‘Fankind’ founder Anshula Kapoor has always been referred to as the backbone of the Kapoor family by her brother actor Arjun Kapoor. She has slowly and steadily been growing her charity work with ‘Fankind’ and has become a prominent name today.
In a candid chat with Prateek Sur, she reveals how her brother has been instrumental in her choosing this line of work, and also how he is the one who anchors her life through thicks and thins of day-to-day life. She also talks about the way she and her organisation has been helping people throughout the pandemic’s two waves in India. Excerpts:
How has Fankind helped people during the past year and a half of the pandemic?
Within weeks of the pandemic affecting the country, we pivoted to virtual experiences. The first thing that we did was actually conduct a virtual fundraiser where 100% of the proceeds were used by Give India to provide cash in hand to migrant labourers who had lost their job because of the lockdown that was imposed last year, the first lockdown. We also pivoted from doing physical experiences to doing virtual experiences.
Which all celebrities came forth for these virtual fundraisers?
With the help of celebrities such as Vidya Balan, Vicky Kaushal, Parineeti Chopra, Arjun Kapoor, Sidharth Malhotra, Huma Qureshi, Vaani Kapoor, we did a bunch of virtual experiences where we raised funds not just to directly help with the pandemic, but, for example, to provide cash-in-hand to migrant labourers, then to provide ration kits with a month’s supply of ration for an entire family of four, and hot meals as well.
How did your efforts impact the Covid relief?
We directly impacted with Covid relief. We helped with at least more than 22,000 people in the way of providing food or cash-in-hand.
We heard ‘Fankind’ helped people suffering from things other than Covid-19 as well. Tell us a bit about that.
While the pandemic was still raging on, other issues were still very much in existence. For example, children were still battling cancer. Children were still undergoing treatment for cancer, etc. We did associate with NGOs for virtual campaigns that raised money for causes that were not directly Covid-related, but for causes that needed fundraising during the pandemic. We associated ourselves with Cuddles Foundation to be able to provide nutritional support, nutritional supplements, and meals to children who are battling cancer.
Any celebrity came forward for these initiatives?
Huma Qureshi and Sidharth Malhotra were gracious enough to join hands with us to be able to raise funds for Cuddles. We also worked with Vidya Balan for an NGO that she has been associated with for a very long time. We fundraised for Arpan, which primarily works in the field of child sexual abuse. They work with survivors and they work for children in terms of empowering them and providing them counsel about child safety. So, we fundraised for Arpan during the pandemic as well. Of course, we did an auction - our first auction - last year with Sonakshi Sinha's artwork that helped raise money through Give India to provide ration kits for labourers as well. So, not only were we working towards a direct Covid-19 relief, but we were also doing things that were the need of the hour. So, for example, with Taapsee Pannu we worked with Nanhi Kali to be able to fund education for girls because Nanhi Kali had also pivoted towards providing education digitally. So that was another cause that we worked with.
What about the second wave of the pandemic?
This year with the 2nd wave the team was actively working with the people who were directly affected with Covid or whose family members were testing positive by helping them with finding hospital beds, ICU beds, oxygen cylinders, oxygen refills, or even things like finding boarding or ambulance services. Also, pet boarding for people who had to leave behind their pets unattended at home. So, we have tried our best to do whatever in the small capacity that we could through the pandemic and we will continue to be able to fundraise for the pandemic as we did with the RCB blue jersey auction where we fundraised to provide first dose vaccines by conducting a mobile vaccination drive with the help of Give India and Narayan Health. It’s for those who don't have access to vaccines at this point, who come from vulnerable sections of our society and who don't have free vaccination centres in their communities.
On the family front, you’ve been the backbone of the family and Arjun (Kapoor) as well keeps giving you all the credit. On your professional level, how much help do you get from Arjun, when it comes to Fankind?
Arjun (Kapoor) bhaiya is exceptionally kind. He gives me far too much credit and I think he gives me more credit than I truly deserve. But, of course, we do lean on each other. We do lean on each other personally as well as on any other account that we need assistance or we need guidance. He is my older sibling. We do stay together. So there is a lot that's going on in each other's lives, but we're constantly aware of what's happening because we do live together. He's my sounding board. Any problem that I have, big or small, I know he's always there. I can always go and speak to him. It's almost like I know I have an umbrella protection above me. So, if I need anything I know that I can always go to him and ask him for his advice on things. Obviously, we have a relationship where we do talk about everything and anything under the sun with each other. It's always great to have that kind of support. Not just from him, but even from my family. From my aunt, from my masi, from my dad, from my sisters, from my cousins – everyone. I'm actually exceptionally grateful to everyone for just being available to me if I ever need to bounce off any kind of idea, or if I'm ever stuck somewhere and I need to have a conversation that leads to me getting some kind of answer.
Is Arjun also a part of Fankind?
Arjun bhaiya is an integral part of my life in every sense of the word. But he is also an integral part of Fankind. He always will be because he was also my first champion. He was the first person to whom I spoke about Fankind when Fankind was just a thought in my head. His encouragement is actually a big reason as to why I was actually able to bring my thoughts into reality. So, the thought of Fankind became something in reality because of the encouragement that he (gave me), his faith in me, along with the encouragement that he gave me and his faith in the fact that I can do this.