A healthy start

Debarati Palit Singh
Friday, 28 July 2017

Varsha Usgaonkar, director, Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Chitrapat Mahamandal, says that the union has organised health check-ups in Pune, Mumbai and Kolhapur for their members to improve the lifestyle of artists and technicians 

It’s a known fact that actors and technicians have demanding work schedules which may take a toll on their health. Long shooting schedules, erratic meal timings, lack of sleep and so on leads to various health problems. The Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Chitrapat Mahamandal (ABMCM)  has organised a health check-up for its members on August 1 in Pune. The idea is to spread awareness of a healthy lifestyle among those working in the film industry, says Varsha Usgaonkar, director, ABMCM. “They had organised a similar camp in 2015 with Indus Health Plus but later it stopped. I wasn’t part of that initiative but now that I am the director of the organisation, we thought of taking forward the initiative. We have spread the message to 4,000-5,000 artists and technicians to come for the check-up,” she adds.   

The check-up will be held in Pune, Mumbai and Kolhapur. Varsha says that most of the artists and technicians have erratic work hours which lead to various health problems. “We artists tend to ignore our health. Heart attack is so common among us because of the level of stress and we do not take any kind of precautions. So the Mandal thought of organising the health camp along with Indus Health Plus. The camp will be organised in Mumbai on August 5,” she says, adding that along with hectic lifestyle, artists also tend to smoke and drink which lead to further health problems. 

The actress, known for films like Duniyadari, Jigyaasa, Chehraa and several others, says that they are trying to reach as many members through social media. She says, “If there is greater awareness of health issues, artists will take necessary precautions. Maybe this year the numbers will be less but as the message will spread, more and more people will come for the check-up.” 

Varsha says that the Mandal will not just organise health check-ups but will try to tie up with various hospitals so that the members can get treatment at a nominal rate. “We end up paying a large amount of money to hospitals for treatment. We are in talks with four to five hospitals so that we get some discount for the technicians and artists. We are already helping our members by paying them up to Rs 10,000 during medical emergency but medical expenses go much higher.”

She further says that producers, who do not serve good quality food during shooting schedules, are also to be blamed for their unhealthy lifestyle. “We have tried to point this out so many times that they need to serve quality food. They just have to pay a little more for that. Most of the actors get their food from home but what about the technicians? Some of the producers do not serve breakfast even if the shoot starts at 9 am. The technicians have to skip breakfast and their next meal is only at lunch time,” she adds. 

Though ABMCM is taking up the initiative in a full-fledged manner for the first time, various other unions like CINTAA (Cine & TV Artistes Association) and Unions down South have been taking efforts to take care of their members. “I have heard that the Southern industry is very attentive towards the needs of their members,” says Varsha before signing off.

‘Lights! Camera! Prevention!’ --- a free health check-up camp for members of Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Chitrapath Mahamandal will be held at Indus Health Plus, Pride Port, Model Colony, Pune, on August 1, from 10 am 4 pm. Mukta Tilak, Mayor, Pune Municipal Corporation, Meghraj S Rajebhosale, president, Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Chitrapath Mahamandal, and Amol and Kanchan Naikawadi, directors, Indus Health Plus, will be present on the occasion.

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