Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan has threatened to unleash his legion of fans on online trolls who are wishing him death from Covid-19.
Bachchan and his actor son Abhishek have been in Mumbai's Nanavati Hospital for over two weeks infected by the coronavirus, while his actress daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai and granddaughter Aaradhya were discharged on Monday.
They are the highest-profile family to contract Covid-19 in India.
Bachchan, 77, and his son are in an isolation ward, with the elderly actor sending messages regularly to his millions of fans on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.
In his messages, he usually thanks fans and medical staff at the hospital.
But in a blog post published on Tuesday, he wrote that some people had sent him vicious hate mail, praying for his death.
In response, Bachchan vowed to "exterminate" such trolls once out of hospital by asking his millions of fans to turn on them.
His words were vitriolic, quite out of character for someone whose public interactions are generally noted for dignity.
"Hey Mr Anonymous, you do not even write your father's name because you do not know who fathered you," Bachchan said in his blog addressed to his trolls.
He added: "There are only two things that can happen... either I shall die or I shall live ... if I die you won't get to write your diatribe anymore, by weathering your remark on a celebrity name... pity... for, the reason of your writing to be noticed was, because you took a swipe at Amitabh Bachchan... that shall no longer exist...!!"
Describing his 90-plus million fans as his kin, he wrote: "That extended family shall in the flash of an eye become 'extermination family'." He ended the note with: "May you burn in your own stew!!"
Bachchan also revealed that he was able to hug his granddaughter before she left the hospital. He recounted his emotional reaction to the news that she and her mother could go home.
"They go home, the little one and Bahurani... and the tears flow out... the little one embraces and tells me not to cry... 'you'll be home soon' she assures... I must believe her," he wrote.
In a blog entry posted last Saturday, Bachchan touched on the mental trauma and stigma suffered by Covid-19 patients.
"There is one note of matter that seems trivial but it is a factor... the mental conditions and the effects of the disease... clinically, medically all that is known to be effective, yet very little is known that remains hidden unseen and not visible... matters of the mind often are not," he wrote.
On Wednesday, Bachchan described healthcare workers as "God's own angels" and showered them with praise for "working in extreme conditions" to cure their patients.
He shared two photos of prayers that healthcare workers say every day for the recovery of their patients and wrote: "They work in extreme conditions, so our conditions are safe... doctors, nurses, support staff... yet they still take time out to pray for who they struggle to cure - their patients!"
Last week, Bachchan dismissed reports that he had finally tested negative for Covid-19, calling the piece of news "an incorrigible lie".
This is not the first time that Bachchan or his fans are experiencing a hospital and health situation. In 1982, he spent a month in hospital after a fight scene went wrong on the sets of the film Coolie.