The flavour of Kolkata

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

Sunday, May 15, 2011

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.