Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachhan has been appointed UNICEF’s goodwill ambassador to promote the rights of children in India and around the world, UNICEF said Friday.
“I am extremely pleased to accept this responsibility,” Bachhan said. “I hope that by adding my voice to the cause of children it will make a difference in the lives of boys and girls here at home and across the region.”
Bachhan will periodically speak on issues critical to the lives of children such as HIV/AIDS, polio eradication and the need for all girls to have an opportunity to go to school, the statement said.
“Bachhan’s tremendous appeal to young people makes him an ideal goodwill ambassador. When he speaks, people from all walks of life, from the youngest to oldest, listen carefully,” said Maria Calivis, UNICEF representative in India.
Bachchan, who recently turned 61, shot to stardom playing angry young men in the 1970s, a time of political turmoil in India. With his tall lean looks, he has since become the undisputed king of Bollywood, starring in more than 100 films.
His fans are so numerous that he was chosen as the greatest actor of the past 1,000 years in a 1999 online poll by the BBC, pushing Laurence Olivier to second place.