Fankind: When Bollywood Stardom Meets Charity - Eastern Mirror
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Fankind: When Bollywood stardom meets charity

By Esther Verma Updated: Mar 02, 2020 11:21 pm

Anshula Kapoor’s fundraising site helps fans hang out with their favourite celebrity

Esther Verma

Dimapur, March 2 (EMN): In an exclusive interview with Eastern Mirror, Anshula Kapoor—daughter of Bollywood producer Boney Kapoor and sister of the famous actor Arjun Kapoor—spoke about her startup online platform ‘Fankind’, which gives fans across the country a chance to meet their favourite celebrity, while also raising fund for various charities.

Anshula Kapoor, a multi-talented philanthropist—after having worked with Google and Hrithik Roshan’s home-grown brand, HRX—felt that it was time to give back to the fans. In a telephonic interview, Kapoor spoke about Fankind and how one can be part of it, and win an exciting opportunity to spend a day with one’s favourite celebrity.

The organisation has already roped in big names like Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan, Sonakshi Sinha, to name a few, while influencers and celebrities from various lines of work will also be joining forces with Fankind.

EM: How did Fankind come about and who can be part of it?

AK: I used to be a messenger between my brother (Arjun Kapoor) and his fans as he was not part of any social media platform during the first couple of years he started. So his fans would send me messages and videos to convey to him through which I also kind of developed a relationship with his fans. The idea started from there and soon I wanted to do something concrete. I realised that this love goes beyond Arjun but to other people who are nowhere related to me. The fan gratification and putting together magical experiences for them, which can be something they can narrate to their grandkids is what pushed Fankind. My mother has always believed in giving back. No matter how much or little you have if you don’t share that in your community there will be no progress. So putting those teachings and learning imparted from my two favourite people, my mother and brother, Fankind came into existence.

EM: Compared to the rest of the country, the Northeast has a lesser Bollywood fan following. What do you think the fans here can expect out of the Fankind experiences? What or who do you think they would prefer?

AK: This is something I thought of while creating Fankind. The whole idea of being a fan is not just dedicated to one industry. I am a fan of Malala, Ratan Tata. The idea of Fankind is to be able to fulfil your wish no matter who you are a fan of. Because of that, we have a feature on our website called ‘suggest a celebrity’ so if somebody has a wish to meet a particular celebrity, sportsperson or the experience they want to take place, they can write to us. We have had people request for chefs, sportsperson and fashion designers on board. Sabyasachi (fashion designer) and Baichung Bhutia have been requested by people for experiences. As and when we are able to make contact with the celebrities and have them on board, I am more than happy to expand what we do in terms of our celebrity offerings to everyone in India. I want to honestly reach out and touch lives in this diverse country; you can’t be an Indian brand if you cannot cater to every single person. I would love to make that happen.

EM: What is the selection process like after a fan chooses the celebrity?

AK: Once you log onto the experience page on our website, you can select how many entries you want in multiples of INR 200 and the duration for selection takes around 35 days, so one can make as many entries as they want in those days. It is very random; it does not depend on how much money you donate but how many entries you make regardless of the amount. I did not want to make it like an auction. What we also thought was the notion that charities are only for people with money, for them to donate in-kind but what everyone forgets is that an ocean can be formed with small drops of water. So even if you donate as something small as INR 200, you are making a huge difference in someone’s life. Because of the fans’ donations in previous times, we were able to give education to 120 children in a tribal village outside Lucknow.

EM: What were the challenges that you faced initially when starting Fankind?

AK: This is not a concept that is familiar with people. There were a lot of misconceptions; I had to explain myself many times. Yes, I am a girl and I am in my twenties, and I am capable of having a business of my own, which was very challenging. When I was setting up and meeting people for recommendations, it was more difficult to convince accountants and lawyers in order to get things moving. Basically, not being taken seriously was the usual challenge.

EM: How are the charities chosen?

AK: We have a partner called GiveIndia on board and under them, they have completed the diligence of almost a thousand NGOs to make sure that when we raise money for a particular NGO, there is accountability and we define something called a micro campaign where we know how the money is used and who will be impacted. For every cause, I do have a number of charities that I pitch to and present to the celebrity. GiveIndia helps me make a presentation to forward to the celebrity. On the other hand, many celebrities have already been supporting many NGOs. Like Alia Bhatt is an animal lover and supports an NGO to shelter puppies, which was part of a previous fan experience. Because it comes from the heart and having an emotional connection to the cause, even the fans knowing and having some knowledge of their favourite artist or celebrity connects them to the charity as well.

EM: Would Fankind and GiveIndia like to choose charities or NGOs in the Northeast for future fan experiences?

AK: We have a lot of NGOs that are pan India and a lot of the work that goes in is project-based so if there is any project ongoing in the Northeast, we will definitely be considering and putting forward those NGOs. Also the need for the money of a charity is also taken into consideration. Please share with me if there are any NGOs that you know of in Nagaland that we can work with.

EM: What’s next for Fankind? What else would you want to do with Fankind as a platform?

AK: For me, I want to spread joy and positively affect people. I want to expand Fankind and get celebrities from different walks of life and cater to as many people as possible. It’s been six months and we are on a journey that is relatively new. Everything is on the go. Basically, understanding what our learnings are, to better ourselves through technology and the experiences is what we would like to inculcate. Also, help fans get gratification and positively impact the people we help through the NGOs in a holistic manner. I want to make our reach pan India and focus on it as much as possible.

EM: Is it an all-expense-paid trip—if a fan is chosen from Nagaland or any part of the country?

AK: Yes! The whole trip starting from the flight tickets to staying to transfer from airport to hotel and also the fan experience, all are taken care of. We even had an Indian person living in New Zealand flown in for her fan experience some time ago.

Overall, five experiences have been completed so far but funds have been raised for eight experiences which will happen in the next few months. Anshula Kapoor with Fankind is looking forward for fans from the Northeast to share the celebrities they would like to meet and hopefully will be catered to.

“Now that I have said it out loud, it would be great to have an entire fan experience in Nagaland and also visit the Northeast; I want to make it happen.”

By Esther Verma Updated: Mar 02, 2020 11:21:26 pm
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