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Pandemic drama: Bengaluru's theatre artistes turn frontline workers

Last Updated : 29 April 2021, 22:45 IST
Last Updated : 29 April 2021, 22:45 IST
Last Updated : 29 April 2021, 22:45 IST
Last Updated : 29 April 2021, 22:45 IST

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The unfolding pandemic drama in real life has had theatre persons in the city turn volunteers and frontline workers. Raising funds to help those in need, these artistes have even morphed into street dog feeders, as the world becomes their stage.

For popular theatre artistes and comedian Pavan Kumar, the focus had to shift to those affected by the lockdown. “We are making sure that daily wage workers living in slums sleep with a full stomach during the lockdown,” he says.

Here’s how Pavan and his fellow artistes are making a difference: “We have set up a small kitchen where we cook and distribute food packets to slums, migrant workers, pourakarmikas and others in need. We also supply biscuit packets and water bottles to policemen working day and night.”

This work has intensified despite the entertainment industry taking a big hit. Theatre and film artistes have been contributing funds for the cause.

Sharing the same concern for those affected is Krishna Hebbale, a well-known theatre and film artiste. He has been distributing food to affected families.

Krishna told DH: “In the second wave, we have come across many cases where an entire family has tested positive for Covid-19. They find it difficult to manage their daily chores, and cooking for an entire family is not easy.”

Krishna says he and his team identify such families, plan their daily meals, and make sure the meals reach their homes on time.

Strays not neglected

For Sandeep Jain, another theatre artiste who has been active on the stage for 18 years, feeding stray dogs has been the focus.

“A few others and I would feed stray dogs near our workplace. But ever since the lockdown, we stopped going there and the dogs were finding it hard to look for food.”

He then found a solution. “Realising that the situation would be the same across the city as people are not allowed to step out, we decided to give the dogs at least one meal a day along with water bowls."

Last year, when the lockdown was imposed, popular theatre troupe Sanchaya had come up with an online fundraiser called “Sanchaya Cares” to raise funds for artistes in need. They raised Rs 27 lakh through online performances and distributed it among 235 artistes. The focus was mainly on women artistes of the state.

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Published 29 April 2021, 20:32 IST

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