I was in Kolkata recently for few days and that was the first occasion where I spent more than 2 nights in the city of joy. Out of the busy schedule, I managed to get a small plot for my blog and I called it ‘essence of Kolkata’.
I must say I haven’t read more than few works here and there by this Nobel laureate. But a translated version of one of his poem hanging on the wall of the guest house where I was staying caught my attention and I took a picture of the same. The poem is titled as ‘A Strange Dream’ – a dream where he saw the Kolkata city or Calcutta as it was called then was moving towards something. A change. A shift. Trying to match up with the North.
But it was a dream and Calcutta remained Calcutta for decades. However, as I took the bypass from the airport to New Alipur, I saw the changing landscape of Kolkata. Metro constructions, Gurgaon like township, four-lane roads. Very few people with whom I had a chance to interact praised the current government for such developments. Nothing is too late, I thought.
Step into the world of Stardom in 6 months. That’s what the flyer said, which came out when I picked the Telegraph. An invitation to learn acting to step into the famous Tollywood.
Satyajit Ray, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Manna De, R D Burman, Bappi Lahiri, Mithun Chackraborty, Victor Banerjee, Sharmila Tagore, Suchitra Sen, Jaya Bhaduri, Monmoon Sen – this industry has given us many more such personalities. The history of cinema in Bengal dates back to the 1890s when the first “bioscopes” were shown in theatres in Calcutta. Almost all newspapers and magazines in Assam carry news and stories from this world. But the day I moved to Delhi, I got disconnected from all of it.
The advertisement reminded me that Tollywood is very much alive. I saw more of Bengali movie posters in Kolkata streets than that of Bollywood. I picked up the Sunday supplementary and found a story where a reputed actor is complaining about remuneration. According to him, remuneration cannot be compromised with awards. 6 months may be enough to learn acting but struggle continues for lifetime – the advertisement was silent on that part.
A Football Match
When I turned the TV on and found Chelsea Vs Sunderland live, I decided to leave everything aside and watch that game. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Kolkata is one place which is known for its love for football.
The match was quite interesting and one of the most aggressive play in EPL I have watched this season. Unfortunately for Chelsea, they lost that match. Lead by their goalkeeper, Sunderland has demonstrated their best defense. The defeat also signals the end of Jose Mourinho’s unbeaten run at Stamford Bridge – a record that had stood since 2004 and for 77 Premier League matches. The lost was a gain for my favorite Liverpool. When I picked up the Telegraph the next day morning, I have realized that an another premier league is going on in our own land called I-League. FC Bangaluru was topping the list as per then point tally followed by East Bengal. Mohun Bagan, one of the popular and old club was hanging at 8th place – much like Manchester United in EPL. I would have loved to discuss more about it in Kolkata but as I was there to attend a wedding, everyone around me was in a different mood.
I was excited about this wedding. More than anything else, I was excited because I knew I was going to witness a Bengali wedding for the first time. The fact that the groom was from a Sikh family gave me an another opportunity to attend the small ceremony at a local Gurudwara on the same day. A family re-union, culture of two distinct groups, varieties of food and lots of travel – for me it was like acting in the movie called ‘2 States’.