The flavour of Kolkata

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

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Whitewash

The recent recession has hit many in many ways. Executives contemplating a job switch have headhunters tell them to 'keep a little patience', others are no more dreaming of a 'cool' increment, companies are 'seriously' following cost control at all levels, malls are seeing less footfall, restaurants have less guests coming in etc.

At the same time the landscape is increasingly sporing an unusual colour- white. Thanks to the recession, corporates have axed their advertising budgets like never before in a long time and have dropped a large no. of hoarding sites. Those sites now sport the white colour flex with agency name and/ or contact numbers written on it. Hence instead of seeing more ads we are seeing a lot more mobile nos. So bad is the scenario that some outdoor agencies are even booking a part, generally half, of a site. That makes some sites amusingly look half white (with agency name, no.) and half colourful (with the advertisement).

Outdoor advertising gained a momentum over the past few years, increasing clutter in electronic media being one of the critical reasons. It lead to a lot more newer hoarding sites, bigger and bigger, on all main thoroughfares. In Kolkata EM Bypass especially saw a major rush by advertisers due to its location- outside the main city, thereby the visibility being more captive. But all that's a thing of the past now. One's view is consistently getting a jerk every other day in finding newly vacant sites wherefrom even last week Aamir Khan was looking straight making a point about a DTH service or a mobile service provider used to share one info or the other about its matchless service.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A 'fan'tasy coming true





Came across this intersting happening from the scrap of an Orkut fried. Ekhane Akash Neel, the mega serial on Star Jalsha starring Rishi Kaushik (He spells his name 'numerologically' touched Rrishii but) and Aparajita Ghosh Das in the lead, has given birth to a big and highly active Orkut community. The fantasy of 50 fans (off 504 members on last count) came alive on an invitation from Dr Kausani Sarkar of Tulip Nursing Home straight from the serial! Thanks to Kausani Roy, playing the doc, and a member of the community, the fellow members got the opportunity to meet the Ekhane Akash Neel team at the sets at Technicians Studio 2 on December 18. The fans met their favourite hero Dr Ujan Chatterjee and Hiya, aka Rishi and Aparjita and watched the shoot. Nothing could make a community meet more fantastic.

Pictures courtesy: Abhijit Das, a serious amateur photographer by his own admission.

Description (Top to bottom): The Ekhane Akash Neel community members with Rishi and Aparajita (Pink gown) in the middle, Kausani (in white) flanked by fellow community members, Rishi-Aparajita and Rishi signing an autograph holding a flower bouquet presented to him by the members.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The (proposed) next Feluda


After my last post Feluda 1 vs Feluda 2 on Sabyasachi Chakraborty's suitability as Feluda the thought of a better Feluda never slipped my subconscious mind.

It suddenly struck me as I was travelling in a bus on a Sunday. What about trying Rishi Kaushik as Feluda? He is young, has got the height, the physique and proven ability to act and charm the audience. All this apart he has the perfect cultured Bengali look essential for this legendary character so close to Bengali's heart. Thanks to his face he won't have to try hard to bring in the cerebrality Feluda requires. His hardworking nature will only help. Anyways he should make a much better Feluda any day than the ageing Sabyasachi. The rest depends on Sandip Ray.

Pour in your thoughts. Those who can't/ don't want to/ fail to post a comment may mail me at anirban48@gmail.com.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Bengali paunch is in danger

'Paunch' is one single attribute unmistakably associated with the Bengali in many parts of India and also aborad. Marwaris are also in the same league, especially to a typical Bengali. But the difference is while a Marwari stereotype is a fat man with a big paunch, Bengali paunch comes in various sizes and the possesors range from generally healthy (with the paunch as the only odd part of appearance) to obese. The genesis of the paunch is in Bengali's legendary love for food that often overturns his concern for fitness (if there is any) and the fondness for sitting- at work or in 'adda' (prolonged casual chat) apart from other reasons.

Bengalis are reluctant, indulgent, fond, defensive or even proud of their paunch or others' paunches. Here's trying illustrating it with a few examples.

1. Pround of paunch: A man in his fifties is poked fun at his paunch by his sister-in-law ('Shali') whose husband is perfectly lean. The man retorts stating fortune is with those who possess a paunch (which is also traditionally looked as a sign of prosperity) and not with them who have a 'dog's stomach' (hinting at her husband).

2. Defensive: A healthy (and a little plump) friend who put on a lot of weight post his active university days remarked that he is dealt with importance because of his generous paunch when he negotiates for sitting space in local trains back home everyday. He would have been sidelined had he been lean.

3. Fond: A man in his late twenties in a decently paid job had lost weight (unintentionally) post his marriage. His friend's mother expressed her dissatisfaction over his weight loss ruing that his paunch had 'vanished'.

Talking of fondness, some have an extremely strange knack of patting their paunch like a tabla when they are happy.

4. Indulgent: A colleague had a just-noticeable paunch and was poked fun at it by his friends. But he genuinely thought gaining weight and growing a paunch had really improved his looks and would always smile away the moment whenever one pointed at it. He had caught Hepatitis and lost weight drastically. On his recovery he gained back all the excess weight. When somebody pointed out at his newly grown paunch as a result of the prolonged rest at home he promptly said 'but it was always there (before the disease)'.

Unless oddly big, a paunch is also looked at as a sign of overall health not only by the loving grandmothers, mothers and aunts but also by those hwo grow it.

As a dichotomy a Bengali also loves to point out at another's paunch and advise him to lose weight or just poke fun at it.

The talk can go on and on but will take it up on another day on an appropriate context. Let's come to the point now.

As reported by The Telegraph on top of front page earlier this month that a group of Indian medial experts led by Dr Anoop Misra, Head of Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases division at Fortis Hospital, New Delhi, released the new cut-off points of overweight citing that BMI (body mass index, calculated as weight in kg divided by square of height in metres)- the international measure of fatness, had to be tailored for Indians and international standards couldn't be applied blindly. As Dr Misra said, the revision was long overdue (also approved by WHO some time back) as Indians' predisposition to metabolic diseases is among the highest in the world and fatness is directly linked to it.

The new standards state that an Indian adolescent/ adult with a BMI upto 22 is normal weight. 23-25 is overweight and above 25 is obese. The international standard that is currently followed calls a person overweight only when he/ she is within 25-30 and obese when the BMI crosses 30. As per the new cut-off a person with a BMI touching 25 will need to consider drug therapy as obesity is a disease in itself and can invite a host of lifestyle diseases like diabetes, heart problem, hypertension, gall stone and even cancer.

This is genuinely bad news for the Bengali who thinks he is fit and in decent shape albeit a bit of a paunch. Take this case: a man of 5'6" (average height for a Bengali) with an average build weighing 67 kg carrying a not-so-noticeable paunch will seriusly need to lose weight to just leave healthily as his BMI is 24.

So all those proud/ reluctant/ fond/ indulgent owners of a paunch beware! Take a hard look at it, be a little sensible about diet and try and be a little more active. Else this perceived sign of health will start taking a toll on the health itself.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Star goes a full-on Feluda



Star Theatre goes full-on Feluda with a tantalising fare of five shows a day this Friday (12 December) for the Feluda-crazy Bengali cutting across all age groups to feast on. The eagerly-awaited Tintoretor Jishu - the Hong Kong adventure of Feluda shows up at Star at 12.30 pm, 2.30, 4.30, 6.30 and 8.30 pm. What's more, the noon show and the night show have been priced less (Rs 40/ Rs 50/ Rs 60 compared to Rs 50/ Rs 70/ Rs 80 for the other three shows in between) to pull in the crowds.

The decision was fuelled by poor show of most of the four Hindi releases last week- Dil Kabaddi, Maharathi, Oh, My God!! and Meerabai Not Out and keeping the other eagerly-awaited Shah Rukh release Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi out of the scheme.

Am curious to see if this Feluda bet saves the day for the best theatre in North Kolkata.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The overlooked hunk



Rishi Kaushik made his debut on Bengali television a couple of years back in a telefilm produced by Indrani Halder, she playing the female lead. He looked impressive (playing a commando) right then, with potential for television and mainstream Bengali cinema too (given the right grooming and handling).

Years have passed by. Rishi has worked selectively on television. He has won many hearts for his sensitive portrayal of Indra, paired opposite Aparajita Ghosh Das playing his love interest Mohar, in the popular Zee Bangla soap Ekdin Pratidin.

It is beyond me why save for a few Bengali films like Riingo's 'Kranti' and Traun Majumdar's 'Chander Bari' he has been largely overlooked by the successful directors of Bengali mainstream cinema, who've rued in the media for the lack of actors with hero material i.e. goodlooking young men who can sort of act or can be made to act. In Kranti he played the dashing college baddie and brother of the villain Ashis Vidyarthi. In Chander Bari his character was not the lead and had a very traditional Bengali look. So his potential of being a frontrunner for the leading man's slot has been given a complete miss. Its more of a loss for the industry and the audience with a visible appetite for new heroes than his, I believe.

Hence this handsome hunk (having seen him personally at events I vouch for the words), instead of winning hearts of cinegoers giving his peers in hero-starved Tollygunge a run for their money, is charming the girls (and the women including mothers and aunts in all possibilities) as Dr Ujan Chatterjee, romancing Aparajita Ghosh Das again, in the soap Ekhane Akash Neel on the new Bengali entertainment channel Star Jalsha (Picture at bottom).

To cultivate him, visit his fan blog rrishiikaushikonline.wordpress.com.

Rituparno-Mir: Storm brewing among viewers

The Ghosh & Co. episode with Mir as guest telecast 16 November is eliciting excited response from KC readers.

The opinion is tilted in favour of Mir, and some have expressed disgust with Rituparno's way of conducting the episode, especially the perfectly prepared for verbal assault he made on Mir and the insult it caused.


To know more check the comments to the post Ghosh & Co. and Rituparno and Mir

Monday, December 01, 2008

Feluda 1 vs Feluda 2





The first phase of hoardings of Tintoretor Jishu, the latest Feluda flick announces 'Tintoretor Jishu is just coming'. And that takes me to the topic of this post. Yes, this has been an oft-debated subject. Which Feluda is better, Soumitra- the Ray's Feluda or Sabyasachi- the Ray Junior's Feluda of today. But I have restricted my thoughts to the physicality of the character.

Every Feluda fan worth his/ her salt knows his (Feluda's) physical attributes without what he can't be visualized. He is tall (6 feet plus) and well-built (Thanks to freehand exercises and yoga at home). I don't remember whether Ray ever wrote it expressly but Feluda is handsome without an iota of doubt (no wonder he has many a female admirer to his credit), and most importantly he is in his thirties. He never grew old after mid-thirties, something that was expected of such an iconic detective in Bengali literature.

I somehow came in terms with Sabyasachi in Bombaiyer Bombete, his first feature film as Feluda directed by Sandip Ray (Ray Jr). Things like the way he was rehearsing martial arts with Rajesh Sharma (playing Victor Perumal) or his style of shooting Rajatava hanging from the train (very un-Feluda-like expression) didn't go well with me......but still thought well, he is sort of okay.....if he is not then who.....there can't be anymore Feluda on screen then for this generation.

But Sabyasachi's appearance really shocked me in Kailase Kelenkari released last December. How could he even think of allowing himself to look like that? He was looking reasonably older than what Feluda can be accepted to look as and worse still....unfit!! A little pot belly showed on him and he was extremely ill at ease in the chase scene in the climax. In fact he looked downright funny in the dark profile shot in that scene. It was clear that he had been taking himself for granted as Feluda.

Though Sabyasachi is not in the best age to play Feluda, a dedicated regimen of working out under supervision and a right diet would have given him at least an acceptable physique and a younger look, with, importantly, the right postures for the character to take care of the physicality. Sadly, he is too lazy to do anything like that.

As for Ray Jr, he never got his Feluda right. Right from his first outing with Feluda-'Kissa Kathmandu Ka', the TV series on Doordarshan in the eighties antagonised the Feluda fans as it had the chubby and old Shashi Kapoor as Feluda. Hence Sabyasachi as he is now shouldn't be much of a problem for him. Also he has already defended himself by saying " aar keu nei" (There is none else (to play Feluda)).

Compared to Sabyasachi, Soumitra as Feluda, especially in Sonar Kella, was just perfect, physically and cerebrally. Well, he was Ray's Feluda after all. And Soumitra never took his look for granted. In his heyday he would work out regularly to maintain one of the best physiques in the history of Bengali cinema. Ray wouldn't have thought of someone like Sabyasachi in his nightmare even if Sabyasachi was from his times and Soumitra was not around. To understand this point the best, look at the photos again where Soumitra (in black & white) is from Sonar Kella and Sabyasachi is from Tintoretor Jishu shoot this year.