Category Archives: Arts, Culture & Entertainment

CM to give awards to nine at fest


The chief minister will present Banga Ratna to nine persons from north Bengal for their contribution in different fields at the inauguration of the Uttar Banga Utsav here on Monday.

Mamata Banerjee is scheduled to launch the eight-day cultural fest at Kanchenjungha Stadium here.

Official sources have said among the recipients of the Banga Ratna are Manas Dasgupta (economist from Darjeeling), Dinesh Chandra Roy (researcher on folk culture of the region from Jalpaiguri), Prem Kumar Bhutia (social worker of Kalimpong) and Debkumar Mukherjee (educationist from Cooch Behar).

The others are Malin Das (folk music instrumentalist of Cooch Behar), Dilip Kumar Roy (writer from Alipurduar), Prem Bihari Thakur (retired teacher from North Dinajpur), Tapas Kundu (researcher on Molecular Biology from South Dinajpur) and Radhagobinda Roy (social worker of Malda).

“Each award will carry a prize of Rs 1 lakh, a shawl and a certificate.

Apart from the awards, a total of 54 meritorious students from eight districts of north Bengal will get Rs 10,000 each from the chief minister.

Thirteen of them will get the assistance at the inaugural and the rest will be provided with the amounts by the administrations of their respective districts,” an official of the organising committee of the festival said.

source: / The Telegraph, Calcutta,India / Home> West Bengal / by Bireswar Banerjee / January 08th, 2018

Bird fest takes wing

Ravikant Sinha inaugurates the bird festival by lighting a lamp on Saturday. (Anirban Choudhury)


The second edition of the annual bird festival was inaugurated at the Buxa Tiger Reserve on Saturday.

The state forest department and Siliguri-based Himalayan Nature & Adventure Foundation (HNAF) are jointly organising the event.

Forty bird lovers and experts from different parts of Bengal and even from Delhi are participating at the four-day fest.

The Buxa Tiger Reserve is rich in avifauna and the fest is unique as it aims to bring together eminent ornithologists, researchers and bird enthusiasts from the region. “It (the fest) offers an opportunity to explore nature’s avifauna in this region alongside the rich biodiversity and wilderness of BTR,” Ravikant Sinha, the principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) of the state, said after inaugurating the fest.

The fest will also help foresters to make a checklist of the birds available in the reserve, generate awareness among people about conservation of birds and study their habitat, said foresters.

Last year, 127 species of birds were sighted during the fest. They included rare birds like the mountain imperial pigeon, Rufous-bellied hawk eagle, Silver-eared mesia, Jerdon’s baza, Sultan tit, Brown dipper and wreathed hornbill.

“We want to highlight the avian population in Buxa, which is no less attractive (than the animals) . We have plans to make it a state-level festival in the coming years. The Buxa Hills are comparatively undisturbed and we hope more species will be sighted this year,” said Sinha.

source: / The Telegraph, Calcutta,India / Home> West Bengal / by Anirban Choudhury / January 07th, 2018

Focus French connection

French consul general Damien Syed during an earlier visit to the Registry Building in Chandernagore, accompanied by Metro


Registry Building, a derelict colonnaded structure with louvered screens, caught in the clasp of myriad tree roots at the corner of the Strand, declared as condemned by the civic body, is the focal point of an initiative in Chandernagore for the former French colony to reconnect with its built architectural heritage.

Friday will see the launch of Know Your Indo-French Heritage, a week-long multidisciplinary workshop that is taking place within the ambit of Bonjour India, a celebration of Indo-French partnership in innovation and creativity across the country, organised by the French Embassy and Institut Francais.

“It is a collaborative workshop designed for the restoration of French-built heritage which will not survive unless people are proud of the town’s assets and realise that this can be a source of economic growth,” said French consul general Damien Syed, who reiterated his distress at the state of dereliction of the French heritage structures.

Students from Jadavpur University, Chandernagore College and The Confluence Institute for Innovation and Creative Strategies in Architecture, Lyon, will meet at Chandernagore College on Friday. “They are expected to come up with innovative design solutions as to how public spaces in the town can be better utilised. One of the outcomes of the workshop would be a sustainable business model for the reuse of the Registry Building. IIM Nagpur will collaborate on that,” said Aishwariya Tipnis, a conservation architect who has worked to identify the heritage buildings in Chandernagore. Seven buildings from her list, including the Registry Building, have recently been selected for notification as heritage structures by the state heritage commission.

All ideas from the workshop will be exhibited on the Strand as part of the closing ceremony on January 12 for the public as well as French ambassador Alexandre Ziegler to see. “We will also launch a crowd-funding initiative which will possibly be a first in India for restoration of a building,” she said.

Four heritage adda sessions will take place involving eminent residents like lighting wizard Sridhar Das and representatives of heritage businesses like confectioner Surya Kumar Modak.

Beyond Chandernagore

France will be the partner country this year at the state government’s Bengal Global Business Summit. “For the first time, we will have a delegation of nine or 10 companies,” said Syed. This is a significant development after the pullout of a French joint venture from the Haldia port which was blamed on strong-arm tactics by an entrenched lobby close to the ruling establishment. The then ambassador Francois Richier had raised the matter with the state government during his city visit in 2014.

source: / The Telegraph, Calcutta,India / Home> Calcutta / by Special Correspondent / January 05th, 2018

It’s Bach to the cemetery for a musical feast in Kolkata

One of the city’s oldest Christian cemeteries will host an evening of Baroque music to celebrate its 250th birth anniversary
Come Saturday, Kolkatans, both the living and the dead, can look forward to a grand musical feast as the South Park Street Cemetery, one of the city’s oldest cemeteries, will celebrate its 250th birthday by holding a concert on its premises.

In a clearing amid small and giant sepulchres, ageing plaques, and 300 varieties of trees, its sprawling, leafy compound will host a performance by a string quartet and a pianist on January 6.

The performances, according to the programme booklet, will mainly be of “17th and early 18th century Baroque composers” such as Antonio Lucio Vivaldi, Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frederick Handel. Some of the finest musicians of the city, including some who are based abroad, such as the violinist Prosanto Dutt, will perform. “He will also talk about the music,” said Ranajoy Bose, the architect of the two-hour show and a managing member of the Christian Burial Board, which manages the cemetery. The tickets are priced at a modest ₹20.

On being asked about the low price of the tickets, Mr. Bose said, “This is a strange cemetery. For instance, there are no crosses here. Instead, the tomb designs carry the architectural imprint of many civilisations, including Greek, Roman, Turkish and Mughal influences, and some are even shaped liked Hindu temples. We would like school children to know something about these eclectic designs created by Indian masons, besides some Western classical music.”

source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Other States / by Suvojit Bagchi / Kolkata – January 03rd, 2017

Doc with city roots a star author in Britain


Who is Rangan Chaterjee and why has he suddenly become just about the most famous doctor in Britain – a bit of a heart throb, actually?

For starters, Chatterjee, son of a doctor, Tarun Chatterjee, who came to England from Calcutta in the 1960s, has written a book, The 4 Pillar Plan: How to Relax, Eat, Move and Sleep Your Way to a Longer, Healthier Life, which is now No. 1 on Amazon UK.

“I am a Bengali boy and this book will have special appeal for Bengalis who tend to eat late at night,” Chatterjee told The Telegraph, as he remembered frequent Calcutta holidays at his father’s home in Shyambazar and his mother Bandana’s in Chetla.

Chatterjee, who has been interviewed by BBC News, The Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail, the Daily Express and elsewhere, appears to have struck a chord by focusing “on finding the root cause of diseases and helping my patients make their illnesses disappear”.

“The handsome 40-year-old father-of-two, star of BBC One’s Doctor in the House, is at the forefront of a new generation of social-media-savvy medics,” wrote one interviewer about the 6ft 6in tall doctor who lives in Wilmslow, Cheshire, with his Gujarati wife, Vidhaata, a criminal barrister, and their children, aged seven and five.

Based on his “experiences serving as a doctor for nearly 20 years”, Chatterjee, MBChB, BSc (Hons), MRCP, MRCGP, says that his “book goes beyond the sort of health advice we’ve all been reading about for so long – beyond the fad diets and the quick fix exercise programmes”.

His plan has been endorsed by, among others. Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who believes “Rangan’s easy, common-sense plan can help everyone live a happier, healthier life”.

Two events have shaped Chatterjee’s life – one was caring for his father who died five years ago. He was a consultant at Manchester Royal Infirmary, “a first-generation immigrant, who worked and worked and worked”.

Even more traumatic was the near death of his infant son who was diagnosed with “an easily rectified calcium deficiency”.

With a sensible diet, exercise and meditation, Chatterjee says: “I have routinely helped my patients reverse type 2 diabetes; eliminate irritable bowel syndrome; lower blood pressure without drugs; reduce menopausal symptoms naturally; sleep better and regain their energy; regain control of their autoimmune conditions; restore harmony to their circadian rhythms; add life to their years, as well as years to their life.”

source: / The Telegraph, Calcutta,India / Home> Calcutta / by Amit Roy / January 03rd, 2018

City girl on a roll in New York

An outlet of The Kati Roll Company, which has branches in New York and London


The Calcutta girl who makes “the next best wrap after Pashmina” rolled out her sixth kati roll shop in New York in November and has another one lined up in March.

Payal Saha, who comes from a music family that runs Hindusthan Records of 1932 vintage, has five stores serving up kati rolls in Manhattan New York , where she is based, and a solo near Oxford Street in London.

The newest store of The Kati Roll Company opened at Grand Central in New York and the earlier ones are at Greenwich Village, East Village, Midtown West and Midtown East.

Daughter of a college professor and an entrepreneur, Payal perhaps had it in her blood to excel in business. Both her grandfathers were entrepreneurs, she said over an email chat from New York.

Payal’s paternal grandfather founded Hindusthan Records after training in Germany. “He travelled through India looking for regional content from the brothels of Varanasi, recording recitals by baijis to Bade Ghulam Ali and Debabrata Biswas,” she said. The Akrur Dutta Lane studio of Hindusthan Records was inaugurated by Tagore where he also recorded his songs.

Payal Saha

Her maternal grandfather jumped ship on Staten Island as an illegal immigrant in NYC and went on to become a chemical engineer from New York University before returning to Calcutta to open a paint factory.

The first store of Kati Roll Company opened in 2002 and soon became a raging trend for “fast casual dining” in New York. It has been widely covered in the American and London press, including The New York Times and BBC America. “After 15 years we still have snaking queues and on weekend nights we need bouncers to manage the rush. Last year, we sold over a million rolls,” Payal said. The bestseller: Chicken Tikka Roll with Achari Paneer a close second.

The decor at her stores is very street and Bollywood with film posters and a rugged charm.

Payal studied at Loreto House before moving to Lawrence School in Ooty for her PLus II and Jesus and Mary College in New Delhi for her graduation. She left for New York in 2000. “My husband (Anil Bathwal) was working in advertising and found a job in New York,” she said.

While Payal missed her Calcutta food, it was the kati roll that she most yearned for. Her personal favourite: Golden Spoon on Middleton Row near her school. “I also like the rolls at Stop and Go near Ballygunge Phanri,” she added.

Soon, Payal started experimenting with recipes and came up with The Kati Roll Company. On her next visit to Calcutta, she visited as many roll shops as she could – from Anamika in New Alipore to Badshah in New Market. She also gained some hands-on experience at a kati roll shop run by a Bengali in Mumbai. “I was determined to make it taste like the best of Calcutta rolls, if not better,” she said.

In the early days, Payal made everything on her own, with just one helper. “We would grind the spices, make the parathas and marinate the fillings. It was a lot of work.”

With several shops under her wings, operations stabilised and a baby to take care of, she now depends more on her “capable managers”.

The core menu is authentic kati roll but for healthy eating, she offers chapatti instead of paratha. Recently, Payal started a line of flavoured lassi with organic yogurt. Mango Lassi and Mishti Doi Lassi made with patali gur are among the top picks.

Her one earnest wish: Bengal should apply for a GI tag for the kati roll.

source: / The Telegraph, Calcutta,India / Home> Calcutta / by Anusuya Basu / January 02nd, 2018

Dooars fest set to roll today


The Biswa Dooars Utsav will commence from Friday at Alipurduar Parade Ground and singers from neighbouring countries will perform at the event.

Singers from Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan will perform at the 14th Dooars Utsav, sources said.

Sourav Chakraborty, MLA Alipurduar, as well as General Secretary of Dooars Utsav Committee, said: ” This is the first time singers from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal are coming this year to attend Dooars Utsav. Almost 6,000 artistes across the state will participate in different cultural activities.”

“The Utsav will start tomorrow and end on 7th January. The Utsav is organised to promote Dooars among the people of the country. Every evening eminent singer from Calcutta and Mumbai will perform on the main stage of the Utsav. On the last day, Kumar Sanu will perform,” Chakraborty added.

There are three stages in the Utsav Ground which is known as Parade Ground in the town. One is main stage where the main programmes will be held. Another stage is set for the children’s performance while the third stage is made where the folk artists will perform. This is the first time several troops from different communities will perform during 10 days of the Utsav. There are people belong to Limbu, Rava, Mech, Garo, Asur, Santal, Adibashi communities. Troops of Dukpa community in Buxa hill will also perform. Different troops from Forest Villages and tea gardens will participate actively in the Utsav.

Chakroborty added that almost 200 stalls will be there in the Utsav. Arrangements for children amusement will be there. Stalls are also coming from Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal.

This is the first time sports has been added in the Utsav. Badminton, Cricket, Marathon are added. Games will be held on 30th and 31st December in the parade ground. Senior renowned artists across the North Bengal will also be felicitated during Utsav. Tourists coming to Alipurduar town will be taken to forest and Phuentsholling by the Utsav Committee free of cost.

source: / The Telegraph, Calcutta,India / Home> West Bengal / by Anirban Chaudhury / December 29th, 2017

Kolkata artist’s paintings stamp their authority in Germany

Kolkata :

German postal service Deutsche Post AG has issued two postage stamps featuring paintings by an artist from Kolkata.

Sudip Chatterjee, who passed out of the Indian College of Art & Draftsmanship in 1986 after graduating in science from University of Calcutta, was pleasantly surprised when he received a mail from the Deutsche Post headquarters in Bonn, seeking his approval to use two of his paintings in postal stamps. Each stamp is priced 1.45 euro.

Awarded senior fellowship by HRD ministry for 2016-18, Chatterjee was in Germany for an exhibition at Galerie Sabine Neubuhr from May 30 to June 19. He is again due to visit Germany next year for an exhibition at Gallerie Stauferland at Goppingen near Stuttgart from May 31 to June 17.

Chatterjee association with Germany goes back two decades. In 1998-99, he was an artist in residence at the Kuntseminar Freie Hochschule in Metzingen, Germany, and has done several shows in Stuttgart and Berlin, apart from Paris, Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata.

His Paintings are part of the collection at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Roopankar Museum, Bharat Bhawan and other private and public collections in India, Germany, France, UK, Finland, Austria, Canada and the US.

source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Kolkata News / TNN / December 28th, 2017

IIM reunion kicks off


The IIM Calcutta’s 1992 alumni returned to the campus on Saturday to relive their student days with batchmates Sonya Dutta Chowdhury and Swati Kaushal who chucked corporate careers to turn authors.

Each year, winter marks the homecoming of the batch that graduated from Joka 25 years ago. And the occasion is called “Reminiscence”.

The reunion started with a two-day carnival that would include a guided tour of the campus, a discussion with the director and dean, interaction with former professors and current students among others.

“I cannot imagine being a writer without my stint in the management school,” Kaushal told her batchmates. “Because I went to management school, worked with Nestle, interacted with advertising agencies, I was subjected to a lot of communication… that’s what brand management is about.”

Dutta Chowdhury said: “MBA teaches you a lot of communication, writing, analysis and storytelling.”

Instances of IIM graduates shunning corporate careers to turn authors is not new, though. Amish Tripathi, who was at IIM Calcutta to collect the distinguished alumnus award on November 14, is perhaps the most successful example with his Shiva trilogy.

source: / The Telegraph, Calcutta,India / Home> Calcutta / by Special Correspondent / December 24th, 2017

Bengal mourns the demise of veteran singer-composer-songwriter Jatileshwar Mukhopadhyay

Kolkata :

With the demise of Jatileshwar Mukhopadhyay, Bengal lost one of the most eminent personalities from the golden era of music who had the rare distinction of being a singer-composer-songwriter. Eighty three-year-old Mukhopadhyay succumbed to multi-organ dysfunction at a city nursing home on Thursday. He is survived by wife Sabita, daughter Subha and son Raja.

Born on December 13, 1934, at Chandernagore, Mukhopadhyay received his training under Satinath Mukhopadhay and Chinmoy Lahiri. Once he started working from the 60s, he created a niche for himself by writing the lyrics of 2000 songs and setting 1500 of them to music. Few know that he found inspiration in Mehndi Hassan’s ghazals.

While his own songs became popular, he churned out a number of hits when composing songs for Sandhya Mukherjee, Arati Mukhopadhyay, Haimanti Shukla, Banasree Sengupta, Pintu Bhattacharya, Sreeradha Bandopadhay and Pt Ajoy Chakraborty. Connoisseurs of modern Bengali songs remember his compositions like ‘E kon sokal rater cheyeo ondhokar’, ‘Keu bole falgun, keu bole polasher’, ‘Aamar swapan kinte pare’, ‘Aaami phoolke jedin dhore’, ‘Tomar songe dekha na hole’, ‘O sojon haay’ and ‘Amar onge jole’. His ‘Bodhua amar chokhe jol enechhe hai bina karone’ was a cult song and years later when Srikanto Acharya recorded it again, it generated equal interest among a new generation of listeners. Mukherjee had scored the music for Raja Sen’s ‘Damu’.

Tapan Basu, his disciple for over two decades, also highlighted his contribution as an author. “He has written Bengali essays and plays. ‘Krishnakumari Katha’ was a popular musical written by him. A lot of his research-based articles have been published as books. He also wrote in-depth articles on Begum Akhtar, Pankaj Mullick, Sudhin Dasgupta, Nachiketa Ghosh, among others,” Basu said.

Mukhopadhyay’s demise was deeply mourned by his music lovers. Composer Joy Sarkar described him as a most “underrated” talent who never got his due during his lifetime. Poet-and lyricist Srijato described Mukhopadhyay as a “smart” composer. “His compositions were smart, his lyrics had depth. He knew the art of expressing a lot while using few words. He is a perfect example of how to use knowledge with restraint,” Srijato said. Borrowing his own lyrics, noted elocutionist Urmimala Bose said: “Tomar songe dyakha na hole, bhalobashar deshta amar dyakha hoto na”.

His mortal remains will be kept at Rabindra Sadan on Friday to allow the people to pay their last respects before his final journey.

source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Kolkata News / by Priyanka Dasgupta / TNN / December 22nd, 2017