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Bollywood Star Pays Debts of 1.4K Farmers

They lack 'basic necessities,' says Amitabh Bachchan
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 27, 2018 10:15 AM CST
Amitabh Bachchan, right, sits next to Indian actress Kangana Ranaut at an awards ceremony in New Delhi, India, on May 3, 2016.   (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)

(Newser) – Amitabh Bachchan, one of the highest paid actors in Bollywood, briefly mentioned his desire to help farmers after one appeared as a contestant on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, which he hosts. And boy, did he follow through. The actor, who's appeared in some 200 films (including Hollywood titles like 2013's The Great Gatsby), has cleared more than $560,000 worth of debt owed by Indian farmers, thousands of whom are struggling amid crop damage from monsoons, rising fuel costs, and a lack of state support, per CNN.

"Gratitude leans across to the desire of removing some of the burdens that farmers continue to suffer from," Bachchan wrote in a blog post last week, noting he'd "taken care of" the debt of 1,398 farmers in his native state of Uttar Pradesh. Bachchan previously told Who Wants to Be a Millionaire viewers that he helped cover loans owed by some 360 farmers in Maharashtra state, per the BBC and CNN. "I do not want to boast about myself" but "I would urge people to understand the plight of our [farmers]" who lack "even having basic necessities," he said. (Another one of Bollywood's highest-paid actors was sentenced to five years in prison earlier this year.)

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