India: Coronavirus Pandemic Hits Some of Bollywood’s Biggest Stars

Bollywood superstar Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and her daughter Aaradhya Bachchan have both tested positive for the coronavirus, a Mumbai city official said
AFP/Sujit Jaiswal

Some of the most popular actors in India’s thriving movie industry, affectionately known as “Bollywood” by aficionados, have reported testing positive for the coronavirus.

Hopes for a speedy recovery are being sent by millions of fans and high-ranking Indian politicians.

The chief minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, was among several officials who sent wishes for a “speedy recovery” to 77-year-old actor Amitabh Bachchan on Saturday, assuring him “the power of a billion prayers is with you.” Bachchan reported on Saturday that he has been hospitalized after testing positive for the Chinese coronavirus, and urged everyone he has been in close proximity with to get tested as well.

Bachchan’s son Abhishek has already tested positive, as has his wife Aishwarya Rai, one of the most internationally renowned actresses in India. Rai, who has appeared in a few Hollywood films and was hailed as one of the most beautiful women in the world, announced that her eight-year-old daughter Aaradhya has also tested positive.

Abhishek recently completed work on a film, so his diagnosis brought concerns that he might have infected dozens of co-workers in addition to his family members.

“My father and I remain in hospital till the doctors decide otherwise. Everyone please remain cautious and safe. Please follow all rules!” he said in a message to fans on social media.

Amitabh Bachchan is one of the most revered veterans of the Indian film industry, with a fan following that borders on religious devotion. Nicknamed “Big B” by his admirers, his name is still quite capable of packing theaters. Abhishek is a busy actor and producer as well. Outside observers struggled to come up with analogies to American show business that could encompass the shock in Bollywood over the entire family contracting the coronavirus.

A television actor named Parth Samthaan reported a positive diagnosis on Sunday, urging everyone who has worked with him to get tested as well. The TV production company that handles his show announced that it would take “all precautions” and would follow “all medical protocols.”

Another veteran actress who uses the stage name Rekha had a coronavirus scare when her Mumbai bungalow was partially sealed following a positive diagnosis for her security guard. All of her other staffers, along with household staff working for her neighbors, are being tested, but Rekha herself said she would arrange her own private test instead of using the services provided by local authorities.

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