The flavour of Kolkata

The flavour of Kolkata
The city is known for its old alleys. One such is shot by Atanu Pal.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Foodie Tolly

Wednesday's t2 survey of the fav foods of Tollygunge, the 'film industry' locality, threw up some lesser known food facts about the city film folk. The survey checked on their favourite home food, street food, light bite, Kolkata restaurant, restaurant outside Kolkata and the dish they love to cook. The respondents were Anjan Dutta, Rituparna Sengupta, Jisshu Sengupta, Koel Mullick, Chandreyee Ghosh, Rrishii Kaushik, Indrani Halder, Arjun Chakraborty, Ananya Chatterjee, Sohini Pal, Riingo, Churni Ganguly and Shrabanti.

1. Vivekananda Park , one of the street food hotspots of Kolkata, is the single most favourite street food destination of most actors.

2. Sandwich is the favourite light bite of 33% of celebs out of which 25% like chicken sandwich.

3. Sher-e-Punjab on the highway at Kolaghat is the favourite restaurant outside Kolkata for Chandreyee Ghosh, Indrani Halder and Shrabanti. The possible common thread among them for this selection? The trips to the districts for shows and 'jatras'.

4. The cooking bit was a true revealation. Though the list was dominated by male actors/ directors and maiden actresses, the preparations they can make ranges from Yakhni Pulao (Anjan) to chocolate cake (Sohini) through meat ball soup (Ananya) and pork (Rrishii).

Of all, Arjun emerges as the greatest foodie, mainly for his wide range of favourites in home food (Parshey machher jhal, chholar dal, cauliflower fried in mustard oil, shukto, kasha mangsho etc.).

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Three 'strategic' gifts

The recent central rail budget looked like no short of an angel's gift to Bengalis. For everyone who's not a follower of the Rail Minister, the announcements, touching every strata of the society, were too good to believe. Among them the optimists' brigade may have thought even if 60% of the projects come through, it will change rail travel in Bengal.

And today marks a memorable follow-up to the budget. Two inauguration announcements and changing the name of one of the erstwhile metro rail terminal stations promise to leave a lasting impression on the Bengali's life. Inauguration of extension of metro from Tollygunge to Garia, kickstart of the first Ladies' Special train from Bandel to Howrah and renaming Tollygunge metro station as 'Uttam Kumar'- Bengal's greatest matinee idol- in the month of his death are something every Bengali concerned anywhere in the world is surely taking note of.

In the political perspective, it doesn't take more than common sense to see that timing all the three on the same day, that too a Sunday when everyone has the privilege to catch a live telecast of the same and just before the 21st July roadshow of Trinamool Congress, is a strategic move, keeping in mind the 2011 assembly elections. And by that count it has indeed hit the bull's eye.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The sensational Sens

For long I wanted to write on the sensational Sen family of Kolkata, that has made a mark in tinsel town generation after generation. Making an impromptu beginning here with the content of a mail I shot to t2. It's my brief take on what I like about them.

Suchitra Sen: Beauty, grace, poise, carriage, gravity. She didn't unlock her true acting potential and chose to stay within a stereotype that changed with time and her maturity.

Moon Moon Sen: Glamour (the true embodiment of the word in the history of Bengali cinema), sex appeal, carriage. She never took the craft of acting seriously and flowed with the wave. It has always been her glamour and sex appeal that have been cultivated by the Bengali cinema audience and her acting skill hasn’t found much favour. Her true potential hasn't really been tapped. To be honest she even took her looks for granted and didn’t put in as much hard work for maintaining it as required despite being an actress in mainstream cinema.

Raima Sen: She's inherited her grandma's grace and poise. She's beautiful and charming. She's taken her craft seriously and is pursuing her career with focus. She's lucky too in getting the early breaks (Godmother, Chokher Bali) and getting noticed through them.

Riya Sen: Characteristically she’s closer to her mom than her sibling. She has inherited Moon Moon’s glamour and sex appeal. She hasn’t shown a keen interest in acting so far (Abahoman and Noukadubi can’t be discussed as they are yet to release) and has leveraged her looks in a focused manner. Unlike her mom she seems to work hard in maintaining it.

(Pictures top to bottom: Suchitra Sen, Moon Moon Sen, Raima Sen, Ria Sen)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Not so wow

Sampled mushroom momo, a new variant of the famous Tibetan food to me, at the Wow! Momo counter in Spencer's Hyper at Rashbehari Avenue yesterday. Was keen to try it being a mushroom freak. But the taste left a lot to be desired. I could hardly feel the mushroom slices. The soup was too salty and not exactly the kind you expect with momos. Also four pieces for Rs 40 is a little too premium for a hypermarket.

All in all, a thumbs down.

Random observations

Two things amused me on MG Rd on a recent trip to Hindu School. A new Bengali restaurant calls itself a multidimensional restaurant on the signboard (actually meaning multicuisine). It indeed looks 'ambitious' to perceive (and trying to make the customers do that too) each cuisine a dinemnsion, huh?

And New Raj, the old 'pure' veterian sweet shop, adjacent to Moonlight cinema, showed up with a takeaway roll counter at one side with all kinds of rolls including popular non-veg variries like egg roll and chicken roll.

Food for thought, indeed!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A green revolution?

First, the stunning sweep in Bengal in the Lok Sabha elections (25 off 42 seats) in May 16, followed by the not-so-unexpected municipal elections (13 off 16 municipalities) end-June, the Trinamool Congress- Congress (Indian National Congress) combine is riding on the rock-solid anti-left wave. The fate of KMC elections next year is clearer and the predictions for the 2011 assembly elections in Bengal has probably started. Is a green revolution waiting to unfold two years from now?

Very interestingly the image of the Trinamool supremo has visibly started evolving since before the LS elections. Mamata Banerjee looked unusually calm (even on the face of provocative questions), smiled a lot (and with ease!!), used a rarely-witnessed sense of humour and quoted classic literature in the long TV interviews on Star Ananda in the build-up to the Lok Sabha polls. She has apparently discouraged victory processions even after the historic LS results and now telling her party's supporters to become 'modest' after victory.

All this is in a stark contrast to the Mamata we always knew. Needless to say she's scored quite a few brownie points among those who've never exactly liked her way of doing things. This Mamata is calm, more in line with strategic thinking, shows a healthy temperament and on a single-minded mission that is a complete washout of the Left Front in the 2011 assembly elections in Bengal. There are reasons for increasing creases on the foreheads of Alimuddin's top brass.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Jee-Ko the twosome

The most popular pair in contemporary Bengali mainstream cinema in post Prasenjit-Rituparna era is back again. After more than two dry years of depriving thousands of cinegoers Jeet-Koel (Or 'Jee-Ko' to savvy fans) reunites in Saat Pake Bandha directed by debutant Sujit Mondal under the banner of the best in the business- Shree Venkatesh Films.

The exclusive photo above, from a recent promotional tour to Krishti Cultural Complex, Memari for 'Saat Pake Bandha' showing the warm off-screen bonding between the is a fine indicator of the on-screen chemistry they've worked up on screen again.

Coming soon is their second outing 'Neel Akashe Chandni', a triangle love story directed by veteran Sujit Guha, with Jisshu sharing the lead, for which they shot first after the happening reunion that drove tinsel media working overtime.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

The new numero uno

He was a one-film wonder till 2007, though sort of an eye-candy, something unusual in Bengali cinema. He is tall, well-built, handsome with a simple smile that slowly works its charm on girls.

April 2009: He's delivered four back-to-back hits by now (I Love You, Premer Kahini, Mon Mane Na and Challenge, besides a killer of an item number in 2008's biggest grosser Chirodini Tumi Je Amaar). The first and the last in the row are definite blockbusters. It's a record that's honestly beyond comparison even with the erstwhile numero uno Prasenjit, staying at the top for ages now. So finally the throne has a new occupant. That his debut film was a dud (Agni Shapath) is a well-forgotten fact now, thanks to his resounding comeback in I Love You.

What Dev (known by his real name Deepak Adhikari before I Love You happened) brings to the table besides the physicality mentioned above is screen presence, a healthy and professional attitude, hardworking nature, and a hunger to rise higher and higher. He's calm, patient, down-to-earth, well-behaved and can handle success (Having spent a day with him on the promotional tour of Challenge this April on official duty I can vouch for all this). Being a software engineer from Mumbai venturing into tinsel town by sheer choice, he seems serious about his career moves. A strong defender of the throne of numero uno in short.