It was on December 26,2011,Anuj Bidve,a student of MSc in Microelectronics and System-on-Chip Engineering at Lancaster University,was shot by Kiaran Stapleton.
On July 26,2012,after Stapleton was convicted of cold blooded murder and sentenced to life imprisonment by the Manchester Crown Court,Anujs family was only left with his memories and a debt of a loan they had taken to send him to study abroad.
But on Sunday,actors and singers from Marathi film industry got together to put up a concert at O2 in London,aimed at raising funds to help the family pay off education loan.
The organiser of the concert,Mumbai-born Dr Mahesh Patwardhan,a practising gynaecologist and also a trustee of the Marathi Mandal in London,got in touch with actor-director Mahesh Manjrekar and a few big names from the industry to put his plan into action.
Because of IT boom in India,many young Maharastrains visit and settle in London. It is at times like these that we must all stand united. The concert was a great success as it went house full. We collected more than the amount needed to pay off Anujs loan. Marathi Mandal has also initiated a foundation in his name to provide financial help to Maharashtrain students wanting to study in the UK, said Patwardhan.
Marathi Mandal is an 80-year-old association of Maharashtrian natives living in the UK.
The eight-hour long concert featured play enactments,dance performances and musical performances by Sonali Kulkarni,Suresh Wadkar,Bela Shende,Hariharan,Avdhut Gupte,Ajay-Atul,Swapnil Bandodkar,Mahesh Manjrekar and more. Avdhut Gupte performed a song Berang Kar,which he composed as a dedication to Anuj.
Cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar and former India wicket-keeper Farook Engineer also paid a surprise visit to convey their condolences to Anujs family.
A cheque of £20,000 was handed over to Anujs parents and the surplus money collected was set aside for Anuj Bidve Foundation.
Prime Minister David Cameron also sent his condolences to the family in a message that was read out by Member of Parliament Keith Vaz,who said that September 16 should be celebrated as Anuj Bidve Day. We must celebrate Anujs life instead of mourning it. As an actor,I know it is impossible to recover a loss like this,but its more important to remember the happy moments of his life, said Marathi actor Sachit Patil,who performed at the concert.
Anujs parents are scheduled to return to Pune on Tuesday. Dr Patwardhan has been very helpful ever since Anujs murder. He replied to my random messages on Facebook that I sent to gather some information about Anuj. Looking at the condition of the familys financial status,he proposed the idea of organising a concert to help raise funds to pay off the education loan, said Rakesh Sonawane,Bidves brother-in-law.
He has been working tirelessly for over six months to get the concert organised. We are very grateful to all the people who made the concert a success and all those who have stood by us through these turbulent times, he added.