The flavour of Kolkata

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

Friday, June 29, 2007

The Bong Connection





After keeping the curious Kolkatans on a long wait The Bong Connection is releasing nationally tomorrow. Touted as Kolkata's first crossover movie about Bengalis in contemporary global scenario, this Anjan Dutt-directed English film (Generously sprinkled with Bengali dialogues) is an ambitious venture of Kolkata-based Moxie Entertainments debuting with this movie as a producer.

The film has been shot in Kolkata, and Houston, US by a young crew (Except Anjan, who is in his fifties, with a young mind) last year. The music by Neel Dutt (Also known as the son of Anjan Dutt) will have new sounds, compared to films produced from Kolkata. The mix ranges from Baul and Rabindrasangeet (Treated to a trans-techno feel) to an English song. The four protagonists are Raima Sen, Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Shayan Munshi and Peeya Roy Choudhury.

The film is being intensely promoted in the city since two weeks back through panel discussions, interactive sessions and jam sessions by father-son musical duo Anjan and Neel.

Above are some stills from the film (Courtesy Coolkatha).


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

EKK's first milestone

1. Name: Shibu Tudu.
Location: Ilampur village of Hooghly district.
Trivia: Mother died in cancer, father is suffering from paralysis.
Achievement: Ranked under SC/ST-87 in WBJEE (Engineering entrance) 2007.

2. Name: Subrata Burman.
Location: Roygunge, Uttar Dinajpur district.
Profession: Mason.
Achievement: WBJEE: Engineering: General-3512, SC-109. Medical: General-766, SC-30.

Shibu wanted to pursue engineering, Subrata aspired to be a doctor. None of them knew how. Poverty came between them and their aspirations.

And then Eso Kichhu Kori (Read about them in my earlier posts Eso Kichhu Kori, Eso Kichhu Kori: Time to pitch in and Two websites) identified them and pitched in with sponsorships under its project Sopan. And its great to tell you that Shibu has just been admitted in BESU Shibpur and Subrata in Calcutta Medical College.

Here's wishing Shibu and Subrata all the luck. For EKK it is just the beginning. Kudos to EKK!!!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Kolkata bods

As reported in today's T2, designer Jatin Kochhar doesn't see himself retailing his just-showcased bikini line from Kolkata. Simply because his observant eyes didn't meet with a single girl with a bikini body in this city.

Well, he is largely right. But he should have seen more of Kolkata streets, shopping malls and high-end eatery zones. There indeed are girls fitting the bill, as evident in the way they carry off trendy clothes demanding great shape. But indeed most of the young bunch are blissfully ignorant of something called 'shape' despite a yen for jeans (its all low-waist now) and short/ fitting tee. While many are downright fat or obese making an awful show in the said clothes others have bulges here and there marring the otherwise good look.

Possibly this city is too lazy and a great foodie to feel excited by trendy bikinis. T2 took the remark sportingly, but came out with a get-a-bikini-bod-in-two-months plan with advice from a fitness expert, a lifestyle coach, a beautician and a style coach. It remains to be seen how seriously Kolkatans respond to the story as will be evident in the next published T2 mailbox.

A dance show

Checked out the first celebrity dance show of competitive kind on Bengali television. Rituparna Sengupta-promoted Jhum Ta Ra Ra Ra debuted on ETV Bangla last Wednesday with a bunch of well-known young faces of Bengali tele. It is aired on every Wednesday and Thursday at 9.30 pm.

It is obviously inspired by Star One's big hit Nach Baliye which brought in a new genre of entertainment-based reality show on Indian television. The format has similarities. There are three judges- Tanushree Shankar, a danseuse, Prabhat Roy, a topline mainstream Bengali film director and actress-dancer Indrani Dutta, it has camera in the greenroom and a choreographer to work with every participant. But what is remarkable is the sheer attitude with which this show is attempted. Everybody surely knew that in production value and in terms of dancing talent the show will be far away from Nach Baliye. But the makers made good use of a limited budget and picked up the best available talent (Albeit some first choices either not available or refusing to take part in a competition). The Nitish Roy-designed set looks good.

I could not make it before the second episode. The participants are Debdut Ghosh, Soumili Biswas, Sagnik, Monami Ghosh, Deboleena Dutta and Sonali Choudhury. Soumili, Deboleena and Sonali are trained in classical dance (Deboleena teaches dance too). They attempted a mix of Hindi film numbers and Bengali modern song. Eye catchers were Deboleena's turn with Takhon tomar ekush bochhor bodh hoy fantasizing Uttam Kumar (Two boards of his photographs were kept on the stage) and Sagnik's Main hoon Don act. Monami looked glam in her costume modelled after the film (Taal) whose song Dil yeah bechain hai she swayed to.Tanushree couldn't help but let know that Sagnik looked attractive (Read hot) and would do well taking the overcoat off giving a hint of his well-built physique. Sagnik didn't blush but, as is common with a Bengali actor.

Sonali came in a ghaghra and a loose-fitting full choli. She hardly looks like a former model these days, with consistent weight-gain. But the costume didn't help. If she wasn't comfortable carrying off a ghaghr-choli she could've opted for a different number (She attempted a famous Jaya Prada number from Sargam).

Indrani was the toughest judge to please, as she didn't mince words. Prabhat Roy was the easiest with almost no negative comments. Tanushree struck the necessary balance. It was good to see Prabhat taking a note of the talent of local choreographers and promising to work only with them in his next project. He wondered why the directors (including him) always work with choreographers from Mumbai and Chennai where local talent can deliver so well.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Two websites

Eso Kichhu Kori, the Kokata-based NGO working towards supporting underprivileged meritorious students (Re: Earlier posts Eso Kichhu Kori: Time to pitch in and Eso Kichhu Kori), has its website up for checking out. It was there since its inception but has been worked on recently and lots of content has been added. Feedback of EKK community members on Orkut played a vital role in giving it the final shape. It has been executed by some of its members.

EKK was recently covered in this story by The Telegraph, which talked about the Orkut community that is its genesis. Its latest accomplishments were mentioned.

The indomitable Arin Paul, the founder of Bangla Telefilm club, which has recently switched to a members-only avatar thanks to its rapidly increasing patrons, has launched a temporary website for the club. According to unconfirmed sources it is the only telefilm club in the country.

Here's wishing both EKK and BTC websites a great journey ahead. May they connect to many, many like-minded people through their virtual entities.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Finally the rains....and how

The earnestly prayed for rains finally made a backdoor entry to Kolkata. Started last evening precisely, the overnight showers ensured several vulnerable and not-so-vulnerable pockets get waterlogged. This included regulars like Bangur, Ultadanga, Camac Street, Minto Park and not-so-regulars like the stretch from Park Circus junction to Bridge no. 4.

Rickshawwalas had a field day escorting people from badly affected areas, charging a premium. With fewer buses plying, officegoers were the troubled lot. I didn't get a Whiteliner from Baguiati, so had to drop at Beleghata to catch a second bus or a shuttle car to my Beckbagan office. The wait was painfully long but, as most of the shuttle cars were heading to Park Circus and my bus (The SBSTC white mini) was elusive. Finally got lucky with a shuttle car (Was really lucky as it was a Chevrolet) but it stopped at least 10 times before Park Circus, so terrible were the traffic jams triggered by waterlogging.

The silver lining was the respite from the sweltering heat with the infamous killing humidity of Kolkata, with RH (Relative humidity) reading often going northwards from 90%.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The exciting release roster

The release roster for Kolkata films this month and the next looks exciting. Jara Brishtite Bhijechhilo by Anjan Das releases June 8. The Bong Connection by Anjan Dutt releases June 22. And Anuranan by debutant Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, a Mumbai-based ad filmmaker, releases July 6 (Check its wonderful website following the link).

Jara Brishtite Bhijechhilo is Anjan's second adaptaion of Joy Goswami's work after the critically acclaimed, lyrical Saanjhbatir Rupkathara. Unlike the first, Jara... is a novel in verse, hence challenging for a filmmaker to adapt on screen. But it looks safe in the able hands of Anjan. It has a cast of Saumitra Chattopadhyay, Roopa Ganguly, Indrani Halder, Joy Sengupta from Mumbai (as Arani Sen, the protagonist, created in the mould of Joy Goswami himself as in the novel) and Ishwari Bose Bhattacharya, an actress born and brought up in France. The film explores various relationships in the life of Arani, the poet. In another track is this lesbian relationship between the characters played by Roopa and Ishwari.

Anuranan is the first Bengali film shot in London in an extensive schedule. It has an ensemble cast of Rituparna- Rahul Bose- Raima- Rajat Kapoor. It explores contemporary urban married relationships.

The grand launch

My sincere apologies to my readers for writing late about something which I sincerely feel deserved an early post.

The Bong Connection, the film the entire Kolkata youth is awaiting for a long time, had its music launch on 25 May at Kund area of City Centre. What a grand launch!! As the talented compere Jimmy Tangree (Known to the city as the voice of Red FM) mentioned, hardly any Indian film ever had an open-air music launch.

It started with a musical performance on-stage by the film's music director Neel Dutt (Also known as son of Anjan Dutt), director Anjan Dutt ( A popular singer-composer-lyricist as well) and their friends, with Parambrata Chattopadhyay (Looking cool in a milk white short shirt and denim), one of the lead actors in the film singing the title song (Sung by Rupankar in the film). The album was unveiled by Parambrata, Raima Sen (One of the two female keads), the producer Joy B Ganguly (Of Moxie Entertainments) and Arindam Sil, the executive producer. The producer, the executive producer and cast & crew present there talked about the film which, as the director put it, is a 'fun film about Bengalis in English language' and was never meant to be a 'Mahaan' ('Great' in Bengali) film. Song snippets were shown on two giant screens. Dibyendu, the young singer who has sung a bhatiyali rock number sang it on stage. The event ended with a jam session that saw Anjan belting out some popular numbers from his first album. He started with 'Mary Ann' which as he put it was a song about Christian Bengalis, followed it with 'Raanjana ami aar asbona' which was about a 'Muslim Bengali' and 'Haripada ekjon sadamata chhotokhato lok' which talked about a 'Hindu Bengali'. Kay Kay Menon, currently shooting Anjan's BBD in the city, also produced by Moxie, made a small appearance among cheers from audience and jokingly shared his 'Bong connection' (That he has a Bengali wife) and 'Non-Bong connection (That he hates eating fish).

The album has about six tracks including a nice remixed Rabindrasangeet sung by Nachiketa.

The film releases on June 22.