Close to three lakh migrant workers, mainly Bangladeshis and Bengalis, are stuck in Singapore because of the lockdown.
While the government there has taken care of their salaries, food and stay in dormitories, efforts are being made to keep them engaged and entertained.
Celebrities from both sides of the border, including Prosenjit Chatterjee, Rituparna Sengupta, Ferdous Ahmed, Lopamudra Mitra, Mostafa Sarwar Farooki and Nusrat Imroz Tisha, have come together for a project called ‘Our Stories, Your Stories’ where they will narrate their personal stories, read literature or sing to inspire the migrant workers.
Chatterjee had personally visited these workers few years back. “All of them were thrilled. I will be more than happy if we can add some smile on their face. I am glad to be a part of this project. It is a good initiative from the government of Singapore. I also want to thank Darpan for taking the initiative on their behalf,” said Chatterjee.
When Singapore-based Sreyashi Sen, who heads Darpan Global and currently putting together this project in Kolkata, saw the plight of migrant workers in India, her mind raced to the conversations she had with the ones in Singapore.
“I have always been amazed by their creativity, knowledge and immense strength to go through hardships. They had stories that needed to be heard and told. In sharing notes over addas with their favourites stars, we are only emphasizing the power of being borderless and united in these surreal times,” she said.
A portal has also been created to share the stories of these migrant workers. “The Singapore government has a WhatsApp group of all these workers through which the information is also being disseminated,” Sen added.
Sengupta, who is currently in Singapore, is happy to do her bit for workers in the country, which is her second home. “I had once met them at the Bangladesh High Commission in Singapore when I had gone there for some visa work. I had again come across some of them at a Durga Puja function here. I was touched by their infectious warmth and am happy to be part of a project that will lift their spirit,” she said.
Meanwhile, Mumbai-based director Sarthak Dasgupta has been directing the celebrities from a long distance. According to him, this project allowed him to “access” his skills to create something that can “assuage” the stranded Bengali migrant workers in Singapore.
“I’ve never met them personally but have seen their videos and the places they stay in. I have a fair idea of their ways of life,” Dasgupta said, explaining how it was a challenge to direct without being in front of the celebrities. “Directing this project for them needed clarity of the design and communication so that all the celebrities looked from the same family and yet had their emotional resonances intact,” he said.
Source: Times of India