The flavour of Kolkata

The flavour of Kolkata
The bridge, the river and kids' play. Brilliantly captured by Sujay Kumar Das.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Via Darjeeling: Mock poster


The makers of the under-production Hindi film from Kolkata Via Darjeeling (Read earlier post Bollywood Via Darjeeling) has been generous enough to share the first cut poster of the film. It has been created by Arindam Nandy, the director, for the Orkut community via darjeeling started by him. It offers a peek into the look of the characters.



First milestone

Today was the first milestone for this blog, for it witnessed its 1000th visit. Tracked since late October 2006 it is indeed an achievement given the time taken for it. Going by the present standard of Indian blogosphere, as revealed in Blogging India: A Windows Live Report published in ITNewsonline.com on 27.11.06, 50% of Indian blogs receive less than 10 visitors each week. That means approximately a little more than 40 visitors a month. Modestly speaking, Kolkata Curry's achieving four times that number gives it a somewhat distinctive position in Indian blogosphere.

On this occasion, I hereby duly acknowledge all my readers who have visited Kolkata Curry during this period, and before that. This achievement would not be possible without the enthusiastic response of the readers. It is indeed they who make it tick. I have always thought a topical blog (Unlike a personal blog that's like an online diary) is driven as much by the blogger as by its readers.

Kolkata Curry has had visitors from US (California, Colorado, New Jersey, Maryland, Illinois, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Massachusetts, Rhode Island), Canada, UK (Lincolnshire, Birmingham, Bracknell Forest), Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, South Africa, Australia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, UAE and India (Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Surat and other places). Most of its foreign visitors come from US. In India it is most popular in its hometown- Kolkata, followed by three metros.

A milestone like this is also a recognition of readers' trust and loyalty. That Kolkata Curry is increasingly being visited through
Google as a source of quality and authentic information related to Kolkata is an indication that it is being counted among netizens. All this also takes the expectation level up and its important to realise that and live up to that.

I am keenly looking forward to queries, requests for post(s) on some subject and quality feedback (Both cheers and brickbats) from you all, my invaluable readers. Drop a comment and/ or mail me (Link at sidebar). All regular readers who are Orkuttians may choose to join the Orkut community about this blog (Link at sidebar) and contribute views.

Happy reading!!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Telefilm festival



The annual telefilm festival by Tara TV kickstarted yesterday at Nandan II at 7.05 pm. It will be held over this weekend at Nandan II and entery is free. The inaugural telefilm was just-finished and yet-to-be-aired QSQT Police Er Duty (Still above) by Parambrata Chattopadhyay. It was screened to a full house.

The short opening address was delivered by Chhanda Guha, VP, Tara TV and the soul behind Tara TV's experimental genre of telefilms, and Sandip Ray, filmmaker (Also known as son of Satyajit Ray), who talked more about Parambrata as an actor than a telefilm maker. When it was Param's turn he said he didn't make the telefilm to make a statement. In fact films, as he thinks, are not made to make a statement. If a statement is apparent it must have been in the subconscious of the filmmaker at the time of making. QSQT Police Er Duty was made on quite a tight budget (Seemed the budget was tighter that Tara's regular productions) and through a lot of grind and toil.

Shot end to end in a hill station, QSQT Police Er Duty is a hilarious cop & crook chase caper with brilliant performances from two protagonists Rajatava Dutta (As Sunando, the cop, seen in the still) and Kanchan Mullick (As Lakai, the petty crook), two of the leading actors in Bengali television. Of late Rajatava has made it big in films, as the new baddie in mainstream. They were ably supported by Bidipta Chakraborty (A prostitute madly in love with Lakai) and Nitya Ganguly (As the writer unintentionally caught up in the chase). The tele has some downright funny moments ably helped by Aditi Majumdar's one liners. Watch it when it is aired.

The post-show interaction had women gushing and Param almost blushing. The event had an unmistakable homely feel. Rajatava, Kanchan and Nitya Ganguly were present and appeared in front of the audience post-show, alongwith Arin Paul (Chief assistant director) and Aditi Majumdar. Param interacted with audience in and out of the auditorium with his usual humble self. This is his sixth telefilm and looks like he has got a command on the craft. I liked his last tele Nemesis too. Wish him all the best in his pursuit of being a filmmaker.

Also personal thanks to Arin, the chief assistant director of the tele who invited me for the show and also fielded technical queries from his friends (Me included). It was his birthday and instead of being gifted by us, he gifted us this nice telefilm.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A rivetting film


Kolkata Curry received its first press invite on April 16. It was to be part of a small, select audience for a special screening of The Pursuit of Happyness starring Will Smith, releasing this Friday. The screening took place at Gorky Sadan.

This is the first film which has Will's son Jaden Smith in the cast. The real-life father-son play the same on reel too. The film is terrific. A touchy, human tale riding on Will's able shoulders. Will Smith is beyond words in this film. It is based the novel on the true story of Chris Gardner (Played by Will Smith), the American stock-broker who faced intense struggle of livelihood with his little son before he made it big. Set in 1981 San Francisco, it is full with old-world charm, minus any special effects. The film has the ability to to teach values of life. Hollywood doesn't make such movies too often these days. It has received a 5-star rating in New York Times. A complete review is coming shortly on my film blog Show Business.

Watch it just for Will Smith, if not anything else. Will Smith visited Bollywood a couple of months ago and prospects of his sharing screen space with our stars in Hindi films came out on media. I don't know if our egoistic stars realise the kind of talent he is. To me Will Smith is among gods of screen post The Pursuit of Happyness.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Harsh reality

A friend a reader of this blog has requested a post on football, which is a passion for him (And Kolkata's too). Incidentally I was also thinking on writing on the same for the first time in connection with the recent happening as detailed below. This is not a happy post though and I never intended to start off on football with an issue like this.

Fifa president Joseph Sepp Blatter and Asian Football Confederation President Mohamed Bin Hammam (Photo above from their Colombo visit. Source: FIFA website) are on a visit to India. On their first stop in Kolkata they went to the three top football clubs- Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and Mohammedan Sporting- all located on Kolkata Maidan, the largest green stretch of the city. The also watched the big match between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal on Sunday at Salt Lake Stadium.

As it is expected in such a tour, it is filled with feel-good moments, making dreams of taking Indian football to the next generation and an intention to create a roadmap for the same. But in a stark contrast to that Hammam and Blatter did not mince words and pointed to us the pathetic condition of the sports infrastructure here in Kolkata. To the embarassment of the national and state level and club officials Hammam said given the current infrastructure Indian football will take another hundred years for India to play the World Cup. He was not far from truth. Just to think of Salt Lake Stadium, our prized asset and Asia's largest stadium with a capacity of 1 lakh spectators, it has never been overhauled since it was built more than two decades ago. I remember due to this a few years back the ground became unplayable after just a few showers. Blatter said in his next stop in Delhi that Mohun Bagan Club, to him, looked exactly from the same time it was founded, that is in the 19th century, so pathetic is its condition with a dingy players' room, an old-fashioned gym and an unkempt canteen with broken seats.

Officials, just out of the rude shock, wasted no time in starting the blame game, something they play way better than our footballers play the sport. According to club officials little can be done as Maidan is an Army property. Well, what prevented them so far to try to fend for themselves in the long history of their clubs? Couldn't they look for other places to build their own stadiums, however low-profile they might be? Anjan Mitra, Mohun Bagan secretary said their members would sue the club if subscription rates were hiked. This sounds like a lame excuse. In a state whose citizens created a record in donating blood to raise funds for a power project in Bakreshwar, where the big achievers among the sons of the soul are passionate about football, would raising funds for a halfway-decent stadium be as difficult as it can get? Yes, the state govt. can't shirk responsibilities, what with the same sports minister around for 25 years.

I am sure not much will change with this visit, but we will remember this tight slap. We will possibly take note of the fact that football cannot move ahead only with passion, it needs sincerity of all stakeholders and organisation skills of the highly placed individuals.

Friday, April 13, 2007

BBD

BBD- an acronym well-known to every Bengali worth his/ her salt. That's Benoy-Badal-Dinesh, the freedom fighter trio, by whose names BBD Bag, Kolkata's famous heritage landmark is named. Right? Yes and no.

BBD is the new Hindi film directed by Anjan Dutt and produced by Moxie Entertainments. It has a passing mention in my post Bollywood Via Darjeeling which talks about Moxie's other current venture Via Darjeeling. The film is currently being shot in Kolkata entirely on location with an ensemble cast- from the veteran Naseeruddin Shah to rookie Shauvik.

BBD is also about three individuals- Binoy- a young model-actor from Mumbai, Badal- a hard-boiled honest Kolkata cop & Dennis- an ex-rock musician junkie who migrated to the US - who are thrown together due to the most unusual circumstances. It goes on to tell how these young men meet & how their lives get inextricably bound together. Sounds similar to Yuva? Well, the similarity ends just there. This is a complex political thriller which is Anjan's most ambitious venture to date. The film is being completely shot in Kolkata in over 30 locations in three months starting from March 2007. No sets will be constructed for this ensemble film of more than 200 actors. The camera will follow the characters extensively through the city, its streets, buildings and nightlife. Kolkata in all its grandeur, is essentially a character of the film rather than just the backdrop. The climax of the film takes place in BBD Bag, which is historically significant to the film.

The cast includes Naseeruddin Shah, Jimmy Sheirgill (Benoy), Kay Kay Menon (Badal), Sandhya Mridul, Rituparna Sengupta, Sonali Kulkarni, Shauvik (Dennis) and a host of familiar faces from Kolkata- Tota Roy Chowdhury, Rimjhim Mitra, Biswajit Chakraborty, Suman Mukherjee, Arindam Sil (Also the executive producer). City model Pooja Gupta makes an appearance as a bar singer. The music by young composer Neel Dutt, the son of Anjan Dutt, has songs being sung by Usha Uthup, Shan, Kunal Ganjawalla and Sunidhi Chauhan.

For more action on BBD watch this space.

Here's treating you with some exclusive stills shared by the makers.







A foodie update

I wrote about my coming across one of Bengali's favourite homemade foods- Khichudi being served roadside at Camac Street (Which can easily be called a food street, besides office street or retail street, thanks to the shopping mall) in the post Khichuri on the street.

Khichuri is of two kinds- the one made at home and the other at temples or Puja pandals as bhog (Prasad), hence known as bhoger khichuri or khichuri bhog in Bengali. Though made on a large scale the latter surprisingly acquires a divine taste, distinctively better than the former. Bhoger khichuri has a legendary following among Bengalis.

A colleague sampled it today on Camac Street. He was floored by the taste. They serve it with papad and alu bhaja or alur dum. According to him it is the class of 'Bhoger khichuri'.

Can't wait to check it out.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A foodie's delight

Back to my favourite topic again. Food that is, me being a self-confessed foodie. Anup Kedia, a fellow foodie has posted a series of listings of Bengali and Kolkatan food on Orkut. Among them here's my chosen one which handpicks the best of the city's favourites from small but immensely popular and legendary eateries.

1. Kabiraji Cutlet from Regent (S N Banerjee Road).
2. Moghlai Parota from Anadi Cabin (S N Banerjee Road).
3. Kosha Mangsho from Golbari (Shyambazar).
4. Phulkopir Singara from Mrityunjoy (Lansdowne Rd).
5. Double Egg Chicken Roll from Kusum at Park Steet(Campari at Gariahat & Nizam at Esplanade are close contenders). Alas, Nizam is currently cloesd due to labour problem.
6. Chicken Rezala from Shabbir (Off C R Avenue at Chandni Chowk).
7. Steak at Oly pub (with beer!!).
8. Ujjala's Chanachur ( No comparison anywhere).
9. Telebhaja from Putiram (College Street). The only mistake. The shop is named Kalika and located near Putiram on Surya Sen Street.
10. Daab Chigri from Kewpies (Elgin Lane).
11. Chicken Cutlet from Baked & Fried/ Mukherjee Sweets (Ballygunge Place).
12. Bijoli Grill's Fish Roll.
13. Mochar Chop, Dhoka from Apanjan (Sadananda Road).
14. Boudir Lebu Cha (Deshapriya Park).
15. Kochuri & Tarkari from Tasty Corner (Mandeville Gardens).
16. Phuchka/ Churmur/ Doi Phuchka from Bilas or Boudi (Southern Avenue).
17. Chicken Cutlet near Samur (Bhowanipur).
18. Mishti Doi & Rosogolla from Mithai (Beckbagan).
19. Sandesh (all types, especially Naram pak & Ice cream sandesh) from Balaram (Bhowanipur).
20. Pantua from Banchharam.
21. Indrani from Ganguram.
22. Rabri from Chittaranjan.
23. Darbesh from Sen Mahasay.
24. Amritti from Bhim Nag/ Ganguram (Maniktala). Jalebis are no match.

The list looks like painstakingly compiled over a long time. Kudos to the compiler. Absolutely mouthwatering for every foodie Kolkatan.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Bangla Telefilm Club

Kolkata is home to a large no. of film clubs. They've so far been exposing the members to the best of world cinema and have their own film journals and publications. The big ones organise their own film festivals (Cine Central's film festival is well known). They are dedicated to develop a taste for good cinema in Kolkatans for decades.

The educated urban Bengali's losing interest in Bengali mainstream cinema and gradually turning back to it is not new. And some years back they found a much better substitute in Bengali telefilms, pioneered and popularised by ETV Bangla in its Sunday 9.30 pm slot. Fellow channels followed suit. Among them Tara Muzik set its own quality standard in making low-budget but high-quality telefilms. Telefilms are not much shorter than Bengali feature films if songs are set apart. They exposed the Bengali cinema lover to fresh storylines, experimental treatment and new talents in acting and direction. Bengali televiewers felt blessed. Telefilms soon became so popular that Tara TV started organising its telefilm festival which got a thumbs up from audience. Telefilms are now available in VCDs/DVDs and discerning viewers in India and abroad actively look for them.

Lets look at the take of some industry insiders for a complete and well-rounded view on the subject (Courtesy: Bangla Telefilms community on Orkut)

“People were not getting anything from Bengali feature films when telefilm offered them meaningful cinema.”
- Director Kaushik Ganguly.

"We believe telefilms are definitely viable revenue models".- Kaushik Duttasharma, Associate Chief Producer, ETV Network.

"Since so many films are being made and appreciated in the video format the world over,we should wake up to the possibilities. On my recent visit to the US,I realised that television has created a tremendous interest among the people there.It's so nice to see Bengali NRIs recognise television actors so well. By talking to them,I realised that they are interested in good quality films but not the average Tollywood fare," - Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Actor/Director.

And now Arin Paul, a friend who lives, breathes and sleeps cinema, and an assistant director in telefilms by profession has conceived a Bangla Telefilm Club. He has floated the idea on Orkut. Here's what Arin promises:

We'll be organising 2 shows every month (2nd Sundays) where in we will be showing Bangla Telefilms from May onwards. I do not promise but I shall try to bring the director and a few artists of the concerned telefilm.

For joining this community, you have to be a member of Bangla Telefilms community (In Orkut).

Also required is to register your mobile numbers at 98360-66315.

So if you are hooked to telefilms and have your own list of favourite productions, actors and directors, you know what to do now.

Kolkata Curry wishes Arin all the best and a grand success of Bangla Telefilm Club.

Orkut Kolkata Meet IV

Kolkata Orkuttians, of lately formed Orkut Kolkata Club founded by Arin, met again at Arjun's terrace near Deshapriya Park on Good Friday (April 6). It was a bad Friday for me as I had to work and give it a miss. The meet attracted a much better turnout that the last one at Rabindra Sadan (Read earlier post Orkut Kolkata Meet III) and ended up quite entertaining- with members reciting poems, singing. Tanmoy surprised all by bringing a Orkut Kolkata Meet IV cake to celebrate the occasion.

To share what happened in it I am putting below the account of it brilliantly written by Tanmoy on the Orkut forum Orkut Kolkata Club. I deliberately avoided to translate it from Bengali as not everything reads as good when translated. Here it is:

Jara Chhade Esechhilo :Arin , Tonmoy , Arjun , Amrita[Amy] , Amar , Shantanu , Aniruddha , Shreyashi[Shreya] , Kaustav , Shaoni , Anna , Sanglaap , Bikram , Sougata[Bappa] , Soumya , Anindya , Joydeep


Atithi Shilpi :Sumanta

Seto Elo Na , Elo Na , Keno Elo Na.....:Tathagata , Indrasish , Tania , Amrapali , Shreyas , Anirban , Sudip , Parthasarathy

Kahinibinnyas :Arin r kottagiri r KBCgiri.Tonmoy r bhnat boka.Amy r hasi.Amar r tax-i jibon.bishaltanu Shantanu-r abhinoybasona.ekla Aniruddha.domka haoyar moto poti-onto-pran Shreya.kichhukhan Kaustav.seminar ferot seminar-i Shaoni,gaoni?chaaraana sized anna,karnis-e bose pa dolano maana.sanglaaphin Sanglaap/chupchaap Sanglap.betalhin botolmoy Bikram.elokeshi Bappa.Soumya , The 91.sadanandya Anindya.joyful Joydeep.

Sumanta.su-mon to,tai bhalo mone bhalo kotha bollo.goutam buddha r thekeo bhalo , mukkhyo mantri buddho r cheyeo bhalo - ud-buddho korlo.amra buddhi pelam.bhaggyis besi dur theke daye ni.tahole dur-buddhi petam...

jara elo na , tara ki pelo na - Ma Taara ii janen.....

oh hyaan....amra to jaani,tara ki ki pelona.
1. chicken pakora 2 piece per pet[per head count kori ni kintu,kar ghare kota matha , k jane.... ]
2. Moner Jinis Monginis theke moner moto cake , tate knacha haat e lekha - ORKUT IV
3. instalment e loadshedding r majhe , alo-andharite adda.
4. Atithi Shilpi r bidaylogne monginis cake r alokito mukhkhani chirokaler moto bondi-camera te.

5. abar hobe go dekha , e dekhai sesh dekha noy to....

Great going OKC, keep it up!!