$300,000 Raised For The Famed Indo-Canadian Photographer But Hopefully All The Big Donours Will Pay Up!
"It was great to see people like R. Paul Dhillon, the prominent film maker and long-time editor of The Link newspaper. As a matter of fact, Dhillon and The Link were the first ones who supported Chandra when he needed it the most," wrote local writer and activist Balwant Sanghera in his own tribute to the famed photographer in his article titled "Indo-Canadian Community Gathers To Help Smile Catcher Chandra Bodalia."
VANCOUVER – Chandravadan "Chandra" Bodalia has been a fixture on the Indo-Canadian community's cultural scene for over two decades, taking photos by the millions and being a jolly and generous figure in making people famous and providing a much needed exposure for deserving people in the community as well as those not so deserving known "fame whores".
Chandra became famous for taking photos and is one of the most recognized lensmen. Recently, fate and time has been his enemy as he was diagnosed with cancer of the mouth and a surgery has allowed him to recover somewhat from the disease but has made him immobile and unable to do what he loves – taking photos.
So friends and people in the community decided to hold a fundraiser Thursday night at Fraserview Hall for the "Lovable Gujju" who is a Punjabi by heart.
I go back a long way with Chandra and our friendship has endured many years during which we have both captured and reported on the hard and soft news making the rounds in the community. I still remember when Chandra came to the Link Newspaper office back in 1984-95 and told the publisher-editor Promod Puri and I that he wanted to take pictures for the Link. We both encouraged him and I took the lead and said yes and got him started in the photo-journalism business, initially covering all parties which at that time were also at Fraserview Hall, for long the centre of community events.
That started a long relationship and he took photos for me at the Link for a long time until he became an Indo-Canadian media pool photographer.
Now he's hijacked by some guys looking for some publicity but it's all good if he gets the community's help – not that Chandra's ever needed it cause he was always a very generous and very proud guy, who put money from his own pocket to pursue his passion for media and photography.
The organizers claimed that they had raised over $300,000 on the night – a fair amount of change and hopefully all the big donours will end up writing cheques after the euphoria of the night of giving has given away to reality. Chandra can surely use the money to improve his and family's situation and we should thank all small and big donours who gave – whether it is $50, $500, $5000 or $50,000 as it is not about big or small but helping a dear friend who is in need. So such individual fundraiser has ever raised this kind of eye-catching amount of money but it's a great collective effort despite the many flaws on the night and criticism of how the event was handled. Chandra benefits so it is all good.
I want to personally wish Chandra the best Chandra and may he live long and a happy life! Love you Big Guy!!!!