Our Correspondent ● Kolkata: Kalkatta, a novel by Kunal Basu was launched at the Calcutta Club on Sunday (29 November). In conversation with ace director Sandip Ray, the author of the novel Kunal Basu said that dark and gritty, Kalkatta is a powerful city novel about identity and belonging.
Throwing more light to the novel the author said that the name of the protagonist of his novel is Jami, who is a gigolo king of Kolkata. Smuggled into India from Bangladesh and given refuge by his uncle, a leader of the ruling Communist Party. He grows up in Zakaria Street dreaming of becoming a pakka Kalkatta- wallah. When his association with his gang disqualifies him from his school, he ends up as an assistant to a passport forger, and then a masseur. Soon enough Kolkata opens its doors drawing Jami into the world of rich and famous, housewives, tourists and traveling executives, and occasionally to the high paying and dangerous parties.
Jami’s shadowy double life takes a turn for the unexpected when he meets Pablo, a young boy who suffers from leukemia, and his single mother Mandira. Made to oscillate between his refugee family, the neighborhood gang, his massage parlor clients and even the cultured world of Bengali intellectuals inhabited by Mandira, he succeeds in becoming a true Kalkatta- wallah, but a stranger to himself. Until his love for Pablo threatens to destroy everything, and drive him away even from his beloved Kalkatta.