27 July 2010
By Vishakha Sharma
Uber cool begins here, where these doctors get together to practise as a band. What’s more, they use their show earnings for charity
Usually, when there are two dozen doctors under one roof, the building is a hospital. Not so in this building on Karve Road, with a soundproof room, as this is where a group of doctors – all friends – get rid of their white coats and stethoscopes and pick up guitars and drum sticks. Around 25 doctors from Pune’s various hospitals have formed their own musical band called ‘LETS ACT’ (Life Enrichment Through Science, Arts & Charity Trust) and perform musical shows all over the city to raise funds for treating the poor. Apart from charity, this doctors orchestra group also sings to the patients to relieve them from their stress. All doctors in the band – specialists in various branches of medicine and surgery – are graduates of the B J Medical College. Dr Dasmit Singh, a paediatric surgeon and percussionist said, “We all came together 10 years ago, the common denominator being our love and interest in music since our college days. We thought of forming a music group and our aim was to relive those wonderful college days and also to showcase our talents for charity. This is how we formed a charitable trust, LET’S ACT, in 2001 to utilize revenue generated through musical programmes for benefit of patients and to encourage and promote creative and performing arts amongst practicing doctors.”
Dr Kamlesh Bokil, cancer surgeon and on lead guitar said, “Though we all are doctors by profession, we have never compromised on the standard of our performance. At a musical show, we should be as good as professional musicians.”
The group has staged over 125 programs till date dealing with various themes such as Nostalgia, Laughter, Tsunami, Ghazals, Adult spastics etc.
“The money earned through these programs has been utilized for medical treatment of economically challenged patients. Till date our trust has donated nearly Rs. 70,000 every financial year to charity. Besides this, it has donated medical equipment worth Rs. 30,000 to SOFOSH (Society of Friends of Sassoon Hospital). The trust has also donated some money to the 'Aamhi Numaviya', society of ex–NMV students who started Sinhagad Cleansing programme to help the social cause,” said Dr Rakesh Jamkhandikar, Radiologist and organiser of the musical shows of LET’S ACT.
He added, “Our band also performed for the aid of Tsunami affected victims and their families and donated over Rs. 1 lakh for their rehabilitation. Fundraising programs were also performed for various Rotary and Lions Clubs, who are well known for their charitable work. Other than donating money, the doctors have also helped the economically compromised patients by offering their medical/surgical services free of cost, e.g. operating on patients with burns, cleft lip and palate, cancer etc.”
“Many doctors have approached us, wanting to be part of our band. That is really overwhelming. But since the band strictly requires professionals who have a good idea about music and musical instruments, there is a proper audition which they need to undergo before joining the band. We are not the ones who conduct these auditions. Noted music director Anand Modak renders a helping hand by selecting the new entrees for our band. Interested doctors’ recorded CDs are sent to him after listening to which he decides,” said Dr Singh.
“Our practice sessions are very serious. We generally practice twice a week if there is a show coming up in two months’ time. Our practice room is soundproof, located in Dr Kamlesh Bokil’s house. We start practice at 10 pm which carries on till 1.00 am or beyond. We, of course, can’t practice during the day,” said Singh.
Bokil said, “Needy patients get help for their treatment when we perform for them. The band is also a great stress buster for all of us.”
“Our families too are really very supportive and our kids too love to watch their parents perform,” said Singh.