From holding a camera to carrying a stethoscope, Bengali filmmaker Kamaleshwar Mukherjee has come to the aid of the cyclone-ravaged people in the Sundarbans, treating patients at medical camps.
Mukherjee, who is a qualified doctor, has participated in five medical camps in areas such as Sandeshkhali, Raidighi, Hasnabad, and Bantala. “This is the time to stand by the people in every way possible. About 38 medical camps were set up by West Bengal Doctors’ Forum in association with several NGOs and one theatre group. I took part in five of them. More such camps will be set up at Pathar Pratima and Hingalganj areas. I will attend those to serve the people who have been hit by the cyclone,” he told The Indian Express.
On May 20, cyclone Amphan made landfall and left a train of destruction in coastal Bengal, uprooting trees, poles and flattening thousands of mud houses. The Sundarbans, Kolkata and North 24 Parganas district bore the brunt of the storm that killed 86 people in the state.
Mukherjee was a full-time medical practitioner, and worked in state-run and private hospitals before taking the plunge and joining the film industry in 2011. He directed critically acclaimed and commercially successful movies such as Urochithi, Meghe Dhaka Tara, Chander Pahar and Amazon Obhijaan.
“The weaker section of the society has been badly affected due to the cyclone. They lost their livelihoods and are in dire straits. Under this circumstance, the youth and student community of the state have done a lot of work for them. They opened community kitchens and provided medicines. I also joined them as I believed my experience as a doctor would be put to use now,” he said.
At the camps, Mukherjee treated patients suffering from skin diseases, malnutrition, orthopaedic problems, and stomach flu. However, there were hardly any patients with fever, he said.
“After the cyclone these are some of the common health issues that are faced by the people. But I was surprised not to get patients with fever in times of Covid-19 outbreak. Besides this I also worked as a compounder in those camps and distributed medicines,” said the filmmaker, who is working on the script for his next film at the moment.
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