messages on women’s rights. It was an evening of celebrations on a special day when women around the world join together in the One Billion Rising campaign against all forms of violence.
The concert was presented by Population Foundation of India (PFI) in partnership with Farhan Akhtar’s initiative MARD (Men Against Rape and Discrimination) and celebrate film and theatre director Feroz Abbas Khan. This was the second edition of Lalkaar, as a continuation of the campaign to end violence against women and girls begun by PFI, MARD and Khan in 2017. Apart from audiences at the venue, the three-hour concert was watched on Facebook Live.
Farhan Akhtar said, “We need to educate the younger generations about gender equality and only then can we expect them to be catalysts of change. Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon has successfully managed to start this change by using entertainment as an effective tool. The enthusiasm displayed by the audiences today proves that more and more people are now ready to change for the better and step up against gender discrimination."
Executive Director of PFI Poonam Muttreja added, “Lalkaar is an effort to unify voices to enable, empower and transform the lives of women. It is a war cry to tell women that Woh Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hain – they can achieve anything."
Feroz Abbas Khan, the creative director of the Television show Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon said, “Lalkaar not only urges people to challenge age-old myths that promote gender discrimination, but also conveys the message that change begins with the individual. Music is a unifying element that helps connect people across different backgrounds."
Film actor Aishwarya Rai Bachchan made a surprise appearance at the concert. She recited the poem ‘Mard’ by celebrated writer and poet Javed Akhtar that talks of the role of men as sensitive, supportive and equal partners. On the sidelines of the concert, Shaan shared how he grew up to value the role of strong women personally and the need to emphasise that women can achieve anything. Ehsaan and Shankar expressed their support for the Lalkaar campaign as an important initiative.