Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar’s Hindi film Toilet: Ek Prem Katha was one of the six stories from around the world that inspired Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates in an otherwise “tough year.” The story made it to Gates’ list for its message about spreading awareness about the problem of sanitation in India.
Gates prefaced the list, posted on Twitter, by saying, “There’s no denying that 2017 was a really tough year… but it also delivered some amazing moments of hope and progress. Here are some inspiring tweets that you may have missed.”
Placing the Bollywood movie at the third place in the list, Gates tweeted: “3/ ‘Toilet: A Love Story,’ a Bollywood romance about a newlywed couple, educated audiences about India’s sanitation challenge.”
The film, directed by Shree Narayan Singh, was released in August this year. It follows a newlywed couple living in rural India and the problems that arise when the woman has to walk in the fields every day to defecate. The film was lauded for pointing out the issue faced by a large number of people in the country. The film was supported by various sectors of the government as it echoed with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
The five other inspirations on Gates’ list were Edwardo Sanchez, who was the first person in his family to graduate from college; Bhutan and Maldives eradicating measles; World Food Prize-winner Akinwumi Adesina giving grants to young Africans involved in agriculture using his award money; a New York Times report on how helping others is good for your health; and extreme reading catching up in schools to encourage reading.
Here are the rest of his best of 2017:
Gates also submitted his own version for the “extreme reading” challenge.
There is no dearth of inspiration in Gates’ own work. According to Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s 2017’s annual letter, Gates says the organization is focused on eradicating polio as one of their top philanthropic priorities, the success of which will be “as good as shipping the best software product.”
He wrote in the letter: “Progress in fighting polio might be one of the world’s best-kept secrets in global health,” and added, “If things stay stable in the conflicted areas, humanity could see its last case of polio this year.”