B.C.’s South Asian media stars hold benefit for COVID-19-stricken India

The stars of British Columbia’s South Asian film and television industry are coming together on Saturday to hold a virtual benefit for India, as the country grapples with a horrific COVID-19 epidemic.

Sabrina Rani Furminger, the voice of the YVR Screen Scene Podcast, will host the event, which will emulate the format of Inside The Actor’s Studio – with a South Asian-Canadian twist.

Read more: Medical supplies from Canada arrive in India as COVID-19 cases, deaths surge

“We’ll be talking about things from deep in our hearts. We’ll be talking about passions, we’ll be talking about careers, we’ll be talking about our experience moving through the world and this industry as South Asian Canadians,” she said.

“And we’re also going to be talking about why people should care about what’s going on in India.”

Participants will include actors Dhirendra (Lego Jurassic Park: The Legend of Isla Nublar), Praneet Akilla (Nancy Drew), Rekha Sharma (Battlestar Galactica), Sachin Sahel (The 100) and Sandy Sidhu (Nurses).

“I think with all the actors, there was just a sense and feeling of helplessness and shock with all the video footage that’s been streaming out of India right now,” Sidhu told Global News.

“India’s in such a dire situation, and you’d think they’re in the eye of the storm, but they haven’t even touched the peak of their second wave yet — they’re predicting this peak may hit near the end of May. So many people are dying right now that crematoriums are actually running out of wood.”

Read more: Southern India states lock down as country reports over 4,100 new COVID-19 deaths

On Saturday, India reported 401,078 confirmed cases of the virus, including a record high of 4,187 deaths.

Overall, India has more than 21.8 million confirmed infections and nearly 240,000 deaths. Experts say even those dramatic tolls are undercounted.

“I have been feeling such powerlessness,” said Furminger, whose father was born in India, adding that while no one in her family has contracted the virus, their WhatsApp group is full of fear and anxiety about the risk.

All of the money raised from the event will go to groups helping with the crisis, including Goonj, an organization that works with marginalized communities in rural and urban areas; Doctors Without Borders’ Emergency Response in India, which is setting up two 1000-bed units in a large field hospital in Mumbai; and KhalsaAid International (which is flying oxygen concentrators into the country).

Saturday’s event takes place at 2 p.m., and tickets remain on sale until noon, PT, Saturday at YVRScreenScene.com.

With files form the Canadian Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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