Amitabh, who was the chief guest on the occasion, recounted his visit to villages in Raigad, Maharashtra, to view the impact of the foundation’s interventions.

“To say that it was a transformational journey would be an understatement. We met and interacted with so many people from the community, and heard so many wonderful stories of empowerment,” Big B said in a statement.

He even recited verses from his late father Harivansh Rai Bachchan's works. Filmmaker Karan Johar hosted the fundraiser and promised to support the cause.

“I feel great pride when I see Ronnie and Zarina, who through their Swades Foundation have taken upon themselves the mammoth task of uplifting one million people out of poverty every five years. I have promised them my entire support and will help out in every way I can,” said Karan.

Vidya joined founder and managing trustee Zarina, in making a pledge for 2,000 toilets for rural households.

“Ronnie and Zarina’s determination comes from their deep-rooted belief in the cause of rural empowerment. Their desire to create an India without barriers; an India free from poverty is beyond remarkable,” said Vidya.

This is the first fundraiser that has been put together for Swades Foundation and it furthers Swades’ aim of bridging the gap between urban and rural India.

The evening also included a celebration of rural India on the ramp by designer Vikram Phadnis. In the spirit of true empowerment, Swades Heroes - villagers who lead by example in their rural communities - walked the ramp with film stars like Sonakshi Sinha, Bipasha Basu, Neha Dhupia, Malaika Arora and Dia Mirza.


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