And they call it Puppy Love... Bollywood stars saving animals.
They’re Bollywood’s finest but the likes of Salman and Aamir Khanare as devoted to looking after animals as they are to their careers. They explain why they all have...
In the dark of the night, while the upmarket neighbourhood of Bandra, West Mumbai, parties behind closed doors, one resident stealthily drives around in search of stray dogs and cats, hoping to not just give them a decent meal but a whole lot of love and care, too.
The wagging tails and the contented purrs from these animals clearly show they love the friendly hand that is there to feed them and provide them with medical care. They don’t care much for the man’s swanky car or his superstar aura. For he is none other than Salman Khan, one of India’s biggest Bollywood stars.
Better known for the mindboggling amount his movies make at the box office, Salman is said to be a huge animal lover, a fact that has not blipped on the media’s radar too often.
Those who know the man behind the image talk about how Salman – along with his father, noted writer Salim Khan – regularly drives around Bandra to help neglected animals, even sometimes adopting them and giving them shelter at his sprawling farmhouse in Panvel, just outside Mumbai, where he plans on building an animal rescue shelter for stray
dogs. “They are my life and I am passionate about them,” he says when asked about his Neapolitan mastiff named Mylove; Veer, a French mastiff; Saint, a Saint Bernard and a Labrador called Mowgli.
“While I do not humanise them, I dislike referring to them as dogs or my pets. This is because they are a part of me, my family and they share my every joy and sorrow. They understand me completely and there is such a big bond, such a rapport that I share with them, that it moves me beyond words. In fact, when Mylove had a litter two years ago, I believe I became a grandfather,” he joked.
Salman, however, is not the only Khan who is passionate about dogs and cats. Fellow A-list actor Aamir Khan has turned his farmhouse in Panchgani, a hill station near Mumbai, into a shelter for abandoned animals. So it was no surprise when he showed up for a charity football tournament organised recently by his sister that was given to him by his father on his birthday in 2006, to Hrithik Roshan, who also lost his dog Puggy last year, these Bollywood superstars not only participated, but dug deep into their pockets for the cause.
When it comes to supporting organisations that work towards giving abandoned animals a better life, Bollywood stars have never hesitated. The stunning Kalki Koechlin, for instance, not only lends star power to several campaigns, but has rescued two kittens from the mean streets of Mumbai.
“I remember I was new in the city and did not have a proper source of income at the time, but when I saw these kittens at a traffic light, I could not leave them there,” says Kalki.
“I brought them home and named them Masala and Dosa. Masala did not like his new surroundings and ran away one fine day but Dosa decided to stick around. He is a super cat – he’s cuddly, affectionate and a natural good looker.”
Kalki promoted the Adopt! Don’t Buy mantra for the Adopt a Stray Foundation, which, as the name suggests, encourages people to adopt stray animals. She says, “With so many homeless animals suffering
‘My pets are part of me, and they share my every joy and sorrow. There is such a bond and rapport’
Nuzhat and daughter Ira to raise funds for Nuzhat’s non-profit organisation, the Tigi Foundation.
Named after Aamir’s favourite cat, Tigi (Trust In Goodness Inside) aims to build a state-of-the-art animal shelter just outside Mumbai. It will be able to accommodate 100 animals at full capacity with an in-built clinic to ensure the residents get the medical attention they need. The shelter will operate on a ‘no animal left behind’ policy, accepting all animals regardless of their age and health.
The event saw the who’s who of Tinseltown providing their full support. From Abhishek Bachchan, who was heartbroken from the loss of his pet dog Shanouk, a Piranha Dane
Salman Khan with man’s best friend
Salman and his dog Veer team up on a TV talent show
Animal charity Tigi is named after Aamir Khan’s favourite cat
This cute puppy is at home on Aamir’s farm
Aamir is building a state-of-the art animal shelter outside Mumbai