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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Ani and Bonnie: Talking KKR, SRK and Didi

Talking point: Kolkata Knight Riders winning the IPL trophy and 
thereafter being honored by the CM of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee. 
Questions thrown up: Was it worth the hoopla by the government? 
Was it a case of Didi hijacking the show? 
Was it a case of an ambitious politician hitching on for selfish mileage? 
Was it a drainage of funds?
Was it a case of mutual back-slapping for ulterior gains?
Was the IPL victory blown out of proportion?
Was KKR's feat more an SRK feat?
Did the event expose West Bengal's Governor's blatant bias?
I wanted to have an overview of the controversy myself
and hence who else to talk it over with but my buddy Bonnie?
Here are the excerpts of our candid conversation:
Bonnie: I would say that the questions need to be asked. They are very much relevant because we need to find out if our state has really been suffering from an intellectual bankruptcy as evident from the manner in which a large section of the so called intelligent citizens choose to dance to the tunes of a piper who is at best a megalomaniac, and if our fears prove right, is an outright fascist dictator.
Ani: Isn't it also a case of unnecessary flak for an over-enthusiastic leader who simply chooses to do things her own way, swayed more by emotions than anything else?
Bonnie: Well, one in as powerful position as hers is required to tone down what you may put lightly as an overdose of emotions or enthusiasm. Did she really need to host two major events of felicitation for SRK's team, one in front of the Writer's Building and then the main event at Eden Gardens?
Ani: But you cannot deny the mass frenzy, the hysteria...... can you? People were overwhelmed by the long anticipated victory and the throng of masses to greet the players both along the route in which the team bus travelled and at Eden Gardens itself said it all.......
Bonnie: But, how could the CM see in it a victory of epic proportions? She said that it was Bengal's victory..... that it was like winning the world! Why deny that KKR is a private team...... the felicitation was just an excuse for Mamata Banerjee to hog the limelight....... the way she strutted the stadium or the way she wielded complete control - or at least tried to - is the flamboyance that we are all so used to by now, but it was a revelation for the entire nation, wasn't it? Undoubtedly, it is us Bengalis who would be lampooned yet again!
Ani: I wasn't so sure that the 'Purple Pride' was synonymous with Bangla and Bangalis while the IPL was in full swing, but after the victory, and more so after the riotous circus today, Bangalis are basking in the pride alright.......
Bonnie: You see, that was in the very scheme of things...... one surely would overlook the major lapses of the 'green' party's governance and would not even mind giving the 'supremo' a benefit of doubt, the purple-green combo would be tinting the glasses of the opiate alright.
Ani: I would like to leave the inferences and the final say to all the readers........ plus, time will reflect the arguments and counter arguments best........ remember, he (or she) laughs the loudest who laughs last!
There's no endnote in politics, or in sports. The game's always on.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Tagore Forever

Tagore rules our hearts.
Tagore remains ever significant,
ever relevant.

Like any other typical Bangali, I have lived, breathed,
romanticized, and experienced Tagore,
however, we all do it in our own way,
we discover him in various stages of our life,
uniquely, and yet universally.
Rabindranath Tagore, (or, as we better refer to
the bard as our very own Robi Thakur),
was born on May 7, 1861 (however, we celebrate hi birthday in the traditional way, based on the Bangla calendar or almanac - whereby it is the 25th day of Baisakh - Pnochise Boisakh),
and died on August 7, 1941 (like his birthday tradition we observe it on 22nd day of Shravan - Baishey Srabon).

His famous works include Gitanjali, The Crescent Moon, Fruit Gathering, Lover's Gift, and The Gardener. The prolific creative genius that he was, he wrote umpteen poems, and songs, and stories, novels, plays and essays, and a lot more. Further, his paintings keep enthralling us.
Recently, I have been listening a lot of Rabindrasangeet, and unlike my earlier penchant for the age-old gems sung by thespians like Suchitra Mitra, Kanika Bandyopadhyay, Shantideb Ghosh, Subinoy Roy, Hemanta Mukhopadhyay, Chinmay Chattopadhyay, Debabrata Biswas, and Sumitra Sen (to name just a few of my all-time favorites), I am very much liking the host of contemporary singers, young and energetic, and inspired very much by the traditionalists, yet not in the least hesitant to experiment in a healthy way.
And these young singers' (well, they are not in the same age group, but they have been getting the youth brigade to warm up to Rabindrasangeet, that they surely have in common) efforts I choose to laud and celebrate, and I would very much like to recommend their renditions to my fellow enthusiasts.
Here they are, selected solely on the basis of personal preference of mine (my readers are requested to add their favorites to the list):
Jayashree Dasgupta
Srabani Sen
Srikanto Acharya
Swagatalakshmi Dasgupta
Kamalini Mukherjee
Shreya GuhaThakurta
Manoj Murali Nair
Manisha Murali Nair
Samantak Sinha

Somlata Acharyya Chowdhury
Parama Banerjee
Aniruddha 'Sasha' Ghoshal
Sounak Chattopadhyay
Lopamudra Mitra
Upali Chattopadhyay
Jayati Chakraborty

Endnote: Mention must be made of Bikram Singh (Vikram Singh Khangura) the eminent singer (son of yet another Rabindrasangeet exponent Mohan Singh Khangura) who met with an untimely death in 2009, at the age of 36.

The songs of Tagore sung by Bikram Singh, often without any musical accompaniment, has had many young convertees who have found in his soulful expressions a certain rootedness to bond with. His songs have definitely opened the flooodgates of possibilities to make Rabindrasangeet accessible to all, by sheer emphasis on the songs' true spirit sans gimmicks of any kind.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Happy Birthday, Iman!

Keep rocking, Iman!

Here's wishing you a very happy birthday!
Make music, make some noise......

Log on to Iman's cool website for more info
on this upcoming rockstar,
this volcano of a talent 
who makes you sit up and listen...... 
I wish him all the best
for his future endeavors....... 
may he strike the right chords, always;

may he connect profoundly with his listeners.
pics courtesy: Iman Sen; Calcutta Blues

A summer of discontent and dissent

I find the weather not only dreadful because it has warmed up badly 
but also because of the extreme discomfort it has been resulting in.
Kolkata has been missing out on the green cover to a greater extent this year as several construction projects are underway. 

And, on the personal front, I too am having a hard time, 
battling the challenges, physically and mentally. 

Although I am desperately trying to project an 'everything's cool' image.
A dear friend of mine asked me today: Why can't I be half as nice as interesting?
Well, that shows that my facade hasn't worn off...... hahaha.
I confess, I have been suffering a host of summer allergies of late. 
Plus, having to brave the heat in afternoons, have found me tweeting my woes.

As if the perspiration and dehydration weren't enough to irk us, there is an additional woe on account of the rising prices. Prices of consumer-durables and essential items are sky-rocketing each day!
Worse still, Kolkata - rather, the entire state of West Bengal - has been witnessing a summer of dissent what with the obnoxious political climate, many of the new government's (about to be a year-old soon) promises having been proved false, and some of the apprehensions about the leadership and the functioning having come true.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Remembering Ray

There was cinema before Ray, and cinema after.
Satyajit Ray is that big a milestone for filmmakers, and filmlovers in this part of the world.
As long as cinema will be there, retaining the very essence of what it has been revered by connoisseurs for, all over the world, Ray and his films, and his thoughts therein shall be relevant.

Today, and till late last night, I eagerly lapped up the Bangla version of his treasure-trove of a book, on the making of his very first film, 'My Years With Apu'. The Bangla version is called 'Apur Panchali'. It is a must read for all enthusiasts of cinema.