25, February 2010
By Nitin Yeshwantrao
The show stealer of the two–hour cultural event, which was put together by the hospital’s mentally ill inmates, was 33–year–old Madhuri Gupte who won over the audience with her sprightly lavni performance. The other livewire performance was by 25–year–old Sheetal Gunjal, who danced to the gutsy Hindi film song Dhol Baaje.
The biggest high–point was the fashion show where the inmates walked the ramp with such confidence that the crowds wondered whether they deserved to be in this place at all.
An initiative of medical superintendent Dr Sanjay Kumavat, the event was attended by respected actor Sachin Khedekar.
Gupte who has been in the hospital’s care for more than a year, was upbeat about her new–found celebrity status as mediapersons crowded her and hospital officials patted her lovingly. “I underwent a training programme before performing on stage. I feel so happy and I have danced to my fullest today. And yes, my relatives too had come to see me perform,” she said. Medical officials said the cultural programme works as therapy as it introduces the inmates to the soothing arts. This was evident as upon entering the hospital campus, one was greeted to the sound of light instrumental music with speakers placed all over the area.
For the medical staff and nurses at the hospital, especially the psychiatry ward, it was a day of anxiety until their patients walked up to perform. “There was nervousness as they have their mood swings and sometimes get upset very fast. In fact, it was a task to get them to perform to the beats. One of the performers simply told us at the last moment that he does not feel upto it. It was after much persuasion and convincing that he agreed. But all our efforts have paid off,” said Jyoti Gosawi, a nurse in the psychiatry cell. The hospital celebrates the two–day cultural and sports event every year.