The flavour of Kolkata

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

Thursday, December 29, 2011

'Calcutta Restaurants' Facebook group

Can't wait but write about this hyperactive group on Facebook called Calcutta Restaurants. I discovered this group some months back and reluctantly became a member. Thereafter I began to realise how different it was from the other groups I've been a member of so far.

I dislike many Facebook groups related to a common interest because of their pathetically low activity level. But this one is so refreshingly and excitingly different!

It's a group for the foodies, by the foodies and of the foodies. A foodie member makes a post on his / her food experience, a food picture, a recipe or just a casual post on his / her mood for some particular food or cooking some dish or even shopping for cooking something , or to start a discussion on food. Besides posting images of the dishes the members have at restaurants, the images of dishes they cook are commonly posted. The posts are intensely frequent, and there are super active members who make multiple posts in a day and posts comments to others' posts thus contributing to the ongoing discussion. There are some really thought-provoking discussions one can come across here. The posts are balanced between images and texts. One can get to read some wonderful food experiences, including those by Kaushik Chatterjee, an active member, who is a doctor by profession and a true blue foodie by passion. One more thing I like about the group is that it spans all age groups.

Check out the group here. Would love to know the feedback.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Bawla Baron



Was bowled over by the first song from Aparajita Tumi, Aniruddha Roy Choudhury's upcoming release, on television. Bawla Baron, composed by Shantanu Moitra, written by Anindya Chattopadhyay-Chandril Bhattacharya and sung by Anindya has a beautifully slow pace, has the Anindya-Chandril signature that we loved in Antaheen, and sung in a not-so-Anindyaisque fashion. Shantanu has lived up to the tall expectation after his memorable Antaheen score with this one song at least. Looking forward to the others. The music was released a few days back.

Do share through a comment how you liked the song (Check out the video posted above).

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Chicken Roll from Elfin Bar

My foodie eyes had noticed sometime back that Elfin Bar & Restaurant, an old bar on Meredith Street (Near Bentinck Street crossing) frequented by officegoers in CBD had opened a takeaway fast food counter. It mainly sells rolls. Tried its chicken roll the other day. It was better in taste than the ones you get in sundry roll shops around, because of better ingredients, cooking and that it was made with oil instead of vanaspati (which leaves a stickiness on your tongue long after). The prices are regular. The chicken roll cost Rs 20. Would like to come back.

Mutton Handi Kebab at Gypsy

Tried this new dish - Mutton Handi Kebab - at Gypsy - a new restaurant on Chandni Chowk Street (near GC Avenue crossing). I had been craving for some spicy mutton dish for some days, though I had gone there for kebabs. I looked at the photo of the dish once on the menu and ordered it....and didn't regret. It was super yummy!

Mutton Handi Kebab is a spicy and oily dish with small pieces of boneless mutton in very little gravy. At Gypsy they served it with coriander leaves on it. Polished it off with a lachchha paratha, but a naan / butter naan would be a better choice. Priced at Rs 70, it's a tempting deal for any foodie looking for value for money.

Found this picture of handi kebab on the net for putting here as a reference. This was more or less how it looked (Though the dish in the picture is beef).


Gypsy is from the owners of Aminia, the famous Mughlai restaurant at Dharmatala. Kebab seems to be its speciality and it serves them at extremely reasonable prices (within Rs 70-80). It's just a few steps away from Sabir. Am looking forward to try the regular kebabs at Gypsy.


Friday, December 09, 2011

The AMRI Fire

I have little to add on the devastating fire that broke at one of the top and expensive private hospitals (AMRI at Dhakuria) at around 3.30 am that shook the city today. The death toll, rising possibly every hour, reportedly stands at close to 90 now, apparently most of them patients, including many old and immobile. The fire started at the basement and rose up to the second floor.

This is the second biggest fire the city witnessed haplessly after the one at Stephen Court in March 2010!

What I find particularly shocking is that the fire safety of such an advanced institution where people would come to save lives of near and dear ones against hefty expenditure apparently left a lot to be desired! Did they have smoke alarms, I wonder!

As per last update, the CM Mamata Banerjee, who's also the Minister of Health, has cancelled the license of the hospital. Six directors of AMRI (most of them big names in the industry) have been arrested.

This incident has tarnished the goodwill of the AMRI chain (They have another full-fledged hospital in Salt Lake and a newly started maternity and pediatric hospital at Mukundapur on EM Bypass) majorly and the group (Promoted by two leading local business groups - Emami and Shrachi) will have to struggle hard to revive it in the coming years. The healthcare chain expanded remarkably in the last 10 years. Public memory is short in general, but since this is healthcare this nightmare is not going to fade away easily. This incident should also lead to a new benchmark of fire safety standards in private hospitals in Kolkata.

The offenders should receive exemplary punishment in the court of law and the government should leave no stones unturned to do the needful. It's good to know that the CM has vowed the 'harshest punishment possible' for the guilty.

Looking forward to the development that follows.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Two ‘Kachuri’ Experiences

1. Tucked away in Meredith Street, near the Bentinck Street Crossing, is this low-profile, old vegetarian eatery ‘Shivam’s’. It serves a variety of vegetarian fare at down-to-earth prices. It’s my favourite place to eat when I opt for a roti lunch at work and have the time to go out.

Was feeling very hungry post-work last Tuesday evening (the Muharram day). As all the joints I went to were closed, I settled for Shivam’s. Had kachori and alur tarkari (Potato curry). The kachoris were thick and the curry was light, cooked home-style, with less gravy and more potatoes. The curry is markedly different from any other place serving the same food. It was a tasty and filling evening snack with four kachoris (At Rs 16).

Had written about its singara and vegetable chop last year in a tiny post Evening Snacks.

2. This run down telebhaja (Kind of fried Bengali snacks) shop at a dilapidated house at 17 Dixon Lane (Now known as Shahid Sushil Dasgupta Sarani, adjacent to Prachi cinema) is popular for its cheap kachoris. Till two years back or so, it sold kachoris at an unbelievable Re 1 a piece. Went there this morning for kachoris after a long time. The price stands slightly higher at Rs 1.50 a piece now, but the taste is equally good as last time. Keeping with the season, green peas show in the delicious alur tarkari served with the kachori. They also sell jilipi, beguni, alur chop, phuluri, and dhoka among other things.

Monday, December 05, 2011

The Mutton Roll at Anil Saha

When Anil Saha, a businessman experienced in the fast food business opened his roll shop (Named ‘Anil Saha’) next to the extremely popular Kohinoor roll centre in Barrackpore Chiria More in the 90’s, many were apprehensive of its success. It was mostly because of Kohinoor’s popularity.

It didn’t take him long before he proved all wrong with a roaring success. It became one of the hottest roll joints in Barrackpore. It has been one of my favourite local joints since then.

One of its best items is the mutton roll. Full with juicy pieces of soft mutton, cooked in a light gravy (Somewhat home-style), it’s just the way a good mutton roll should be. Making this food is indeed an art that few roll joints even in Kolkata city have mastered. The mutton roll from Anil Saha has been a hot favourite since our student days when it would be considered an occasional indulgence considering the megre pocket money we used to receive from our parents.

Went to the place yesterday with an old friend equally fond of the mutton roll. And we ordered it! And it felt great to experience the same old taste! We felt nostalgic. It costs Rs 35 now, but delivers complete value for money. They make the paratha with white oil, not with vanaspati unlike other roll joints. So there’s no greasy aftertaste caused by vanaspati.

For those interested, it’s located behind Roy Optical which is a well-known optical store right at Chiria More junction, near the island. And anyone around can help with direction.

Friday, December 02, 2011

The toast at Chittababu's Shop

My recent visits to this favourite place after a long gap and savouring their toasts brought me to this post.

There are toasts available in the city (at numerous street shops and small joints) and then there are toasts made at Chittababu’s Shop! I sincerely believe few make toasts as good as Chittababu’s Shop. Crisp and brown at places, with a thin streak of just absorbed butter in the middle and a dash of salt ‘n’ pepper sprinkled over. Umm….pure bliss! This non-descript yet legendary shop at Dacres Lane (at Esplanade East, a few minutes walk from Dharmalata / Esplanade metro station) is the eternal favourite of the large population of local officegoers.

Apart from toasts, the ghughni made at this place is extremely popular and markedly different from the regular stuff you get outside home. The ghughni is darker, thicker and taken with two toasts can make you feel full. The package comes at Rs 14. If you take plain toasts (without butter), that’s preferred by many, it will cost Rs 12. A great alternative to ghughni (with toasts) is the liver curry – small pieces of chicken liver in a mildly spicy vegetable curry can make for a memorable evening snack.

Their tea also stands out and needless to say is preferred by many to pair with toast or round off their evening snacking.

The shop is also famous for its fish fry and stew. There are many other pop picks like fish roll, fish pakora and fish chop. They have also been serving chilli chicken and maybe one or two odd Chinese dishes for some years but that cuisine is definitely not their forte and doesn’t reflect their culinary expertise. I also used to love their chicken pakora. A small pakora with juicy chicken inside, a wee bit sweeter than regular chicken pakoras (because of the filling) would make it outstanding. They would come at just Rs 7 apiece. But on my last visit observed that the pakora has become smaller and the taste wasn’t as good. Is rapidly rising prices the culprit? Would have loved if they priced it at Rs 10 and made it a bit larger, while not compromising on the taste. Was the double-digit price a difficult decision to make? I wonder.

(You may also read my old post Chittababu's Shop).

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Chakhori Corner - the Kolkata food blog

I found this blog about Kolkata food called Chakhori Corner some months back. And being a true blue foodie with a strong academic interest on eating out, got hooked to it. Three foodie college girls - Jahnavi, Sohini and Sreeparna - review restaurants on this blog with rating on various parameters comprising decor, cleanliness, service, taste and value for money. Each post mentions portion size (i.e. one portion is ideal for how many heads) and cost of individual dishes and their photographs.

The eateries are mostly in the budget category and spread in south and central Kolkata, across cuisines. The cuisines show in the various labels listed at the right, so you can pick up a cuisine and check out posts on various restaurants reviewed under it.

What I especially like about Chakhori Corner is that it shares a down-to-earth and extremely honest view about the restaurants. The bloggers are not in awe about any place and thus don't get carried away. 'Value for money' is an attribute that is sincerely reflected in all the posts. Hence, apart from being a reliable Kolkata food blog, it's worth trusting for the value conscious and price sensitive Kolkatans. There are reasons that it has more than 100 followers, who I believe, are mostly from the city.

It also lists a few easy-to-do recipes of common Bengali delicacies.

They also have a Facebook page. See it here.

A definite recommendation!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A-1 Haji Fast Food Centre

When this new fast food centre opened in Baguiati (in Ashwini Nagar, near Phoira Bhawan) last year, a lot of locals must have expected to get quality biryani and mutton delicacies, because the name ‘Haji’ is legendary in Kolkata for its quality raw mutton from numerous outlets across the city. It was seen that the mutton roll sold at A-1 Haji Fast Food Centre is cheaper than average. The reason is not a difficult guess, the raw mutton is in-sourced.

Soon after it was opened, it was a hit in the area. Food flies off the counter in the evening.

Had brought its biryani to a reception at home last week. Must say I was impressed with the quality. Post a ‘genuinely’ positive feedback from the guests, when I started on the biryani it wasn’t exactly hot. But it was yummy. The mutton was succulent. Yes, it was a little rich, but that’s fine. Even after eating to my heart’s content there wasn’t any uneasiness.

The prices are quite reasonable. Let’s look at some of the items : Mutton biryani sells at Rs 70, special mutton biryani Rs 110 (with 2 pieces of mutton and a larger quantity of rice), chicken biryani Rs 65, special chicken biryani Rs 100, chicken chaap Rs 50, mutton kassa Rs 70 (full) and Rs 35 (half), chicken kassa Rs 60 (full) and Rs 30 (half), special masala tikia Rs 20, chicken roll Rs 20, mutton roll Rs 22, special tikia roll Rs 17 and chicken boti kabab Rs 60 (There’s no mutton variety).

Hope to explore its mutton roll and other dishes.

For those more interested to check it out, it’s located at HC1 Ashwini Nagar, Baguiati, Kolkata 59, and can be reached at 32562688.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The 'Fitted' Fashion

Went to Big Bazaar last Sunday to pick up a t-shirt. I last bought a t-shirt quite a few years ago.

Picked up a turquoise blue round neck and went into the trial room. And…did not like the fit at all. It was making my thirties stomach bulge (an office bulge to be precise, the average one you have thanks to sitting long hours at the desk) too prominent. It was a close fit. Thought of changing to a dark colour that has the ‘hiding’ quality. Tried a dark grey, but the fit of the large size (which is my size) still left a lot to be desired. The bulge wasn’t showing much because of the dark colour, but not that it couldn’t be noticed at all. Finally I had to pick up an XL for the fit to be acceptable. Something I have never had to do ever in my life.

The experience in the trial room gave me a hard realization that this in an age of the fitted fashion as far as western clothes are concerned. If it’s fashionable, it’s got to be fitting. T-shirts to shirts, all follow your contour, and some of them do it closely (the body fit). Yes, you are a bit relieved with short shirts that are a bit loose (unless you are grossly out of shape). In our younger times, it was different. T-shirts were loose, and shirts were looser. When not tucked in, shirts looked shapeless. So unless one was absolutely out of shape he wouldn’t need to be much careful about the fit. Cut to today’s times, those who are conscious about how they look in clothes need to be extra careful about the fit.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

A fun question

Met a colleague on another's invitation last Sunday evening. He was dressed in a nice, long burnt orange kurta and faded blue jeans. We discussed how his teenage son keeps borrowing his clothes and footwear as he (the son) feels like. There's another colleague who is often teased by us for often wearing his teenage son's tees to work.

Both guys are in their forties and in reasonably good shape for their age. And they are fine exchanging (or letting the son borrow) clothes with their children. There must be many like them in the city. Which brings me to the question : Are their many women in the city too who exchange clothes (no, not saree) with their daughters?


Friday, November 04, 2011

Calcutta Times : The Saturday Avatar


Needed to put in this clarification after my two recent posts : The New Calcutta Times on October 8 and Calcutta Times : a put off after a great hope on October 10.

Well, it's permanent. And it's ONLY on Saturday. On Saturdays, Calcutta Times is donning this exciting tabloid avatar. Apart from familiar sections it has a cover story. The interviews are also structured differently, with more pictures and text boxes, to suit the tabloid format. Loved the interview of the actor brothers Gaurav and Arjun Chakraborty (Of Gaaner Opare fame), also known as the sons of the well-known actor couple Sabyasachi Chakraborty and Mithu Chakraborty, on the October 29 edition (See the cover in picture).

Looking forward to the Saturdays for one more reason!

(Picture sourced from The Times of India e-paper)



Wednesday, November 02, 2011

A nip in the air

There is a nip in the air....and the mind (the body too) is ready to embrace the season (despite the ongoing bout of flu). The sun is mellow, and inviting us to find more occasions to go out and feel it. And yes......food beckons ...vegetable chop, phulkopir singara, koraishutir kachuri , hot momos, stews and soups..nolen gurer sandesh, gurer rosogolla ...and much, much more as the body is prepared for a long and varied gastronomic journey ahead.

Enjoy Kolkata!! And drop your take on the above, especially your favourite winter foods.

Monday, October 31, 2011

A milestone

Am absolutely loving to share with you, the KC readers, that KC has just crossed 60,000 page views. Considering the count is since its birth in May 2006, that's close to 1000 page views a month! And that's pretty good by the standards of an Indian blog.

Thank you readers from the core of my heart, for visiting. Special thanks go to the followers of this blog. Hope it makes their following KC more worthwhile.

Keep visiting and keep contributing through comments, suggestions, info on and pictures of this lovely city. Hope to have a long journey together.

The Date with Tin Tin


After a fairly long time I’m keenly awaiting a Hollywood movie. Tin Tin, one of the favourite comic strip heroes of our generation, that grew up in the seventies and eighties, is coming back with a bang to the celluloid after almost four decades of his last screen outing.

The iconic comic strip by Herge (as he was popularly known) from Belgium, was first published in Bengali among all Indian languages. Two pages of the adventures of Tin Tin was a permanent feature of Anandamela- the popular fortnightly children’s magazine from the ABP group, and it was the first thing that I would invariably check out immediately after grabbing a new copy. The comic strip stayed as Anandamela went through a transformation over time, including converting to the regular size from a small size (that of a regular book) that is my first memory of the magazine and Tin Tin as well.

I followed Tin Tin, a young, boyish-looking reporter with a golden tuft that was sort of his brand identity, having a penchant for cracking mysteries, through his series of adventures that took him through various places across globe from desserts to the land of Red Indians, and even moon. He and his dog Snowy were often accompanied in the adventures by Captain Haddock, the hardcore mariner with an amusingly colourful vocabulary. And the duo would often come across Professor Calculus, the semi-deaf inventor whose famous line was ‘More to the west’, and the twin detectives Thompson and Thompson known for messing up things more than solving cases. To make it suit the language, especially the school-going readers, Snowy was called Kuttus and the detective duo Johnson and Rohnson in Anandamela, and later in the Bengali edition of Tin Tin books published by Penguin. Tin Tin sailed across many incredibly challenging and life-threatening situations by virtue of his quick wit and vast knowledge.

The attraction of the movie in question, apart from the fact that it is largely a 3D-animation-based (with actors playing the famous characters besides a completely animated, perfect-looking Snowy), hence a smarter version unlike the previous ones, and that the pirate villain is played by Daniel Craig, is that it is directed by none other than the great Steven Spielberg, a self-confessed Tin Tin buff. Fate came between him and his dream movie for a few decades before he filmed ‘The Adventures of Tin Tin : The Sectret of the Unicorn’ (about a sunken treasure in a huge ship named Unicorn, one of my favourite Tin Tin adventures) that is releasing worldwide in phases now. It has released first in Belgium, the country of Herge, and where Tin Tin is a national icon, on 26th October, followed by other European countries, Asia, Africa, the Australia continent and finally in North and Latin America through December ’11 – January ‘12. It is releasing across India on November 11.

Can’t wait to set a date with my childhood hero after November 11!! Am sure, scores of Kolkatans who have been avid Tin Tin readers in their younger years are feeling as nostalgic or more. Would also like find it out for myself how the young reporter fares on celluloid in the age of famous big screen versions of Spiderman, Batman and Harry Potter.

Pictures : 1. Tin Tin & Snowy from the comics, 2. The movie poster of 'The Adventures of Tin Tin : The Sectret of the Unicorn' and 3. Tin Tin and Captain Haddock from the movie.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Dining at Anand

Had heard a lot about Anand - the south Indian cuisine restaurant - a lot before I moved to my new workplace in April 2011 at Chandni Chowk where it is located. Naturally I was keen to check it out thereafter.

By now I have been there a couple of times, and I love their long and perfectly crisp masala dosa which has a lightly cooked potato filling, and the mixed uttapam too. The sambhar particularly appeals to me. The sambhar and coconut chutney are refilled whenever required, without call, and at no extra cost. The service is quick, and if you order dosa it's the quickest. The dishes are priced at just a small premium. A masala dosa comes close to Rs 50 (without VAT). The lassi is good too, and I guess the other south Indian items that I haven't tried are more or less similarly good in taste.

They serve north Indian dishes (Like chana batora, chaats etc) too.

Naturally the air-conditioned joint is a favourite among officegoers in the CBD. Be prepared to wait for some time at lunch hour though the sitting capacity isn't small.

What many may not know is that Anand makes good veg pizzas too. It was recommended by my foodie boss and I vouch for that after tasting two varieties. And they are much inexpensive considering the quality. Wish to taste their mushroom pizza some day.

A feat at CMRI

Here's a friend's post on Facebook (My additions are in bold):
CMRI (Calcutta Medical Research Institute), Kolkata rejoined 4 severed fingers of a 3-year old girl (from Ghatal, in Bengal) in a 8-hour long operation on 13th October 2011. Congrats docs! She's expected to recover fully in about 6 months.

A few years ago doctors at the same hospital successfully rejoined the severed hands of a factory worker from Hooghly who carried his own limb to the hospital wrapped in a plastic bag.


Take a bow, docs at CMRI, for your magic on limbs!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sandesh from Nakur

The client treated with two varieties of sandesh from Nakur Chandra Nandy, the famous sweet shop near Hedua, on occasion of Bijoya. Nakur's sandesh is legendary and a bite into the soft (Naram pak variety) chocolate sandesh was ample proof of that. As the liquid chocolate came out of its core, it felt heavenly. It's difficult to stop at one even for someone without a sweet tooth like me (also considering I'm watching my diet these days). The other one, a regular ‘Naram pak’ sandesh, was great too.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Calcutta Times : a put off after a great hope

Unfortunately Calcutta Times was back to its old broadsheet avatar on Sunday, October 9 (Re: My last post The New Calcutta Times) and it continues today. The hope for a proper tabloid-style avatar, giving t2 a run for its money, crashed.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

The new Calcutta Times


The brand new tabloid size avatar of Calcutta Times was a pleasant surprise this morning. Am loving it! Noticed that it is now talking to its readers directly (Like "We'll let the photo speak" or "We're ready to insure it"), just like t2 does it.

Loved the naughty cover story on the most 'insurable' assets of the beauties of Bangla film industry.

t2, you have serious competition now. The Kolkata tabloid scene looks set to be more exciting!

(Picture sourced from The Times of India e-paper)

Friday, October 07, 2011

Pujo 2011

It was decently spent. Through pandal-hopping at Barrackpore (checked out the first theme Puja - known to me- there), home-cooked mutton curry on Nabami, Salt Lake Pujas and Kakurgachhi-Sribhumi-Lake Town Pujas.

Didn't find the idols impressive this year. The patterns were too common, except for a bit of innovation like Lake Town Pradip Sangha (Conceived by Artist Prashanta Pal), and Salt Lake FD block (just the sheer size, all of 51 feet). The leading trend was the Jamini Roy-influenced style. I felt that the attention of the Puja organisers has drifted from the idol, (very unlike what it was in the 90's) and set on attracting huge footfall with newer and sensational themes in pandal. Some 'arty' idols were pretty small in size, rivaling a Saraswati idol one sees at the time of Saraswati Puja. Didn't find a single memorable face among the idols, and sorely missed the traditional angry face of Durga.

The auto rickshaws, of great help during pandal-hopping, made a killing, fleecing the vulnerable passengers. I was charged Rs 15 (the regular fare is Rs 8) for Ultadanga to City Centre and an incredible Rs 20 for Baishakhi to Ultadanga (More than double the fare). Was so irritated in the latter case that I refused to pay in change initially.

Didn't also find anything new in the street food, except for the Fruity Freeze range of Rollick ice creams. Had the Daab Malai flavour. Innovative and good in taste, but wish they used more of green coconut pulp instead of a mix of the same and coconut with the ice cream. The price (Rs 30 a single scoop) was exorbitant too! The rest was the same, routine roll-phuchka-ghughni-bhel puri-papri chaat-chowmein and ice cream. With an increasing number of cuisines on offer in the restaurants, it was time Kolkata expanded it's street food offerings too!

Friday, September 30, 2011

'Baishe Srabon' outside Bengal

Good to know (from Srijit Mukherjee's wall post and Prosenjit's tweet) that Baishe Srabon is having a simultaneous release today in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. Certainly one of the best Puja gifts for the true-blue Bangalees there. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Desh short stories number

Bought the just-released Desh stort stories issue. Read Sangeeta Bandopadhyay's Dushtu Mishti first, and loved it (And told her so on Facebook!). It's a humane take on a relationship between a single woman and her pug.

Would love to come back here to talk more on the issue. Looks like a nice, small Puja gift from Desh!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The yummiest Mishti Doi

Posted a question on my Facebook wall to do an informal poll among friends : Who makes the yummiest 'Mishti Doi' in the city?. My vote went to Ganguram.

The result (Based on a few comments) is skewed towards Ganguram. And there was a small insight too. Many of us like the Mishti Doi from our neighbourhood sweet shops.

I don't have a sweet tooth. I have started having sweets on my own (i.e. not when treated by somebody) much late in life. In my late twenties. Still I am not much fond of Mishti Doi. I rather like the sour version when made at home. I didn't like the legendary Amrito's Mishti Doi. I've never been displeased with the transition of Mishti Doi to ice cream at marriage receptions and other similar occasions. But I found this dessert at Ganguram's different.

A foodie colleague treated me with Ganguram's Mishti Doi. And I loved it. It doesn't have a so called crust that's so much sought after by the Mishti Doi fans. It's the same at the top and bottom. Not too sweet or thick.

Oh, about the poll. The votes went to Mithai and Banchharam among the well-known brands of Kolkata. And the local ones include Shree Durga Mishtanna Bhandar in Behala and Ashesh Sweets in Barasat.

The poll can continue here. What's your pick as the 'Yummiest Mishti Doi in Kolkata'?



Saturday, September 24, 2011

The sandwich at Just Baked

Loved the chicken sandwich at Just Baked, at lunch today. At Rs 30, it is at a 50% higher rate than Monginis, with a taste, rich with generous dose of mayonnaise, that better.

Was tempted to have the chocolate walnut brownie as well (which is really good here!), but resisted for taking in too many calories (am on a diet watch before Puja).

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Facebook post

Sanghita Chatterjee, a freelance writer and jewellery designer, and a Facebook friend of this blogger has made a wall post I couldn't resist sharing here (post a chuckle):

I love you with all my heart...but my butt is bigger.

Monday, September 05, 2011

The Baishe Srabon soundtrack

Kolkata seems to be hooked to Gobhire jao, aaro gobhire jao ever since the Baishe Srabon trailer made it to the virtual world, and especially after the August 27 music release.

Apart from this Rupankar song, Ekbar bol nei, tor keu nei, keu nei - written, composed and sung by Anupam is also catching on fast.

Liked the Anupamesque flavour (As a dear friend put it) in both the songs. Looking forward to the other songs from the Baishe Srabon soundtrack, written and composed by Anupam with voices like Rupam, Shreya, Raghab, Anindya and Saptarshi (Who sung the other version of Beche thakar gaan in Autograph). Hope Anupam lives up to his Autograph fame and grows with this film as a competent music director. His two songs (Written and composed) in Autograph are still so popular that they get featured in Friends FM weekly top 10 after nearly a year of their release. Had also loved Anupam's Bariye dao tomar haat and Classroom from Chalo Paltai, released earlier this year, that marked his debut as a full-fledged music director.

The aquatic meet

The annual aquatic meet at Lake Town Swimming Pool Association drew a huge number of members starting from small kids, and enthusiastic guardians on 4th September, Sunday morning.

It was cute to see teachers in the water helping 3-4 year olds in finishing their freestyle lap in the mini pool. This category didn't have winners. Each participant was given a medal, which was a nice gesture on the club's part.

The swimming den draws huge number of swimmers and swimming aspirants, being the best in the business in North-East Kolkata. The fees are reasonable. It sports two well-maintained pools - one main pool and one mini pool (for kids). Many members participate in competitive swimming at various levels.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Rituparno on Twitter

Yes, Rituparno Ghosh has joined the Twitterverse in the middle of this August. No, it's NOT a fake profile, because his tweet has been carried in t2, and also evident from his tweet exchanges with well-known Twitterfolks. Logged on to Twitter rightaway after I read his tweet in t2 today and followed him. Am interested in Twitter again after long for his tweets. Hope he stays regular

A big 'Thank you' to t2 for publishing his tweet.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Uro Chithi

Loved Uro Chithi - the August '11 film sporting an ensemble cast, by debutant Kamaleswar Mukherjee.

It's a story of one year in the life of techie Aniket caught in rough weather during the last recession - capturing abut various people in his life. The ensemble cast with Indraneil (the protagonist), Saswata, Sudipta, Rudranil, Biswanath (The surprise package), Sreelekha, Biswajit, Locket, Reshmi, Tanusree and others is spot on. Everyone was just perfect for their roles. Tight script, good storytelling, superb performances and good music make it a recommendation.

Waited long for Uro Chithi. And it was worth it! Loved the doctor-turned-adman-turned-director Kamaleswar's dialogue (especially the witty one liners) in Natobor Not Out last year. Looking forward to his next work.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Iti Mrinalini disappoints

Yesterday I watched the film I so eagerly and frustratingly awaited all this while……only to find it wasn’t worth the wait! Sheer disappointment!

It is far, far from Aparna's best work. And sad for we the audience that it came right after The Japanese Wife.

I expected a close look at Mrinalini’s careergraph, her path to success, her exit. There hasn’t been a worthy film on the life of a lead actress of Bengali cinema in the 70′s (while we have a Nayak) and I expected Iti Mrinalini to fill that void. But Iti.. showed Mrinalini at work only as reference points for sketching her personal life. And top of all, she’s shown to work mostly in Siddhartha Sarkar’s (The character of a leading, commercially successful director, played by Rajat Kapoor, in Anjan Dutta's voice) films. Utterly ridiculous!!

Not that the film DOES NOT HAVE redeeming qualities. The performances - Konkona, Kaushik Sen, Rajat, Ananya Banerjee (the older Sohini) - are first rate. Kaushik's talent is well-known, but his Chintan Nair will stay in audience memory for long. The music, especially the title track by Srikanto Acharya (Based on Sunil Gangopadhyay's poem) is good, and the cinematography by the late Somak Mukhopadhyay is outstanding.

I loved the ruthlessly honest 'personal' take of Pratim D. Gupta on the film (The link : http://moifightclub.wordpress.com/2011/08/01/iti-mrinalini-koko-channel-in-rina-rut/#comment-5884).

Monday, August 01, 2011

Life in Metro : 3 - The 'Smart' commuter


Every daily commuter was waiting for this for a painfully long time. The new Smart Card from Kolkata Metro. The authorities stopped issuing the current avatar of Smart Card long back, forcing the daily commuters to stand in painfully long queues or buy multi-ride tickets. Now, multi-riders come with their own reality, which is not palatable.

So, when the paperless travel (Switch from magnetic paper ticket to plastic tokens) was kicked off in July '11, the subsequent announcement of fresh issue of 'Smart' cards caught many like me, who suffer long queues every morning and haplessly count the no. of trains passing by before we reach the counter, in great enthusiasm. Mine was higher as I haven't ever possessed one.

The expected date of launch was missed at least once, just like the launch of the token system. Finally the newspaper report yesterday brought the day in striking distance. Metro counters for smart cards opened yesterday itself.

Changed my route midway today after dropping my elder daughter to school at Sealdah. Travelled back to get down at Dum Dum, my stop for the daily metro ride to Chandni Chowk. The queue (only for smart cards) was as long as that of regular tickets any other day. But, fine, it was going to be the last pain before a long relief. Quickly took down the 'Must know' info of a smart card from fellow commuters, and ended up at the counter after a wait of 35 minutes. Bought the long desired object costing Rs 100 (with an usage value of Rs 120 and a validity of 30 days). Aahhhh.....life in Kolkata Metro will be different now.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The debut : Sananda TV


Was keen to check out the first day (that was yesterday) of the new baby in the Bengali GEC circuit from the house of the mighty Anandabazar Patrika - Sananda TV.

Had intended to catch only Pralay Aschhe - one of the 6 daily soaps, directed and produced by Raj Chakraborty. Was impressed with the production value. Shot on a RED camera used in contemporary cinema, the frames looked like a movie, as promised by Raj. Liked Paran Bandopadhyay (he plays an upright and witty teacher) the most. Supriyo Dutta plays an evil politician, the kind of character he is pro at. The first episode showed a murder by local anti socials in a Kolkata locality modelled on the Rajib Das murder in Barasat in February 2011. Am keen to check out Abir Chatterjee's smart cop act in the next episodes.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Spoilt for choice

Delhi Belly, Ichchhe, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara.....the cinephile in me is spoilt for choice this weekend.

Ichchhe is being raved about by people from the industry. Aniket Chattopadhyay recommended it to me last night, and now I see Anindya Chattopadhyay's appreciative wall post on Facebook highlighting Sohini Sengupta's sterling performance in the film. We really missed Sohini on big screen after her memorable act as Khuku in Aparna Sen's Paromitar Ekdin in 2000.

Icche is based on a Suchitra Bhattacharya story about a possesive and ambitious mother and her son (played by Sohini and newcomer Samadarshi respectively) and directed by Nandita Roy and debutant Shiboprosad Mukherjee. It has music by Surojit Chatterjee of Bhumi and and an exciting line-up of lead singers from Bangla bands who've sung solos in the film: Rupam (of Fossils), Sidhu (of Cactus), Subhojit (of Lakkhichhara), Anindya Chattopadhyay (of Chandrabindoo) and Anusheh Anadil (of 'Bangla' band in Bangladesh). Those who want to dig deeper, visit the movie's Facebook page and website.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Iti Mrinalini promo



Looks like a classic awaiting release (on this July 29). Awaiting a competent and enjoyable take on the life of a lead actress in Bangla cinema from the '70s that is coming long after the brilliant Nayak by Satyajit Ray in 1966 based on the life of a male matinee idol of Bangla cinema played by Uttam Kumar.

What makes the film more interesting is that it is directed by actress-director Aparna Sen, who has been a lead actress of that era, and is playing the aged Mrinalaini - the title role (While Konkona Sen Sharma, her daughter, plays the younger Mrinalini).

Am personally curious to check out Kaushik Sen, who has played a Tamil director in the film in a reportedly standout performance. Kaushik, though highly deserving, has been largely overlooked in Bangla cinema so far, with only a few good films in his record, despite proving his worth sustainably in theatre and television.

Am also keen to listen to its music (by Debajyoti Mishra), with a friend having predicted that the song 'Aami achhi je tomar opekkhay saradin' is set to be a chartbuster.

Pastime


A retired Kolkatan engaged in a passionate game of chess on the sidewalk. Shot in a locality in North Kolkata where it is a typical pastime.

Picture courtesy : Shreyas Surya DasGupta, who loves to shoot the city in its various moods.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Hoarding free heritage

It was pleasantly surprising to see super prompt action on the new government's decision spelt out by KMC : Pull down all the hoardings from BBD Bag to Park Street. The objective was something long-cherished by passionate Kolkatans - To be able to relish the Kolkata heritage blocked by countless hoardings of all shapes and sizes creating intense visual pollution for long. On the first day itself (that's yesterday) several hoardings were pulled down by the respective agencies on an overdrive.

Thumbs up to the new state government for the determined step towards a more beautiful Kolkata that we all can be proud of.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Iti Mrinalini releasing




It felt good to know that the eagerly-awaited Iti Mrinalini starring Aparna Sen, Konkona Sen Sharma and Priyangshu Chatterjee, directed by Aparna, is finally releasing on July 29. It gave a painfully long wait to the cinefiles in the city. The movie will also release in Hindi.

The last picture shows the director-acress and her actress daughter in the shoot.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Roopa....by Anurag


Here's the elegant Roopa Ganguly for you....shot impromptu by Anurag Basu at Darjeeling where he was shooting Barfee with Ranbeer Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra. Roopa plays a role in the film, her first Hindi film in a long time.

Sincere thanks to Roopa Ganguly for the permission for the photograph, sourced from her Facebook album.

Challenge Nibi Na : a brief look

Am not being able to catch up with Challenge Nibi Na - the reality show with celebrities on ETV Bangla at 9 pm due to work schedule. Caught just 2-3 episodes.

The celebs are being put through really unfamiliar and challenging tasks in a village. Like catching fish, collecting dry leaves and filling sacks with them, collecting eggs from under small baskets spread over an area, fun games like a quick run to and from a point and cutting a gourd in between and blindfolded team games. Some are finding it more challenging for their excess weight and lack of fitness while some are smoothly sailing through for being fit and in shape.

The fit brigade : Rimjhim Mitra, Sampurna, Dibyendu, Silajit.
The fat pack : Kamalika, Arindam Sil, Sohini Paul, Swastika Mukherjee.

It was surprising to find Sohini awfully fat, with her bulging stomach hanging in a white t-shirt. Swastika too looked too fat for a lead actress. Both of them really need to go through a strict fitness regimen to get back to reasonable shape.

Nondinee promo



Here's the second promo of Nondinee, the upcoming film by Subrata Sen after a long gap, starring Swastika Mukherjee. Mir and singer Dibyendu have played the male leads.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Ranjana Ami Aar Ashbona

Ranjana Ami Aar Ashbona is touching, bold and straight from the heart. Abani Sen, though a Bengali rockstar of that age is not really credible, is certainly amongst Anjan's best as an actor. Parno is impressive and so is Ranjana's voice - Somlata.

The film, though it has some elements too typical and repetitive of Anjan, takes off from where Anjan's Madly Bangalee ended and goes deep into the creative crisis of a rockstar and also has a brief but ruthlessly honest look at today's rock music and people making it. A fresh and interesting take. Recommended.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Srabanti's item number




Was pleasantly surprised to read about Srabanti's first item number in a Munni badnaam hui-resembling costume in Soumik Chattopadhyay's under-production film under the banner of Venkatesh Films on t2 Tollywood page today. It will be interesting to catch how so far the 'only seen as cute 'n' glam' Srabanti fares in the item number space.

Should be a treat to numerous netizens looking up Srabanti on the net and occasionally landing up on this blog, making the page views of the posts featuring her topping the most other most-viewed pages. Would love to have some comments from them here.

Picture sourced from : t2, The Telegraph 25 June 2011.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Jagorone jai Bibhabori...

The remade Rabindrasageet with guitar and drums in the background from Anjan Dutt's 24 June release Ranjana Ami Aar Ashbona is filling up my senses.....after Rupam's Beche thakar gaan (from Autograph) did it last Puja and Babul and Shreya's Pherari mon (from Antaheen) the year before that.

Loved Somlata Acharyya Chowdhury's voice, and Kabeer Suman's too (after a painfully long time on playback) in Jagorone, and especially the western orchestration superbly composed by Neel Dutt. Neel is keeping up with his successful experimentation with Rabindrasangeet since the brilliant Pagla hawa in The Bong Connection.

Eagerly awaiting the film.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Star Ananda 20:20

Loved the panel discussion of an eclectic mix of participants from Bangla film industry on Star Ananda 20:20 telecast last evening. The topic was : Paglu and Shotru (two recent big releases) did business worth crores. What did the industry get?

Moderated by Suman De, the panel had Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, Anjan Dutta, Raj Chakraborty, Anindya Chattopadhyay, Sujan (Neel) Mukherjee, Rahul, Mahendra Soni and Jeet Ganguly. The last two were refreshing additions to such a debate, and thanks to Star Ananda for that.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The sorry state of the stadium

It felt bad to know the sorry state of our showcase Salt Lake Stadium in this Times of India report published today. Always knew that the stadium gets a step-motherly attitude from the state government when it comes to maintenance and the ground has never got a much-needed overhaul in it's history. It's a shame for the last state government that despite earning from the stadium through hire charges for private functions, the upkeep always received a royal neglect.

Thankfully the new Minister of State for Sports (with independent charge) Madan Mitra has got into action soon after assuming duty and has ordered a maintenance drive. There are good reasons too, for if everything is upto the mark, the stadium is going to host the Argentine football team this September with Lionel Messi as the star attraction.

Also shocking to know was the state of a pride of the city - Rabindra Sadan (See this adjacent report in The Times of India).

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The fate of the two

So the swearing-in of the new state government happened before a robust audience. Now recalling the speculation made in my earlier post Run-up to the elections 1 : Two distinct candidates, it has become half true. Yes, Amit Mitra is the new Finance Minister, but Bratya has been allocated the Higher Education portfolio, which he should be able to do justice to given his teaching experience in college. He wasn't given the Information & Culture portfolio (as also speculated in a prominent Bangla daily) because of Mamata Banerjee's principle that people shouldn't be given the ministries in line with their field of work by default. More thought should go into the portfolio allocation. I agree.

Am also particularly happy about the cabinet berth allocation to Manish Gupta (the giant killer who defeated the last Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya by a good margin) who wasn't really interested to become a minister. The Planning & Development department looks like in the safe hands of an Ex-Chief Secretary.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A respite!

The city was at its hot 'n' humid best for the first two days this week. Those like us who need to work on the field daily or occasionally suffered the most. It dehydrated the body to the core. The late afternoon yesterday was better but.

Today was definitely a big relief. It started as a cool, dry, cloudy day. There was heavy pouring in the afternoon. Hence it felt good being on the field throughout the day.

Hope such weather balances out the summer torture this season, which is proving to be less ruthless than its predecessors.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

'Noukadubi' music launch


The unique music launch of the Rituparno Ghosh-directed and Subhash Ghai's Mukta Searchlight Films-produced Noukadubi (Based on the Tagore novella of the same name) took place on a barge on Hooghly last evening. The film has been scored by Debajyoti Mishra (Second from right in the picture). It's set to release on 20th May.

No Sunday without ‘Robbar’

A complimentary Sunday magazine distributed with the daily paper is something many look forward to, Sunday being the only day with the luxury of leisurely reading that covers a variety of subjects that a daily paper doesn’t deal with on weekdays.

In the past the Sunday magazine used to be associated only with only the English newspapers, like The Telegraph and Hindustan Times. Graphiti from Telegraph and Brunch from HT are two quality offerings that I am sure command a great readership. To many these magazines must be the main attraction of reading the Sunday papers. In the recent years one of the prominent Bangla dailies has joined the league with its unique Sunday offering – Robbar ( which means Sunday). It is from the house of Sangbad Pratidin. The paper, though paints a certain political image through the broadsheet, has been doing a competent job when it comes to the supplements (apart from Robbar it publishes Popcorn – the Friday entertainment supplement and Ami – the Saturday women’s supplement).

With Rituparno Ghosh at the helm and Anindya Chattopadhyay (of Chandrabindoo fame, who’s a competent writer too) as the associate editor, Robbar has successfully carved out a niche of being a literary magazine, offering a quality, wholesome weekend read without which my (and many other loyal readers’) Sundays are incomplete.

I was introduced to Robbar by Anindya Chattopadhyay. Went to the supplements section of the paper (at the top floor of Sangbad Pratidin office-cum-press next to Hindu Mutual House at Chandni Chowk) for some work with him in 2008. He gifted me some old issues of the magazine, and I was gradually hooked. Over more than the last two years, Robbar has refreshed its content at a healthy interval. Many columnists have left and new ones joined. But my engagement with it has grown only stronger. I am in love with its quintessential Bengali essence which, besides providing food for thought to the top end of the educated class, deals at ease with middle class Bengali sensibilities, likes and preferences, and the underlying wit in its nature.

It comprises, apart from a well-penned editorial by Rituparno, a cover story on some well-chosen aspect of Bengal and Bengali life, regular columns by noted writers Nabaneeta Dev Sen, Ranjan Bandopadhyay (about books by authors across the world), Samaresh Majumdar, Joy Goswami (discussing poetry), Chandril Bhattacharya (of Chandrabindoo fame, and an established name in sarcastic writing) and Sudhir Chakraborty. Two of the recent additions are a mythology column by the expert – Nrisingha Prasad Bhanduri and another by Sanjib Chattopadhyay. These are peppered by two serial novels - Ashtam Garbho by Bani Basu, and Kshama Karo He Prabhu - a religious thriller (a new genre) by Rupak Saha, and a food column that talks about food, food joints and the story behind them by Amitabha Malakar. Rupak’s engaging and highly informative novel is my first read in Robbar. The cover story is one of its core strengths, providing the take of a set of handpicked people from various walks of life on the subject.

You can also read it online here.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ritu's angel



Congratulations to Rituparna Sengupta on being the proud mother of a "cute little girl" (in her own words) on 12 May 2011. She's in Singapore now, at her husband's place. Both the mother and the baby are doing well, as per Sanjay, the proud father.

Wish Rituparna and the little angel good health.

Finally....it's a green Bengal



It was sooooo disappointing not to be able to blog yesterday - The Historic Day in Bengal. Blogger was kept out of access by the site administrators.

Anyways, so finally Bengal is green now, putting an end to the longest-lasting communist rule in a democratic set up in the whole world, all of about 34 years, through the storming triumph of the Trinamool Congress & Indian National Congress coalition that won 227 sets out of 294, throwing out the ruling Left Front that managed only 62 seats. Being someone brought up in the communist-led Bengal it's hard to sink in.

Let's look forward to a new regime with renewed hopes. All the best to Mamata Banerjee & Co. Hope the life in Bengal gets only better now, albeit gradually.

Friday, May 06, 2011

A working lunch



Had an all-agency meeting at the client's office yesterday. Enjoyed the pizza and chicken wings lunch from Domino's ordered in. Never imagined Domino's served chicken wings (Picture above). The sauce used in the chicken wings added to the taste. And the complimentary Choco Lava Cake (Picture above) with liquid chocolate inside was sinfully tempting.

I used to rate Domino's after Pizza Hut as far as regular pizza is concerned at least, but liked their thin crust pizzas.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

A pleasant onset

This is the most relieving onset of summer in a long, long time. A complete contrast with the cruel same time last year.

It's hard to believe that it's feeling cool at the night and the dawn. One can even feel like switching off the fan. And we've already had about 4 nor'westers by now. It's raining once almost every week. Let's see what's awaiting us.

Friday, April 29, 2011

The first D Day

One D Day is over, another coming 13th May. Kolkata, along with North and South 24 Parganas went to polls on 27th April. It was by and large peaceful and well-organised, thanks to Election Commission.

But I was disappointed by Kolkata's polling rate: just 64%, while North 24 Parganas polled 83% and South 24 Parganas 84%. The ratio is in line with the last civic poll in 2010 and general elections in 2009. South 24 Parganas did a shade better this time. Despite the stats, I expected Kolkata, being the thought leader in Bengal, to lead from the front and turn up to ink the finger in an impressive number, as this is not just another election. It is the most watched, closely fought, adrenaline-pumping assembly election in the last three decades that has shown a possibility to end the 34-year communist rule in Bengal that has made international history.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Hind : a new avatar

Hind cinema, after a painfully long wait spanning years, is opening again today in a cool new avatar - Hind Fame. Yes, it's a multiplex now, a two-screener at that (with a robust capacity of 701 seats, by multiplex standards), under the Fame umbrella, making it the third Fame plex in town.

It should be a good option for the mammoth office crowd in central business district, close to which it is located (76 Ganesh Chandra Avenue). Particularly for cinephiles like me who look for convenient (read 'not far', comfortable and moderately priced) movie-watching options post work. Am excited because it's just a less-than-10-minutes walk from my Chandni Chowk office!! The ticket prices will be kept lower than market rates, they said in an interview in a t2 preview sometime back. The theatre will cater to the burning need for good theatres in Central Kolkata, which used to be a movie buff's delight with a wide array of quality theatres like Lighthouse, New Empire, Globe and Metro long back.

Wish it all the very best!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

t2 : the big bore

The 24-page t2 can really be a big bore, like today's edition. Since its debut in January it is yet to plan well to fill up the 24 pages (save a few for advertisements). The variety of features and consistency of new columns has been lacking all this while. Even MySpace, a fresh sub-section in Tollywood (Check my earlier post MySpace debuts in t2), has't been continued.

Today's edition is all about Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 4, end to end. It covers pages on Dav Whatmore, Gautam Gambhir and Brett Lee's bites, celebrity take on KKR, fan frenzy, KKR quiz.....and two pages on how to dress like Shah Rukh (when he is with KKR) and how the suits for SRK and his KKR men were stiched!! Can you believe it? Wait, there are more. There are two more pages on....hold your breath...Shah Rukh's bowling action and a few of his other moments on-ground (including the jersy-lifting to show the packs on his stomach)!! It almost looks like an advertiser's supplement by KKR. All this is plain nonsense, from the point of view of the universe of t2 readers who are, well, not really obsessed with KKR and look for other things to spice up their day. It is a brainless proclamation of the fact that t2 is the print partner of KKR.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The new year : 1418

Shubho Nababarsho to all the readers of Kolkata Curry.

To the Bengalis and all Bengalis-at-heart : May we become better and more proud Bengalis for the right reasons and inspire our fellow people to be so in 1418.

The changing economy at Barrackpore

I went to watch a movie at Jayanti – a popular single-screen theatre that has been recently converted to a 3-screen multiplex at Barrackpore, my hometown. After buying the ticket, I had some time to kill before the show. I was feeling a little hungry and thought of treating myself to a mutton roll. There are two popular roll joints adjacent to one another at Chiria More, where Jayanti is located. As I reached the first one, called Anil Saha (after the owner’s name), the price of a mutton roll on the price board in front of the joint shocked me. It was Rs 35. I am aware of the rising prices of mutton, but it completely freaked me out. How can people pay Rs 35 for just a mutton roll! It costs far less in Kolkata. And a few rupees added to it, it can buy a plate of chicken fried rice from a decent small joint there.

In hindsight, the realization dawned on me. It is a popular roll joint. Every evening it has customers crowding in front of it. The owner knows the market. Therefore he surely knows how to price his products. I have little doubt that even at that price mutton roll is in high demand at Anil Saha. At the same time, I’m sure a mutton roll is available at a lower price in some of the other popular roll joints in this district town.

Anil Saha is part of the fast-growing snacks and eating out market in Barrackpore, once a sleepy sub-divisional town on the main line of Eastern Railways from Sealdah (on road it is the place where BT Road ends). It has always had an educated population and a good number of people coming to it everyday for education, job and entertainment. It has a number of Bengali and English medium schools and two colleges including Rashtraguru Surendranath College - one of the better colleges in Kolkata’s suburbs, Palta Waterworks is located here and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. is nearby, apart from the sub-divisional administrative building, the sub-divisional criminal court, banks, a head post office and other government offices. It has 4 single-screen theatres apart from Jayanti. All this hints at it’s being a good market for out-of-home food consumption. Some of the food joints are riding the demand curve in such a way that they comfortably started pricing their stuff higher than their city counterparts long back. And thus the price of a plate of mutton biriani at the hugely popular biriani joint ‘Dada Boudir Hotel’ near Barrackpore railway station has touched Rs 100 now, where in New Aliah Hotel, one of the best in Mughlai cuisine in Kolkata it costs Rs 83. A mutton korma (or some similar mutton dish with gravy) costs Rs 130 with just about a moderate quantity of mutton in one of the popular restaurants here, our next door neighbour shared the other day.

Supporting this phenomenon are the real estate prices. A kottah of land near Barrackpore railway station may easily cost Rs 5-6 lac. A local friend, a software engineer by profession, who I met the other day, shared that he was taken aback by the price per square feet (Rs 2000 or more) for an apartment at Genexx Towers, being constructed by a big real estate player from Kolkata at Palta, a place next to Barrackpore, as he went looking for an apartment.

Real estate is growing fast in Barrackpore, with vacant land and old houses fast making space for apartments. Many upper middle class families are eyeing the town for setting up home due to its inherent characteristics – peacefulness (there are hardly incidents of political turbulence / hooliganism, education facilities, good train and road connectivity with city (Local trains starting from Barrackpore go to Sealdah, BBD Bagh – the central business district and south Kolkata). And the corresponding rise in total disposable income of the population is showing in various aspects of living and changing the economic balance.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Run-up to elections 2 : A strange game

The state Housing Minister Goutam Deb seems to be into a strange game. He is repeatedly opening his mouth in support of Majid Master, who has a number of police cases against him (that includes murder and rioting), had been officially 'absconding' till a few days back, yet had accompanied CPI(M) MP Amitava Nandi to the Left Front headquarters for a meeting with none other than the CM, and subsequently arrested following TMC's complaint to the state election office highlighting this incident.

First Goutam said in an election rally this month in south 24 Parganas (where Majid is reportedly a terror and manipulates the elections in CPI(M)'s favour) that Majid had been framed in 'ridiculous' cases. He announced that his party (CPI(M)) was consulting lawyers to get Majid released on bail at the earliest and assured that he was going to get bail and come back to take charge of elections in Deganga and Haroa, his home territory.

The day after the Special Secretary (Home) clarified that the Left Front government would oppose the bail plea for Majid, clearly indicating state government's intentions and embarrassing the party.

However there hasn't been a reprimand to Goutam from his party not to repeat the incident. And he did just what was not called for. He mentioned yet again in an election rally at Duttapukur yesterday that the effort to get Majid released was still on.

There is no reason to believe that Goutam is another rebel like the late Subhas Chakraborty in his party. In fact he is one major face of his party in the ongoing election campaign. The mechanics behind this strange game he is playing is not clear but his statements seem to be intentional and serving the interest of the party in terms of votebank and election machinery (especially Majid's follower base) and maybe have other deeper reasons.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Arsalan delicacies

Loved the 'Special chicken reshmi kebab' and 'Mutton rogan josh' from Arsalan brought in at office. Am yet to try the biriyani of this famous mughlai restaurant at Park Circus that has shot up the popularity chart extraordinarily fast in recent years and is considered among the best by city foodies, besides media recommendations. The reshmi kebab interestingly had a cheese crust! The prices seem to be a little premium compared to its peers like Zeeshan, Shiraj, Rehmania and New Aliah Hotel.

Momo at Barrackpore

Loved the steamed chicken momo at China Cooks at Barrackpore (near rail gate adjacent to Barrackpore station) on Old Calcutta Rd. Had tasted them before too. The momos at this tiny Chinese takeaway joint were juicy, with decent quantity of chicken inside (by roadside standards), served with a generous helping of sauce, and soup. The soup is their USP: It has egg in it and tastes.........(slurp)........delicious. You may get a second serving of soup if you ask for it (Depends on how fast it is exhausted). 6 momos at just Rs 25 - can value-for-money get any better?

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Life in metro : 2

A friend overheard in Kolkata metro:
"Apni?"
"Ami Nazrul."
"Aar dada...apni?"
"Ami Netaji."
"Tahole sore asun, ami Uttam Kumar."

It can't get more hilarious than this when it comes to the Rail Minister's penchant for naming the new metro stations after great sons of the soil, deviating from the practice of naming after the location.

Monday, April 04, 2011

The architect.....and the celebration

The nail-biting finish to the World Cup final on 2nd April was in contrast with the final on 25 June 1983. That evening we saw it coming after Kapil caught Richards incredibly. Finally, thanks to Gautam Gambhir's and Mahi's resolute knocks in a high-pressure situation we rule the cricketing world......after 28 long years.



Couldn't resist posting this picture of Sourav, watching the celebration of India's World Cup triumph at Wankhede stadium on 25th April 2011 from a distance. Didn't anybody remember to call him to join in, like they called Anil Kumble for a photo op? After all he was one of the early architects of today's invincible Team India, someone who took an underperforming XI to the World Cup finals in 2003.

(Photo courtesy: Debasish Sen of 'Extra Time'.)

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Remembering 25 June, 1983 again!



Loved this advertisement by Times of India in today's edition to bring back the memory of 25 June, 1983. I was in standard III then and watched the match in a black & white television in a neighbour's place. India accomplished the unimaginable - beat the mighty West Indies in the World Cup final.

Feeling nostalgic today. The difference is that today it's not unimaginable any more. India is a top cricketing power and can beat any team on earth. Looking forward to Mahi & co. beating Sangakkara and his tough men in today's World Cup final in Mumbai.

Will be finishing work and join the boss and colleagues in the conference room in cheering for Men in Blue in front of the projection of online live streaming of the match the entire nation will be watching 2.30 pm onwards. Over lunch and drinks, for which everyone has pooled in money, to add to the mood. Let's Bleed Blue, as Pepsi urges us to.

For a better view of the advertisement, click on the picture.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

BESU's green initiative

Kolkata Curry cheers to the news of Belur Math and Dakshineshwar Temple going solar (Published in Times of India today). Due credit goes to the newly set up green research centre at Bengal Engineering and Science University (BESU) for taking up the project. It's also heartening to know that Bengal's green energy champion SP Gon Chaudhuri who was the Managing Director of West Bengal Green Energy Development Corporation (WBGEDC) some time back is now the advisor to the state on renewable energy and involved with the project.

These heritage institutions with large campuses, drawing thousands of people regularly, will be showing the way in saving a great deal of conventional energy that can be used to light up other places.

The next on line are two more heritage institutions - Indian Museum and Indian Botanic Garden, Howrah. Kudos to BESU for championing green energy, starting off with public places that matter in terms of scale, at this critical time of global climate change.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

'Makha sandesh' from Bhatpara

Relished the famous 'Makha sandesh' (It is the sandesh in dough form - a distinct variant of the famous Bengali sweetmeat) from Bhatpara, located near Kankinara railway station on the Sealdah main line. It was gifted by our next-door neighbour hailing from that place. Packed in a saal leaf inside the paper box, it was utterly d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s.

I didn't have high regards for sweets from Bhatpara, as my brush thus far was limited to a reddish syrupy sweet (typical of the place) that I had been offered on several occasions and found to be excessively sweet. But I loved the makha sandesh. Shall look forward to more of this delicacy.

A cool Bengali tongue-twister

Kolikatar Kalighater Kalichoron Kormokarer Konishtha Konya Komolkoli Kormokar Kopal Kunchito Koriya Kohilo,'Kalukaka Kalukaka,Kak Keno Ka-Ka Kore'?

Shared by Shreyas Surya Dasgupta, a friend, on his Facebook wall. Couldn't resist sharing this with you, the KC readers.

Do try it if you are game for tongue-twisters. Tongue-twister is a part of Bengali and Indian culture and finds its place in films (A good example would be the picnic sequence in Ray's Shakha Prashakha) to reality shows to good old Bengali adda.

Friday, March 18, 2011

MySpace debuts in t2

Ever since t2 has become 24 pages (from 1st January this year) I've wondered like some others I know if team t2 knew what to do with the additional space. I saw regular sections (like Tollywood, Bollywood et al.) expanded to 2 or more pages to utilise the space. Larger pictures, a signature characteristic of t2, are being seen in higher numbers and more often. Not much of new sections or sub-sections are visible.

So it was pleasant to look at MySpace which debuted as part of the Tollywood section today featuring a close look at Koneenica Banerjee's life at home in Kolkata (She has shifted to Mumbai for greener pastures three years back).

Findings about Koni (as she is referred to in industry circuits)? She is a cleanliness freak, and cleans up her place or put things in order everyday, she loves to Facebook, she can cook and rustle up a machher jhol, one of her favourites, in 5 minutes flat, does pranayam every morning (for the past three years) and...........has put back all the weight she had lost a few years back.

Read MySpace here. Would love to have your comments.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Run-up to elections 1: Two distinct candidates



Amit Mitra, Padmashree, Ex-Secretary General of FICCI, noted ecomoist.

Being fielded by Trinamool Congress (TMC) in the Khardaha constituency for 2011 assembly elections in West Bengal, against Asim Dasgupta, Finance Minister. Looks like a smart move.



Bratya Basu, noted playwright, actor (Play and television), play and film director.

Being fielded by Trinamool Congress in the Dum Dum constituency, against Gautam Deb, Housing Minister. His getting a ticket wasn't unexpected.

If they and their party win, will they become the Finance Minister and Information & Culture Minister respectively?

Monday, March 14, 2011

The mystery is over

Srijit Mukherjee unveiled his new film this month. Finished with the controversial script (Read my earlier post Storm over the mystery pages), he let out that this is a ‘Serial killer-cop drama’ where a group of special branch police officers are investigating a series of murders in the city.

Crime thriller is a less-explored genre in contemporary Bangla cinema. Hence Srijit is spot on in picking the subject of his second venture, curiously named 22shey Srabon, after his immensely successful debut with Autograph. Enriching the film that will show the dark side of Kolkata will be the ensemble cast. Prosenjit will be playing Prabir Guha Neogi (the protagonist), a senior police officer, with a mix of attitude, sense of humour and body language that will make him different from familiar cop characters in Bangla movies (Rahul Bose also played an intelligent senior police officer in Antaheen, but he wasn’t shown much in work). Working with him will be Abhijit Pakrashi, an intelligent, bright, young officer coming from small town Bengal, played by Parambrata Chattopadhyay, and Rajesh Sharma as another interesting cop. Raima Sen and Abir Chatterjee play two characters who happen to be childhood friends, working in a television channel. Raima Sen and Abir Chatterjee will be shown as childhood friends who work in a television channel. Raima plays Amrita- a spirited and tough journalist. Parambrata is her love interest (they will be seen in a relationship again after The Bong Connection in 2007). And Srijit has done no short of a casting coup in bringing back Goutam Ghose before the camera to portray an eccentric poet from the sixties. I still recall his tough nut investigative journalist act long back in Buddhadeb Dasgupta’s Grihajuddha (1982). He last acted in a cameo in a French film called The Wall (1983), so it’s a gap of 28 years before he’s going to face the camera again! Anupam 'Autograph' Roy will be scoring the film which will have five songs, including two romantic songs, and two intense ones “heavily influenced by classical music” as he put it.

A little peek into Prabir Guha Neogi - He lives in an old mansion in north Kolkata, and has a rich, old-fashioned taste. The pride that Srijit has showed in this character was once immortalized by Chhobi Biswas in many films, including Jalsaghar. He is clued into modern technology but prefers gramophone to CD player for listening to his favourite music. Termed ‘mad’ by his department and suspended, he is recalled to solve the murder case. He is arrogant and treats his juniors like slaves, but eventually bonds with them as a father figure as the story progresses. A very, very unconventional and intriguing protagonist, isn’t he?

Am keen to come back on 22shey Srabon, produced by Shree Venkatesh Films. Watch this blog.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Challenge Nibi Na....







Shooting stills of Challenge Nibi Na - the under-production reality show on Bangla television (Re: Earlier post Bangla avatars of national shows) jointly produced by Kaustuv Roy's RP Techvision and Nitesh Sharma's Bangla Talkies, targeted at an adult audience. The show will have celebrities 'fighting' it out in the real sense of the term for the top prize (Rs 10 lakh). As per media reports the fight often got dirty and abusive. The show will be aired on ETV in a few months.

The first photograph shows Silajit in a sack race. And the last shows the men behind-the-scenes including co-producer Nitesh Sharma (First from left) and line producer Saran Dutta (second from left, in specs).

'Memories in March'

.

Loved the promo of debutant Sanjay Nag-directed Memories in March. It's an English film made in Kolkata with Deepti Naval, Rituparno Ghosh and Raima Sen in the cast, under the banner of Shree Venkatesh Films. It's about a mother's discovery of a slice of her son's life (he lives in a different city for work) after his death. The well-made promo gives a peek into this sensitive film that may touch a raw chord. Looking forward to the release on April 1.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Royal Bengal Rahasya

It's news now! Feluda's next - Royal Bengal Rahasya - one of the most thrilling adventures of Feluda - is being produced by Shree Venkatesh Films. Directed by Sandeep Ray of course, starring Sabyasachi Chakraborty as Feluda, Saheb Bhattacharya as Topshe and Bibhu Bhattacharya as Jatayu.

SVF will be the fourth banner producing a Feluda film directed by Sandeep Ray, after D Rama Naidu (Bombaiyer Bombete), T Sarkar Productions (Kailashe Kelenkari and Tintorettor Jishu, after taking over the latter from RD Banshal & Co. under-production) and V3G Films (Gorosthane Sabdhan).

Am sure the SVF stamp will be visible on Royal Bengal Rahasya, from production to the marketing.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A new breakfast option

I lament at the fact that Kolkata does not have a good breakfast market. The options are handful for a breakfast. The main choices are toast (with butter or jelly), omelette and kachuri-alur tarkari.

Was surprised to find this tandoori roti stall that operates in the morning by the flyover at Sealdah (on the road at the right from Jagat cinema end to the station). There were many takers, including some students presumably on way back from their coaching class, relishing the healthy breakfast option. The curries they serve with the over-fresh rotis include tarka, matar paneer, mixed paneer (paneer with veggies) and 1-2 other paneer dishes, alur dum, chana masala and mixed vegetables. And the prices are at market rates of street vendors (Tandoori roti at Rs 2 apiece and half a plate of tarka at Rs 7).

The makeshift stall operates in the evening also, feeding lots of hungry, Sealdah rail station-bound officegoers, and I suppose they are open at lunch hours too. A day's business must be pretty good for the youngsters who man it, as they are strategically located on way to the station. Their success may inspire many others to open up roadside eateries serving tandoori roti right since the morning.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Real women...

.....have curves. And real men truly appreciate that.

And thank you t2 for always celebrating real women, like in todays cover story.

Friday, March 04, 2011

LCD screens at metro

Was happy to learn from a junior colleague that LCD TVs are being installed at metro stations in the city, replacing the old, bulky television sets. Never thought the process would be rolled out so fast. Noticed the other day one LCD TV at Dum Dum station, at the platform where a journey begins, and heard that the other sets there have also been replaced.

The old sets far outlived their lives, and at Dum Dum some of them adopted their own colour themes. So in one set the picture looked green and it looked purple in another. Such was the pathetic state they were in. Now, this new development indeed is far ahead of expectation.

It seems to be a reflection of the large funds sanctioned for Kolkata metro by the new Railways minister, after years of neglect by central government.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Chinese street joint 1

Had lunch from this Chinese joint on RN Mukherjee Rd on 26 February. Run by an old Chinese man, this place offers what every average middle class Bengali identify as the basic Chinese dishes – fried rice, chowmein and chili chicken, along with Vegetable Manchurian. Unlike an average roadside Chinese joint they serve chili dipped vinegar along with chili and tomato sauces (Though not a Chinese sauce, they possibly serve it on popular demand).

I ordered a plate of vegetable fried rice and two pieces of Chili Chicken (they sell it by pieces like an average street joint, reflecting the democratization of this dish that happened more than a decade back) and took two more pieces later. They didn’t spoil the fried rice by adding soya sauce, and the chili chicken had adequate chicken in it, unlike some of the joints where you find little of it inside the thick cornflour crust. The rice was well-cooked with the right vegetables. The chicken was not pungent and the gravy was slightly lighter than its street counterparts. And the prices were as per market rates only (Vegetable fried rice at Rs 14 a plate).

They cater to the lunch market and wrap up by 5 pm. The joint is located at the crossing of Mangoe Lane and RN Mukherjee Rd, at the sidewalk by the old CTC office at 14 RN Mukherjee Rd. Would like to come back.

Life in metro : 1

Given Kolkata’s fast rising preference for the metro as the best mode of mass transport, recently noticed in a big way after the extension from Tollygunge to Garia, the announcement of airconditioned rakes coming in was like a dream. But the experience of service so far has varied from pleasant to below par.

Boarded one such train (There is one, or two at the most now) from Dum Dum, the terminal station, on 26 February on way to work. The AC wasn’t working, and it started feeling hot, and suffocated to some older co-passengers. Some of them remarked that the regular rakes are better and they are happy with them as they allow air flow. Some said that if there was a problem in running the AC, this rake should not be run at office hours. To add to it, the announcement of next station in public address system which is in sync with the LCD display in the compartment was wrong. Some joked at the announcement bit that since it was just after the rail budget day, the Metro staff were probably taking it easy. The airconditioning was started and the announcement (and the display) got corrected at Central station (The 7th station from Dum Dum).

To be fair, I’ve boarded an AC rake a couple of times in the past. The airconditioning works fine, and coupled with the new design, the experience was cool.

As summer approaches, the crowd for AC metro is set to rise a lot this year. It’s high time the snags are rectified, else it can give vent to passenger dissent in a major outburst. Till it is smoothly operated, running the rakes in off-peak hours may not be a bad idea.