The flavour of Kolkata

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

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Pijush Ganguly bids adieu

(Image sourced from Facebook)
It was sad to note that he met with a road accident and was admitted to a hospital with critical injuries at the time the Puja revelry just began. I had a soft corner for this actor and I don’t really know why, other than that he was a good actor.  Maybe it was for his endearing smile with a childlike simplicity.

I felt low to read in the newspaper last Sunday morning that he was critical and put on ventilation. I hadn’t watched television that day, so I wasn’t aware that he had already passed away. It was shocking to learn about it at night on Facebook.

I met Pijush Ganguly only once, in 2005 or so, during an event where I was managing a brand promotion activity. It was organized by a television channel and like many other television actors present, I invited him to our stall and gave away a gift hamper. And I saw that smile! Later when I introduced one of the cousins of my wife to him, whose pet name happened to be his first name, he exclaimed, “Oh, Pijush is your pet name! What’s your good name then?”

I was fond of his acting. I have always felt he was an underrated actor. Like many of us recollect now, I too remember him from his first Bengali serial Abar Jawkher Dhon, based on the famous adventure novel by Hemendra Kumar Roy ages back. Autograph, which is a milestone in contemporary Bangla cinema, opened with him, talking over phone. And that scene was memorable, reflecting upon the present scenario of the industry. He was good in a small role in the film (that of the superstar’s personal secretary). I liked him in Bomkesh Bakshi too (the first one in Anjan Dutta's series starring Abir). I sincerely feel he could’ve been seen in more challenging roles and I’m sure he would have made a space for himself on big screen like some of his contemporaries from the small screen have done.

As director Atanu Ghosh recollects on Facebook, he used to be happy like a child if his shot was good, but looked dispirited the whole day if he thought it wasn’t precisely what the director wanted, even if Atanu kept telling him that it was not bad. He would keep saying that he couldn’t give it exactly the way he (the director) wanted. This quality is rare in today's actors! I read in an interview by Dimple Kapadia that dissatisfaction was the hallmark of a great actor. And he lived with this dissatisfaction.

Pratim D Gupta, film critic-turned-director, noted on the same site that he was one of the nicest guys he knew in the industry, and probably for that he was taken away by destiny at the age of fifty.

Will miss you Pijush Ganguly. The only way I can console myself is that your smile will stay with me.

#PijushGanguly #Bengalicinema #Bengaliactor #Kolkataactor

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Monday, October 26, 2015

Durga Puja vignettes 2015 I

Durga Puja, commonly known as Puja, or more colloquially, ‘Pujo’, is symbolized by a mixed bag of elements to the Bengali. Here are some of them from this year in images.

New clothes for going out:

Siblings in new clothes with grandfather on a puja visit

Serial hoardings:

This is a favourite form of promotion for advertisers during Puja

This one has a message for pandal hoppers

The art of the theme pandals/ USP of pandals:

Tridhara Sammilani, south Kolkata. Based on Indian doll theme.

Tridhara Sammilani

Hedua, north Kolkata. Built with jhuri (Cane baskets).

The recreation of well-known buildings of India (Including religious ones) in pandals:

A temple of Nepal recreated in the pandal in Kumartuli Park, north Kolkata

A marble temple recreated as the pandal in Sreebhumi Sporting Club puja

The marble temple in Sreebhumi Sporting Club puja

Sreebhumi Sporting Club

Wall art in pandals:

Threadwork at a Lake Town pandal

Threadwork at the same pandal

Madhubani painting in Kankurgachhi Mitali

Gamchha craft in Rammohan Smriti Sangha, Manicktala

A Sukumar Ray poem with illustration in Pragati Sangha, Barrackpore

And of course, at the core, the idols of goddess Durga and her children:

The traditional form:


The modern form (A personal favourite):

BK Pal Park. The best idol I've seen this year (Though not the ideal one).

And the postmodern form (Thanks to the theme pujas):

 Kankurgachhi Mitali

Eating bhog (Prasad):

Bhog being distributed to a longish queue at Kankurgachhi Mitali

The bhog, one of the key attractions of Puja to many. I can skip a meal for this.

The queue before restaurants:

The new and sophisticated restaurant of the famous biriyani joint Dada Boudi, Barrackpore

To be continued…

#KolkataPujo #DurgaPujaKolkata #PandalArt

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Monday, October 12, 2015

The starry dinner at Yauatcha

Team Rajkahini turned up at Yauatcha as it hosted a special dinner for the film's cast & crew as October began. Director Srijit Mukherji, Begum Jaan Rituparna and her gang of women in the film- Sudipta Chakraborty, Parno Mitra, Sohini Sarkar, Priyanka Sarkar, Sayoni Ghosh, Ena Saha, and Rajatava Dutta and some crew members were in attendance.

The Begum Jaan of Rajkahini enjoying herself

Ena Saha

Parno Mitra

Groupfie time- Priyanka, Sayoni, Sohini (Right to left)

Yauatcha paid its tribute to the film by creating the Rajkahini platter with macarons and edible fondue art.

An 'Agomoni Pujo Platter' (Non-veg) was also created with customised dimsums like Chicken Char Sui Buns, Edemame dumplings and a symbolical 'podochinho' for team Rajkahini, which the guests loved. You can have this at the restaurant from 18th October till the end of the month at Rs 495 .

 The Pujo platter (Non-veg)

Sohini got a surprise as there came a Raspberry Delice cake specially made to celebrate her birthday.

Rajkahini cast & crew

#Yauatcha #Rajkhini #YauatchaPujoPlatter #Rajkahinidinner

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Saturday, October 10, 2015

The little ‘Pujo’ gem from Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury

The quintessential ‘Bonedi barir pujo’ (The pujo in old, aristocrat Bengali households), a humane story of a family that touches the heart, competent casting (including the brilliant Ananya Chattopadhyay apart from an impressive Monali Thakur), backed by wonderful work by a crew with established names…………and last but not the least, a masterly brand integration in this 15-minute gem of a Pujo special short film by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, called Devi (The goddess). Just to add, it has music by Anupam, lyrics by Srijato and background score by Raja Narayan Deb. I found nothing better than this in the build-up to Pujo. Check it out! 

And if Sujoy’s Ghosh’s Ahalya inspired this in any way, I am hungry for more such little gems.

#Pujo2015 #Pujoshortfilm  #Devitheshortfilm #AniruddhaRoyChowdhury

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Thursday, October 08, 2015

The launch of Studio- the pan-Asian gallery at Novotel

Novotel at New Town (opposite Axis Mall) recently launched their specialty food & beverage outlet- Studio- the pan-Asian Gallery. It claims to be the first of its kind to offer live kitchens, live music, flamboyant cocktails and a wide array of food courses and desserts to the city.

Studio aspires to be the right hangout and dining place for the trendiest crowds. The evenings are designed to enthrall, amuse and excite the gourmand as well as the seasoned clubber. A show kitchen, private dining area, a well-designed bar, a permanent DJ console and poolside view complete the experience. It is geared to host food festivals, fashion shows and jazz evenings on a regular basis which are going to give it its USP as a ‘Gourmet theatre’. The menu has tapas-style mini eats and fusion cocktails on one side, and sushi and sashimi for the gourmand. It also promises to keep the well-traveled vegetarians of the city happy with a delectable range.

 I liked the seating by the glass wall overlooking the pool and the unique prismatic design of the show kitchen.

The kitchen

It was launched with a fashion show called Studio Charme on 26th September which I attended on invitation. The show presented the new apparel lines by three fashion designers from Lakme Fashion Week and Vogue India Fashion- Rimi Nayak, Amalraj Sengupta and Sayantan Sarkar with models form the city. The models walked on the floor from one end to the other with lights and musical set-up like any good fashion show and gave a taste of many more such shows to come which will integrate itself with the dining and drinking experience.

The pulsating music was created by DJ Smoke Signal which was masterly complimented by Frenchman Maarten Visser live on the saxophone. Maarten, to me, was the most pleasing experience of that evening.
DJ Smoke Signal 

Frenchman Maarten Visser

Finger foods were circulated frequently among the guests. Among them were Steamed Water Chestnut n Chives Dumpling, chicken dumpling, Lamb Satay with Grilled Pineapple and Asian Chicken Spring Roll with Glass Noodles. I liked the chicken dumpling.

Welcome drink- Mojito 

Chicken spring roll

#Kolkatafood #Kolkatarestaurants #Novotel #Studiotherestobar #NewTownrestaurants #Poolsiderestaurant

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