Monday, 25 January 2016

"Saptarshi Prakashan Wants to be the Reader's Next-door Neighbour": Saurav

Our CorrespondentKolkata: Saptarshi Prakashan is one of the key Bengali publishing houses in Kolkata now. Though quite younger in age the house is not small in the size of work it has been producing year after year. The quality and diversity of Saptarshi’s book is a primary feature of the organization. Beginning from some path-breaking autobiographical works to modern Bengali poetry Saptarshi is now shaping up the test and attraction of Bengali readership. With more than 600 titles the house is reaching new heights every day.

Recently, WPC got the chance to talk to Saurav Mukhopadhyay, the face of Saptarshi Prakashan, just ahead of the International Kolkata Book Fair, 2016. He opened up and talked about their latest ventures. Mukhopadhyay's indomitable spirit and passion for books reflected in his words as always. 

Lets listen to him. 

Friday, 22 January 2016

Emagazine to Celebrate Feluda at 50

Prabuddha NeogiKolkata: In perhaps the first ever kind of a venture, a handful of Feluda enthusiasts have come out with an emagazine to celebrate the fictional detective’s 50th anniversary of appearing in print. Soumitra Chattopadhyay, who immortalised Feluda on celluloid in Sonar Kella and Joy Baba Felunath, and his successor Sabyasachi Chakraborty, has written in the magazine. Siddhartha Chatterjee—Topse in the first two films—has also contributed to the magazine.

Check the full story in the video below.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Manindra's Annual Programme on Sunday

Our CorrespondentKolkata: Manindra Sangeet Tirtha, a leading music school of the city, will be organising its 45th annual programme on 17 January at Rotary Sadan. It will include group and solo performances by students of the institution.  Koushik Bhattacharjee, who presently heads the school, will perform a variety of ragas. Other eminent Indian classical musicians are also slated to perform in the programme. 

The institute has been furthering the cause of music for many decades now, ever since it was set up in 1970 by Pataki Bhattacharjee, in the memory of Koushik’s grandfather Manindranath Bhattacharjee, who was a renowned dhrupad singer of his times. 

A Rocking Sunday at Abar Baithak with Mainam

Our CorrespondentKolkata: The renowned musicians Surajit, Arkopravo and Sougata have come together to form Mainam, a band constantly experimenting with excellence. Café Abar Baithak with the similar habit of experimenting with the trade of hosting programmes has given Mainam a chance to perform its heart out on 10 January morning.

Mainam  is known for folk and country music but it’s not much behind in originality. Another specialty of the band is Spanish songs. They performed popular Spanish numbers like Baila Me (Gypsy King), Luna (Juanes), Corazon Espinado (Santana), Lambada (Kaoma) and Ei Mariachi (Los Lobos).

Sharing the experience of performing at this particular venue, Surajit said, performance at Abar Baithak means more than just a programme. He liked the way people here interact with live performers during shows. Thus it turns into an ‘adda’, he added.

Coming from diverse background the three members of Mainam are looking forward to introduce their listeners with the band's original Bengali numbers. They are planning another live performance at Abar Baithak on 21 February. That would feature popular Bengali numbers like Opekshay, Brishti, Kotha Theke Ashey Chole etc.    

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Little Magazine Fair Enters Fourthday Today

Our CorrespondentKolkata: The Eighteenth Little Magazine Fair and Literary Festival, organized by the Paschimbanga Bangla Academy in association with the Information and Cultural Affairs Department of the Government of West Bengal, has kicked off through a brief inaugural ceremony at the Nandan-Rabindrasadan complex on 11 January. Minister of Education of the state Partha Chatterjee, along with veteran writer Atin Bandyopadhyay have formally inaugurate the fair this year.

Aditya Mandi, Uday Thulung were present at the occasion as the hounourable guests. President of the Academy Shaoli Mitra and other dignitaries like poet Joy Goswami etc were also there to embrace the occasion with joy. It all began with a fakiri song performed by renowned artist Golam Fakir. 

This year the fair is accommodating nearly 400 stalls to various little magazines, coming from not only Kolkata and suburb but also from remote corners of the state. Over 300 poets and writers are participating in several literary sessions in this six-day event. Awards for literary excellence have been also given away to 11 writers and poets and couple of little magazines and one editor. Lectures by famous faces like Nirsimha Prasad Bhaduri, Hiran Mitra and Suman Chattopadhyay have been also delivered regularly.

Stall owners are quite happy with the overall arrangement and they say that they are doing reasonably good business this year. Most of them also thanked the organisers for arranging cultural programmes every evening. Famous artists like Rezwana Chaudhury Bannya and Golam Fakir and Bengali band Lakkhichara have been performing live there.

Apart from celebrating and promoting new talents through little magazines the fair also spreads the message of true friendship and harmony. Amid this intolerant air the fair hopes to bring a sense of life and peacefulness everywhere.              

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Saptarshi Prakashan and WPC Celebrating New Friendship

Aitrayee Sarkar Kolkata: Saptarshi Prakashan , one of the leading Bengali publishing houses in Kolkata now, has been redefining book-making for last one 16 years. Two young minds Saurav Mukhopadhyay and Swati Roychowdhury had come together with a dream of enabling the vivid book-making industry of College Street, famously called Boipara, to read books the way they wanted to read. At the beginning of 2000 Saptarshi came up with its maiden venture Sumaner Gaan Sumaner Bhasya, a book penned by famous singer and song writer Kabir Suman. Within no time they started to rule the rules of the game thanks to the generous people involved with book-making in Boipara. Soon the cacophony of book-vendors turned into a voice for Saptarshi itself.

Digital announcement of the association in Bengali poster

Now with more than 600 odd titles, including some key publications in English, Saptarshi is showing a new path to the young aspirant publishers. Many still come and seek guidance from Saptarshi authority on how to go about their own ventures. Both Mukhopadhyay and Roychowdhury have been offering impetus to many such young talents. Poets, writers and aspiring publishers often come and spend hours in adda in Saptarshi Prakashan’s office in College Street. Such addas pay dividend with ideas of new book.

Saptarshi Prakashan and WPC tie-up from 1 January is outcome of one of such addas only. WPC has been working as the media partner of Saptarshi now, which itself is a privilege. This is perhaps the first long-term media partnership opted by a professional Bengali publishing house in Boipara. It’s a path breaking initiative in that term. This shows that Saptarshi is yet again opening a new door in Bengali book publishing world.

The friendship has begun in a merry way and would continue to prosper in days to come. Together we are specially promoting 12 brand new titles which would surely reach new heights soon. 

Watch the video for more.   


Prasun Bhaumik's Hindu School Launched at Press Club

Our CorrespondentKolkata: Hindu School (Saptarshi Prakashan), a collection of poems by one of the leading Bengali poets and social activist Prasun Bhaumik was formally launched at the Kolkata Press Club on 9 January.  Dignitaries like Joy Goswami, Alok Ranjan Dasgupta,  Shyamal Kanti Das Tridib Chatterjee, Siddharta Gupta, Avik Majumdar and Saurav Mukhopadhya were present at the book launch.

Unwrapping the book Joy Goswami threw light at the earlier works of Bhaumik. He said the Hindu school was an integral part of the Bengal Renaissance. From Derozio to other important activist of Renaissance was the student of Hindu school, Goswami added. Alok Ranjan Dasgupta on this occasion described Bhaumik as an activist poet.

The collection of poems in this book named and dedicated to the Hindu school and reminded every matured person about their good old school days.

Hindu School, Kolkata, is housed in an elegant 19th century building at College Street, the hub of intellectual activities of the city. Hindu School has a very rich history starting with its inception on January 20th, 1817, as part of Hindu College. It is one of the oldest existing schools in India. Hindu School is undoubtedly one of the major cornerstones in the history of institutional education in Bengal. Established by Raja Ram Mohan Roy, David Hare, Radhakanta Deb among others, it stands as a symbol of the great renaissance that swept across Bengal during the eighteenth and nineteenth century. Bhaumik’s book is a gift to celebrate the 200 anniversary of this great institution.

Monday, 11 January 2016

In Search of Bengal's Nectar

gur, date palm juicePrabuddha NeogiAsansol:  Gur, or jaggery according to the English dictionary, is a winter delicacy in India. While in the rest of the country it is usually made from sugarcane, in Bengal, it is made from the juice extracted from khejur gachh (date palm trees). Rampant urbanisation has led to a gradual decline in the number of trees over the years. Pest attacks are also common. Termites, especially, have caused much damage. With no reforestation activity, the art of making patali, the cake form of gur, may soon become extinct, and another Bengal heritage will be lost. 

Earthen pots tied to the trees to collect the date palm juice are brought down at around 3.30 in the morning. What follows, is a delicate process of converting the juice to jhola gur and then patali. Those involved in the making do it with almost arithmetic precision. WPC decided to check out first-hand.

Friday, 8 January 2016

'The Crowd at Abaar Baithak is Completely Mesmerising’: Timir

Our CorrespondentKolkata: The lead vocalist of Fakira Timir said that cafe Abar Baithak can be more popularly called only Baithak only. He further said that in their last show at the same venue on 3 January, they have performed many numbers from their album Itorpona. The numbers included Bhromor, Paal tule de, title track of the album, and many others.

Apart from some regular songs the band also performed some unusual numbers. Appreciating the crowd at Abaar Baithak, Timir said the crowd gathered at the café was really fantastic and have provided them more zeal and encouraged them to sing more acoustic version of songs and was completely mesmerized.

Thanking the cafe authority, Timir said that Abaar Baithak has eventually emerged as a major hub of art and culture of Kolkata. 

Friday, 1 January 2016

Oxford Bookstore Releases Ghoti Kahini by Partha Bandyopadhyay

Our CorrespondentKolkata: Oxford Bookstore conducted the launch of the book ‘Ghoti Kahini’ (Ravan Prakashan) written by Partha Bandyopadhyay on 29 December evening. Dignitaries like Minister of Tourism and theatre personality Bratya Basu, musician Debojyoti Mishra and Managing Director of Patrabharati publication Tridip Chatterjee.
The book encapsulates the lifestyle of a ‘Ghoti’, Bengalis originating from West Bengal contrary to ‘Bangal’, the Bengalis from East Bengal and the impact of its cultural differences on the political system of our country in the sixties.

It also describes a typical chronicle of a Ghoti, in contrary of culture, vocabulary, habits with that of the Bengalis from East Bengal. The book finds its inspiration from ‘Bangalnama’ a famous memoire by late historian Tapan Roychowdhury, which portrayed the writer’s ‘Bangal’ origin in his works.

Partha Bandyopadhyay, sketched his own upbringing from an unknown North Kolkata contextual. The author spent initial half of his life in North Kolkata. He has specialization particularly on the right of immigrants and labour union.

From the very childhood, due to his family’s political affinity on right wing politics, Bandyopadhyay was an active political worker and has spent about fifteen good years closely with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangha (RSS) and Bharatiya Janata Party. Later on, due to ideological difference, he left them and condemned them.

In 1985, after teaching biology at a remote, rural college in West Bengal for four years, Bandyopadhyay left for USA to pursue a Ph.D. in biological sciences. He earned his second Masters degree from Illinois State University, and then went on to earn his doctorate degree in plant biology from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. In 1992, he earned his Ph.D with a dissertation research award, and started working as a postdoctoral research scientist with the state system in Albany, New York.

In 1999, Dr. Banerjee quit his science career, and moved to New York City to pursue his third Masters degree, this time from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. He received a prestigious Sevellon Brown award for his understanding of American media and ethics. He also received a Scripps-Howard fellowship to travel with a group of fellow students to Israel, Palestine and Jordan, to report on religions of that region.

In this book the author talks about the anonymous right wing footage in West Bengal and his association with the political party in the early sixties. He also wrote about his exposure to typical civic society of West Bengal followed by its culture, education, love, abhorrence, disgrace observed and experienced by a young protagonist from North Kolkata who tried to correlate with his own further journey headed for other side of the globe after three decades. He tried in this book to find the meaning of life or no life, the book represents the odyssey of confusion and clarity, something different from Bengali’s typical habit of interpretation of accustomed memoire.

A High-Five From Arko

Our CorrespondentKolkata: Arko Mukhaerjee’s latest album 5 was recently released in the city amidst much enthusiasm. The event at Abaar Baithak drew a sizeable crowd from all parts of Kolkata who swarmed the venue to listen live to Mukhaerjee who is already beginning to stamp his presence on the city’s musicscape. 

5 is the singer’s fifth studio album. He is best known for the hugely popular Jodi Akasher Gaye Kaan Na Pati in Srijit Mukherji’s Nirbaak and Maula in Anjan Dutt’s Madly Bangalee.

About the album, Mukhaerjee said: “It is all about exploring folk forms that have inspired traditional Bengali music over the last five decades, through five musical collaborations and presenting the songs in a modern contemporary organic soundscape of today.” 

The album has 10 tracks where the singer has collaborated with five world musicians, forming five musical duos that include the likes of French musician Yann Beaujouan, Anna Tanvir from Ireland on the harp, and Ritoban Das on Indian percussion. The album involves the use of folk instruments from different parts of the world. Other instruments used in the album include the rabab, dotara (the traditional Bengali lute), the nylon string guitar and mixed Afro-Cuban percussions, the dubki (a tribal Bengali hand drum), ukulele, the banjolele and the traditional bluegrass mandolin. 

Mukhaerjee has experimented with traditional folk songs like Chol Mini as well as popular Jasimuddin and Rabindranath Tagore compositions. His Paal Uraiya De is already a chartbuster and the live gig of the track called for an encore from the audience.