Anshula Kapoor stands out in many ways. Coming from a family involved with Bollywood for decades – her father is producer Boney Kapoor and uncle, legendary actor Anil Kapoor – Anshula’s obvious career choice would have been acting. After all, her brother Arjun Kapoor, half-sister Jhanvi Kapoor, and cousin Sonam Kapoor have all established themselves as viable actors. But Anshula chose to go to college, study Urban Planning in New York, and come back to India and start a 9-to-5 job in a Mumbai-based firm.
More recently, this 27-year-old decided to start up on her own, and launched Fankind – a platform that brings celebrities to their fans and also help charities – in 2019. Although the ongoing Coronavirus crisis and the nation-wide lockdown have effectively halted Fankind’s daily operations, Anshula is proving her mettle as an entrepreneur and as a socially-conscious citizen by taking a big step for the underprivileged sections of society.
Speaking to MAKERS India, Anshula is concerned about the millions of daily wage workers and migrant labourers who have lost their livelihood due to the lockdown. Realising the need to give them financial assistance at this difficult time, Fankind is holding a fundraiser for collecting donations to help the migrant workers and daily wage laborers.
The money collected in donation is transferred to the daily wage workers and their families directly. There is no platform fees being deducted at Fankind. In fact, Anshula claims that Fankind is paying for the payment gateway fees and any other taxes that would arise out of this.
Working for a cause
Fankind has partnered with Give India, a prominent NGO, for this initiative. Anshula says, “Give India is very thorough with their due diligence. They have contacted each and every one of the people we are helping, and they identify their location, verify them through their Aadhaar card or their ration card, understand their monthly income before the lockdown, and then the money is transferred into their bank account.”
If a labourer does not have a bank account, other NGOs on ground (who have the permission of the government to continue working despite the lockdown) will be contacted by Give India. The money is transferred to those NGOs who then physically go and give the cash in hand to the migrant worker. “And all of this is going to be audited from third party accounting services well,” Anshula says, adding that they have raised more than Rs.15 lakh for COVID-19 relief so far.
“We give it as cash because everyone has monthly expenses that go beyond putting food on the table for their family and paying rent. Sometimes you need money in hand to be able to pay for other essential services or to buy medication. So the money gives them financial independence to make a decision or to continue living their lives as they would prior to the lockdown,” she explains.
Fankind had started out as an initiative uniting celebrities, fans, and charities. In the 9 months itself, 11 celebrities have participated on the platform.
A first-time entrepreneur, Anshula has faced naysayers too; she has said that her biggest challenge was to be taken seriously. But she reiterates that her family has always been supportive of her ambition.
In a country where girl children – regardless of class, caste, or region – are often denied independence, Anshula was a lucky exception. “My parents never treated me differently just because I am a girl. My mother was a strong believer in equality for her child,” she says. (Anshula’s parents separated in 1996, and her mother, Mona Shourie Kapoor, passed away due to Cancer in 2012.)
About her late mother, she adds, “For most of my childhood and my growing up years, I remember being brought up by a single mother. And although she would be working through the day, she would make time for us in the evenings to ensure that she is present in our lives physically and emotionally; she was always reachable. She gave us the freedom to make our own decisions, because she believed that she can inculcate values into us, and she can tell us what is right from wrong. But the actual practice has to come from us. And she had faith in us to be able to make those decisions and choices.”
And Anshula’s decision to start Fankind and her choice of bringing smiles to people have now proven helpful to thousands of needy people too.