Monthly Archives: May 2015

State honour for Budhaditya, Rani Karnaa

Kolkata :

West Bengal State Music Academy will confer this year’s Allauddin Purashkar on sitar maestro Pandit Budhaditya Mukherjee.

The award, instituted in the name of legendary classical musician Ustad Allauddin Khan in 1987, carries a citation and a cash prize of Rs 25,000. Previous recipients of the award include Pandit Buddhadev Dasgupta, Pandit Manilal Nag and Manna De.

Mukherjee, who earlier won the Allauddin Khan Memorial Fellowship offered by the Madhya Pradesh government, plays sitar and surbahar in the Imdadkhani tradition of Etawah. Speaking to TOI, he said, “I am pleasantly surprised and honoured that the state government considered my name for this award.”

Academy’s member secretary and deputy director of information and cultural affairs department Malabasri Das said, “We will also honour dancer Vidushi Rani Karnaa with Uday Shankar Purashkar, tabla maestro Pandit Gobinda Bose with Jnan Prakash Ghosh Purashkar and Agra gharana vocalist Subhra Guha with Girija Shankar Purashkar for their contribution to various forms of performing arts.”

“I was born in Sindh in Pakistan. But Kolkata has been my second home for the last 40 years. It is great to see that the Bengal government has selected me for this honour,” said Karnaa, a disciple of Odissi legend Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee will hand over the awards to the maestros at an event at Nazrul Mancha on Tuesday.

source: / The Times of India / Home> City> Kolkata / TNN / May 26th, 2015

Vanishing magic caught on reel

Kolkata :

Even a few decades ago, city’s theatres used to remain booked for months for magic shows. Newspapers were splashed with huge advertisements portraying magicians in prince-like attires spreading the net of ‘indrajal’. Now, the city’s hobbyists and illusionists slowly watch the glory fading away.

‘Fading Magic — The Story of Kolkata’s Magicians’ is a documentary film that brings those artists on celluloid once again. Some of them are old enough to perform, some are fighting with poverty and a lucky few are trying to make a decent living out of the passion that has driven them since childhood.

While India was known for illusions such as Indian rope trick which mesmerized the court rooms of the princes and zamindars, magic in Kolkata was mostly restricted to pavements and roadside kiosks even during the early 70s. It went through a huge facelift after Protul Chandra Sorcar catapulted the shows into theatre halls. The journey of Bengal’s magic from sidewalks to theatres continued under PC Sorcar Senior and K Lal.

Sam Dalal, a magician and one of the largest magic instrument manufacturers in the world, felt that while Kolkata had magicians such as Mrinal Roy and H M Wakil, hosting shows in theatres such as Mahajati Sadan was not common. “Kolkata was the magic capital those days. Magicians such as Samiran, Gautam Guha and Raj Kothari ruled the roost,” he said. Dalal, an engineer from Indian Institute of Technology, joined the profession to turn into a manufacturer and an innovator later on.

There were others such as Sanmay Ganguly, who continued to perform on stage despite being a doctor by profession. New names came to surface as magicians started getting handsome payments even beyond cabaret acts at bars. Some chose magic to be their sole profession. But times started changing even before they could fathom the reasons.

“Finance was always a problem. For feats such as vanishing the Statue of Liberty you need huge investments,” felt Rana Banerjee. Rana had even appeared in the Roland Joffe directed ‘The City of Joy’. But such achievements only added feathers to the city’s magicians’ caps and the coffers remained dry.

D Subhash, who used to perform across the states is now finding it difficult to arrange money for his ailments.

“There has been a shift again and magic in Kolkata went back to streets once again,” said director of the documentary Amit Sahai.

Jasjit Singh said the fading glory of the art needs to be showcased. “Kolkata needs to be reminded of the glorious past it had,” he said.

source: / The Times of India / Home> City> Kolkata / TNN / April 26th, 2015