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Friday, June 24, 2011

Happy Birthday, Messi!

Lionel Andrés "Leo" Messi was born on this day, in 1987, in Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina. Here's wishing him a very happy birthday.

He is currently my favorite footballer, and a football-icon for millions all over the world. Despite being a victim of growth hormone deficiency, Messi has had a stupendous career as a champion footballer.

His playing style and skills with the ball have often made people compare him with the Argentine football legend Diego Maradona. Often called the prince of football, Messi is said to make the football smile. Not only has he achieved unprecedented success, winning almost every personal accolade including the Ballon d'Or, Messi has reaped handsome rewards for FC Barcelona and the national team of Argentina, playing as the forward/winger.

For us Kolkatans, the Messi connect is on an all-time high with the possibility of Messi coming to Kolkata being announced. Messi and his football mates from Argentina are likely to play in a FIFA-sanctioned friendly match with Venezuela, at the Salt Lake Stadium (Yuva Bharati Krirangan) on September 2, this year. Kolkata being a city of football-lovers, the frenzy would be just fantastic.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Gaga-awed & Bieber-ized: Happy World Music Day!

Happy World Music Day, folks!
Today, I would like to talk about two of the hottest (or should it be coolest? Whatever!) music personalities: Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber.
I know, many would squirm and giggle, but I can't help admit that these two stars are each a phenomenon on their own, and love them (both have won awards and accolades aplenty) or hate them (they are lampooned in the media the most, each having innumerable haters worldwide), you just cannot ignore them.

Lady Gaga shot to fame in 2008 with her debut album and there has been looking back for this singer who thrives on controversies, sensational stage acts and props-laden glam rock numbers that somehow gel well with all sorts of people who cherish rebellion above all else, and love to celebrate non-conventional lifestyles. As far as her music is concerned, it does not make me a huge fan of hers but I salute her spirit; she seems rather upfront - reminds me of Madonna in her heydays. Her avant garde electronic stuff is actually tempting to groove to. And the songs have a certain honesty which is somewhat liberating. Recommended listening (for all those readers of mine who are yet to swing and sway to Lady Gaga's music: "Born this way".

Justin Bieber too was discovered in 2008, on Youtube (of all places!) by his would-be manager and he became a sensation since his debut release in 2009. His popularity reached astronomical heights with every single of his becoming a major hit, biggest ever for a guy his age (Bieber is just seventeen now!) and his sugary sweet pop songs have connected instantly with teenagers (mostly girls though) all over the world. The 3D biopic concert film of Justin's, that released early this year (not in Kolkata though) has become a rage, and Bieber-mania still happens to rule.
My favorite Justin Bieber song: "Never say never" (featuring Jaden Smith).

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Birthday, Garfield!

It's the official birthday of Garfield, the comic-strip cat! It is on this day, June 19, in the year 1978, that this famous fictional cat was 'born', i.e. he first appeared in print. In the eponymous comic-strip, by Jim Davis, he is portrayed as the lasagna-loving lazy cat, owned by Jon Arbuckle, an awkward clumsy geek.
I have already stated in my personal preference earlier that, for me, Garfield is the most favorite of all comic-strips. Hence, this fat, tabby cat with sharp (sometimes nasty) comments is really special for me.

Here's wishing Garfield a vERY hAPPY bIRTHDAY!
May he entertain us all for many, many, .....many years!

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

A tête-à-tête with Samadarshi

Samadarshi Dutta is one of the fresh talents that Bangla cinema can boast of. He is an actor who has been consistently doing quality work, and I am proud to present a candid conversation with this actor par excellence.

Even a few months back, I was unfamiliar with your acting.... but after watching you in "Aami Aadu" early this year I was absolutely impressed and have no doubt that you are one of the hottest young talents in Bangla cinema.

Thanks, for the appreciation. I haven't acted in too many films, but I consider myself lucky to be associated with good films.

You had started out with television, didn't you?

Well, I did just one television serial called "Kakhano Megh Kakhano Brishti", and it was a few months' work only, yet it got me some recognition.

True, and many have told me that they know you because of that serial.... people in the film fraternity, also admire you a lot for your very first film, "Ichchhe" that hasn't been released till now.

Yes, people in the industry who have seen "Ichchhe" have all lavished praises on me...... it was indeed a special film, and I acted alongside Sohini Halder, who played my mother, and Bidita Bag, with whom I share a wonderful working chemistry.

Samadarshi, you have had a formal training too, at the FTII, Pune, and it must have been quite an enriching experience, right?

Of course, I was lucky to have had done my stint there, and apart from the grooming and the exposure to the art and craft of cinema, I have made some great friends.
That you are well-versed in acting was evident when I saw "Aami Aadu", and then when I saw you in "Aarohan". You did some acting on stage too, didn't you?

Yes, I did group theatre for some time before moving on to act in films.

But don't you think for Bangla mainstream cinema your grooming and education might be considered a disadvantage? Are you open to all sorts of screen roles?

By Bangla mainstream cinema if one understands a certain kind of copy-paste versions of Telugu or Tamil potboilers, then I might not fit into the so called mould, but I do have enough confidence as an actor that I can act in diverse genres of films.

In "Aarohan", you have had an American accent, you must worked hard.....

I think I did a somewhat okayish job in terms of preparing for it. I also had to acquire the accent of Murshidabad district for "Aami Aadu", if you remember.....

Of course, you had sounded absolutely convincing!

Well, that is what an actor is supposed to do, isn't it? Becoming a character in entirety involves getting the dialect, the body language and the behaviour right.

Very true. By the way, your Hindi diction is good, so, are open to offers from Mumbai?

Mumbai, Chennai..... whichever part of the country beckons me! I'm open to doing films in any regional language whatsoever, and I believe I can pick up the language for the role.

Wow! Is that because you weigh your options cautiously, or find that Tollygunge might not have the right kind of opportunities.....

My first release was an out and out commercial film, "Saathi Aamaar Bondhu Aamaar", and it is not that I'm too proud of that film.... I want to act in films which I can proudly look back upon when I reflect on my work as an actor some years from now.

In that film, you were introduced as Surya..... which was odd......

There are things like that an actor can't do anything about. Interestingly, the first time I had got an offer from Tollygunge, was from the Late Anjan Chowdhury, who wanted to make a film with me, and though it didn't materialise, the fact that he himself had narrated the script is a treasured memory.
Please tell me about your projects at hand.

I have wrapped up the shoot for "Mukti", "Bhooter Bhobisyot", and "Dekha Na Dekha".

In Gautam Halder's "Mukti", you have worked with Raakhee Gulzar, right? How was it working with her?

Yes, I do not have many scenes with her in the film though. She is a stalwart indeed and working with stalwarts give me enough resources and insights which I look forward to implementing in due course. for example, in "Aarohan", I had worked with Soumitro Chattopadhyay and Sandhya Roy, and from them to I got to learn as well. I worked in "Hing Ting Chhawt" which too had Soumitro Chattopadhyay. Thus, my perspective on cinema indirectly got shaped even while I was working.

A personal question, as an actor, do you feel insecure at times?

I'd be lying if I deny; the profession of acting does have its share of insecurity, but I believe in honing my skills and having enough self-confidence and faith in my capability. I am passionate about acting.

When exactly did you sense this passion within, for the first time, you do not come from a family of actors or cinema professionals, do you?

No one in my family have been part of showbiz, my folks are all academically inclined, and have had successful careers.
I remember being stirred by a film shown on television, when I was in high school, I recall the very scene but not the name of the film, and I knew that I had to act! Eventually, getting selected as a student at FTII was a huge turning point for me.

Tell me about the things you indulge in when you aren't acting.

I love watching films. I can boast of an impressive collection of films from around the world on my computer..... hahaha......

What kind of films do you watch?

All kinds..... I love watching world cinema - the classics, for sure, plus works of all the contemporary greats.

You have an eclectic taste in music too..... I know, you play the guitar.....

Well, I do love strumming the guitar. For a while, I had studied tabla, sarod, and violin too.....

That says a lot about you, you love accomplishing things.... hahaha.... but, Samadarshi, I can't help observing how affable you are, without the trappings of a star.

I am not a star, not yet..... I would love to be an actor, an actor who works earnestly..... and by the grace of God, people like me. People who have worked with me, including my co-actors and technicians, and even the spotboys and the chaiwallahs, have endeared me. Somehow, I can connect with people. I love that.

How do you stay fit? Isn't the physicality bit in cinema a fad now?

I am not into beefing up, as is evident, but I do believe working out is important. It is important for an actor to stay fit and healthy, by all means.

You know, I was elated to learn that "Aami Aadu" has bagged both the National Award (for best regional film - Bangla), and the Silver Award at SAARC Film Festival in Colombo. I am sure that you will go places as people will take note of you for your distinctive. May your work speak for itself. I wish you all the best for all your forthcoming projects.

Thank you. I am happy that people love me, and my work.

It was lovely talking to you.
I am sure my readers will enjoy the chat as well.