More than 300 people in the UAE participated in blood donation campaigns organised by Malayalam actor Mammootty's fans. This is part of a global initiative to get 25,000 people in 18 countries to donate blood in time for the actor's 72nd birthday on Thursday, September 7.

"We want to mark the birthday of our hero in a manner that benefits a lot of people," said Safeed Mohammed, one of the organisers of the event in the UAE. "We kicked off this campaign last week with a blood donation campaign in Australia."

In the UAE, the camps were held in three emirates over three weeks. "We wanted to make sure everyone got a chance to participate," said Safeed. "So, we held camps in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Dubai."

The last camp was held on Thursday at Lulu Hypermarket in Qusais. Hundreds of people turned up to donate their blood at the location. "The crowd was so huge that we had to turn several people away," said Ahmed Shameem, who helped coordinate the blood donation camps. "We had over 100 people who donated. Towards the end, we only accepted those with Rh-negative blood groups."

Predominantly acting in the Malayalam film industry, Mammootty has a stellar career spanning over five decades, during which he has acted in over 400 films in various languages. Having won several top accolades in India, he is considered one of the finest actors in the country. For his contributions to cinema, he was awarded India's fourth-highest civilian award, the Padma Shri, in 1998.

Cinema lovers unite
Filipino nationals Angela and Christine were first introduced to the actor and his movies by their colleague. "We have a colleague named Rajeeb who first showed us some Mammootty movies," said Christine. "Since then, we have followed him on the news and watched bits and pieces of his movies with English subtitles. This is the second year that we are coming to donate blood on his birthday."

Cinema lover Sridhar, who hails from Andhra Pradesh (India), drove 45 minutes from Dubai Investment Park (DIP) to donate blood. "I have been watching Mammootty's movies for a very long time," he said. "When I heard that there was a blood donation campaign on his birthday, I knew I wanted to contribute."

This is not the first time that the fans of the actor have conducted such charity initiatives. Mammootty Fans UAE Chapter have successfully organised 18 blood donation campaigns across various emirates for the last ten years.

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