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Bipasha Basu: 'Pratham is a fantastic cause'

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Bollywood actors Bipasha Basu and Esha Gupta were the star attraction at the Pratham UK ball on Saturday (September 28).

Commemorating 100 years of Indian cinema, the charity event in aid of Pratham featured a lavish fashion show, depicting the history of Indian cinema through the fashion of designer Manish Malhotra.

Bipasha Basu, Manish Malhotra and Esha Gupta at the Pratham UK Ball.

Pratham UK Ball



Malhotra explained why he supported the event, saying: "We're celebrating 100 years of Indian cinema and also because it's one of my favourite cities London. Also for Pratham UK and the cause they are associated with. Esha and Bipasha are here and they are friends and they represent contemporary Indian cinema today.

"They are glamorous, they are young, they are fit. All clothes from a gown to a dress, to shorts to a saree, everything looks so good on them. It's for you all to see what Indian cinema has become and what Indian clothes today are looking like."

Praising Pratham, Basu told Digital Spy that her long-running association with the famed designer also prompted her decision to take part in the fashion show.

"The first reason for me would be Manish Malhotra. He's a very dear friend and there are many occasions where I have not been there for him and I truly love him. If you are a Bollywood film actress an India film actress, you have to love Manish Malhotra.

"He's definitely one of the first people that come to your mind when you talk about Bollywood cinema, so I'm here for Manish and yes, Pratham is a fantastic cause. They're the largest NGO in India and they are doing so much for the education of children and to promote literacy.

"It's one of the best things you can ask for. We were in London and there were many things that brought us together and it's been wonderful. It's been a really great evening," she added.

Bipasha Basu, Manish Malhotra and Esha Gupta at the Pratham UK Ball.

Bipasha Basu, Manish Malhotra and Esha Gupta



Esha Gupta said she was also happy to support Manish Malhotra in his commitment to Pratham.

"It's just like Bipasha said. Before you even enter the industry there are a few names you want to work with and I think Manish Malhotra is one of those names. I just got lucky that I got an opportunity to work with him and thankfully Manish likes me enough to always call me for any event that happens and I'm always there to support him.

"And of course Pratham is a great organisation and children are the future of our nation, our world. I think it's really nice that someone is doing something for the underprivileged. People are aware of the stars and we're an added attraction to bring more support to the charity."

Commenting on the theme of the fashion show, the stars went on to describe their favourite eras in Bollywood for fashion.

"I wish I was an actress from the '70s. I would fit in very easy. I'm also lucky to be here now. I'm glad I wasn't part of the '80s or '90s," explained Basu.

"It's the '60s that's most classic and beautiful. Everything was so neat and classic. The '60s were also my favourite period," added Malhotra.

Bipasha Basu and Manish Malhotra at the Pratham UK

Bipasha Basu and Manish Malhotra



The event included a "jugalbandi as performance art" from top Indian contemporary artist Manav Gupta and a live auction.

A host of British Asian celebrities attended the event including Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha, Paul Mayeda Berges, former EastEnders star Preeya Kalidas and actor Fardeen Khan.

Sponsored by Air India, proceeds from the event will go towards the Pratham Institute, which focuses on providing young people with the skills needed to address India's growing need for skilled manpower.

In April this year, Jacqueline Fernandez attended a fundraising event as celebrity ambassador for Pratham UK.

Pratham is India's largest education NGO working to improve learning levels amongst underprivileged children.

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