Kolkata: Bengali filmmaker Kamaleswar Mukherjee, who is also a qualified doctor, is treating patients in Cyclone Amphan-ravaged Sundarbans region of West Bengal. He had been a full-time medical practitioner, having worked in state-run and private hospitals, before taking a plunge into the world of cinema in 2011 and directing several critically-acclaimed movies.
The director of movies like ‘Urochithi’, ‘Meghe Dhaka Tara’, ‘Chander Pahar’ and ‘Amazon Obhijaan’ said he was moved by the developments of 2019-20, starting with the anti-CAA protests followed by the COVID-19 outbreak and then Cyclone Amphan. The last left behind a trail of devastation in the Sundarbans.
“I was part of a community kitchen organised in Kolkata by students and youth for people hit by the lockdown. After Cyclone Amphan struck Sundarbans, I decided to put to use my experience as a doctor,” Mukherjee told PTI on Saturday (June 13).
He joined hands with groups like the West Bengal Doctors’ Forum and the Shramajibi Swasthyo Udyog to help the affected people. “I am just a foot soldier. I have been able to attend only a few of the 35 health camps organised by these groups. From treating patients to ensuring maintenance of social distancing in queues and helping in manual work, we work as a team of health workers in the camps,” he said.
Mukherjee had been to areas in the Sundarbans like Patharpratima and Raidighi and has plans to visit Hasnabad on Sunday (June 14). “We will continue reaching out to people in the worst-affected areas of South and North 24 Parganas districts,” he said.
Mukherjee, who was a student of Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata, said he is happy to see voluntary organisations and college students rushing to the aid of the people in distress, both due to the lockdown and Cyclone Amphan.
“In this ‘Krantikal’ (critical juncture), any conscientious person cannot just remain indifferent,” he said. Mukherjee’s effort has been appreciated by people associated with the Bengali film industry. Filmmaker Anik Dutta wrote on Facebook, “Proud of you Kamal. I am filled with so much pride as I see the work of all these young men and women.”