Mumbai: Prominent personalities from the Indian film industry, including Amitabh Bachchan, Lata Mangeshkar, Rajinikanth and Akshay Kumar, lit candles and lamps on Sunday, responding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal to show solidarity in the country's fight against coronavirus.
The prime minister on Friday urged people to switch off lights at their homes and light lamps, candles or turn on mobile phone torches for nine minutes at 9 pm on April 5 as a gesture to "challenge the darkness spread by the corona crisis".
Bachchan, 77, shared pictures of him lighting a torch, mentioning a line from his father Harivansh Rai Bachchan's poem in the caption.
"T 3492 - 'Hai andheri raat par diya jalaana kab maana hai (In the hour of darkness why not light a candle)' ... another epic poem of my Father and how visionary it has proven tonight for the #9PM9minute call. Will put up the entire poem by tomorrow on video!" Bachchan tweeted.
Mangeshkar shared photo of hers lighting a diya.
"On the call of honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi, come let''s light the lamp together," she captioned the picture.
Uploading a picture of him holding a candle on Twitter, Akshay captioned, "Together we stand and together we will come out of this dark phase. Till then stay strong, stay safe #9Baje9Minute."
Sharing a picture with his wife Latha, superstar Rajinikanth tweeted, "#StayHomeStaySafe #Solidarity #Unity #IndiaFightsCoronavirus."
Actor couple Deepika-Ranveer shared a picture, where the "Gully Boy" star is holding a candle. "9pm9Minutes" the duo captioned the picture.
Anil uploaded a video on the microblogging site and captioned it as: "All in this together."
The clip showed his house, decked with lamps, with the "Malang" actor holding a candle and walking with prayer chants in the background.
Madhuri Dixit said people are united in order to fight this pandemic.
"Let the light of the diyas, candles bring back light into our lives as these illuminate our hearts with positivity & strength," she wrote.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan shared a family picture with lamps sans caption on Instagram.
Actor Alia Bhatt said light holds more depth than just "illuminating our lives" and in the current times, it signifies hope.
"Light means so much. It’s hope, beauty, strength. Today it was unity. But no matter where we are and what we are going through we must always try and keep the light within us alive," she wrote on Instagram.
Actor Anushka Sharma shared a picture of her lighting a lamp, along with cricketer-husband Virat Kohli, and wrote how she has prayed every day since "the turn of the recent events across the world."
"I have prayed to God to end the suffering of so many who are losing their lives without their families beside them, for the less-fortunate and the needy whose lives have turned upside down completely, for all the healthcare professionals who are working tirelessly and bravely to protect the lives of other beings.For those who are uncertain about their jobs and future. So tonight, I prayed extra for everyone and I lit diyas with the whole of India and we all prayed for each other. Prayers never go in vain," she wrote.
Actor Vicky Kaushal shared a picture of candle diyas on Instagram Story and captioned it as "light and positivity to all!"
Filmmaker Karan Johar took to Instagram and shared a video, where his children, Ruhi and Yash, along with his mother Hiroo, lit candles and used flash lights.
"Let there be light. There is light at the end of this dark tunnel," the filmmaker captioned the clip.
Actor Katrina Kaif shared her picture with lamps and quoted fantasy author JRR Tolkein from "Lord of the Rings" book series.
"May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out (LOTR)," she captioned the photo.
Among those who also shared their pictures of lighting candles were Taapsee Pannu, Paresh Rawal, Randeep Hooda, Sunil Grover, Pawan Kalyan, Dulquer Salmaan, Nagarjuna, Janhvi Kapoor, among others.
This was the second such mass activity undertaken by the citizens of the country after PM Modi''s March 22 Janata Curfew initiative, where people clapped and clung utensils to express gratitude to those who have been providing essential services during this crisis.
According to the Health Ministry, the death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 83 and the cases climbed to 3,577 in the country on Sunday till 9.55 pm.
However, there were stars who also criticised the use of firecrackers during this exercise.
"People are bursting crackers. Just FYI . They dogs are freaking out. Do people think it's Diwali? I'm so confused," tweeted Sonam Kapoor.
Actor Adil Hussain also wondered why some people in south Delhi burst crackers.
"Why are people bursting crackers? Was this part of instructions as well? Just when the air was clearing out. This is disheartening and sad," actor Dipannita Sharma tweeted.
Lighting a diya, writer-lyricist Varun Grover took the opportunity to highlight the struggles of healthcare workers during this pandemic.
"Please light diyas and also show your collective consciousness. But don't forget to fight for more testing and frontline professionals to get PPE kits. Along with ''Jai Jawan Jai Kisan'', also chant ''Jai Doctor Jai Vigyan," he tweeted.
Earlier in the day, film editor-writer Apurva Asrani said he would neither light a candle nor turn the lights off "on behalf of all self employed persons, whose income has completely stopped, I protest the exorbitant interest your govt is charging on the #EMIMoratorium."