• Sunday, April 14, 2024

Entertainment

Jackie Shroff on Earth Day: Planting trees should be in our DNA

Shroff’s future endeavours include six acting projects and planting more trees on his farm.

Jackie Shroff (Photo by SUJIT JAISWAL / AFP) (Photo by SUJIT JAISWAL/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Mohnish Singh

Veteran actor Jackie Shroff has cultivated a unique way of raising awareness about environmental issues — wearing a spider plant as an accessory or gifting one to the host at a social gathering.

From public events to weddings and even movie premieres, where the who’s who of the film industry dress to impress, Shroff chooses to make a statement by carrying a plant with him.

His aim, the Bollywood star said, is to spread awareness about the benefits of planting trees.

“It is said, ‘boond boond se bane sagar’ (small efforts make a huge difference). Planting trees should be there in our DNA. So wherever I go, I take a plant to give it to the host. Some people take something else as gifts with them… Today, everyone has everything, but I believe this is more important,” Shroff told PTI in a virtual interview.

Some keep the plants, some forget it, but for the 66-year-old, it’s the message that matters.

“I tell them to keep it in the bedroom in a saucer. I explain to them why it is important. If the host keeps it, then good, more people will see it and that’s how the message will pass on,” he added.

When he is away from the media glare, Shroff spends time at his farmhouse in Chandkhed, Talegaon, around 50 kms from Mumbai, one of the most polluted cities in the world. The farmhouse, which is spread across 44,000 square feet area, has a diverse collection of over 500 plants.

The actor, best known for films like “Hero”, “Parinda”, “Ram Lakhan”, “1942: A Love Story”, “Gardish”, “Rangeela” and “Devdas”, said his love for planting trees started at an early age.

“But then I was so caught up with work that I would not get time. Still wherever I went and if I would see plants, be it flowers, medicinal or fruits, I would collect their seeds,” he said, adding that he often seeks guidance on gardening from his close friend, veteran actor Danny Denzongpa. For Shroff, it is important to make the current and the coming generations understand the need of preserving nature and resources.

“It is better if we understand these things now. We don’t know how long we will live, but what will we leave for the coming generation? Barren land? We should address these things and ask people to plant trees to tackle global warming.” Though many organisations are dedicated towards the cause, he believes it is his responsibility to be vocal about environmental issues as a public figure.

“I will keep talking about this even if some people will make fun of me. We should make the kids aware about all these things. I go ahead and do these things. I either wear the plant or give it as a gift to someone. I keep plants in my car as well,” he added.

Shroff’s future endeavours include six acting projects and planting more trees on his farm.

“There are six projects that I am working on. Maybe, I will be seen in ‘Singham 3’. They are all great. I am playing different roles, like a cop, army man and a thief . It’s a great mix.

“But at the same time, I am growing plants regularly, like I added about 21 different types of rice including black rice,” the actor said.

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