Interviews, Features, Events, Bengali & Indian Performing Arts & Artist Reviews

Sumantra | Belghoria Shankhamala

Kolkata, India, June 25, 2010 (Washington Bangla Radio) There was a time when recitation was confined to the solo regimentation of the artist. But Sumantra thought otherwise. The rhythm of poetry brings more joy if shared with others. So, 23rd July, 1989, saw the birth of "SANKHAMALA".

Now everything changes fast as years rolled on, Sumantra with the passage of time passed out of the school portals, obtaining marks of distinction and acquitting creditably very well in being able to occupy enviable 1 st and 2nd rank among the contestant competitors in recitation. He made a long stride in pursuit of higher studies of college in the face of galaxy of stumbling blocks which could have handicapped any boy of mediocrity and he qualified ably himself as an Honors graduate in the teeth of baffling financial circumstances and obtained with confidence a good Masters Degree from Calcutta University.

Sumantra began gradually to come to limelight to make a mark in a mile-stone of steady progress towards the goal, the height of glory. The elegant lustre of his meteoric rise at the pinnacle of name and fame, can be traced to the sight of packed house, listening, being spellbound with undivided at( tention. When Sumantra's maiden solo appearance named as "Sisir-a Sumantra" at the adorned stage of 'Sisir Mancha' which was colourfully designed by the great wizard and colossus in the world of magic spell of light Sri Tapas Sen possessing an international fame all the world over, to recite in full throated voice exclusively from memory for three consecutive hours, was really a marvelously spectacular to see Sumantra manifesting himself fully with all glare in the year of 1999 in the month of December.

A rare cherished occasion which awaited blissfully Sumantra in the arena of elocution, was availed of at an oppourtune moment that he accomplished with buoyant zeal and splendidly as a singularly lone reciter consecutively for three hours at the illustriously reputed auditorium of 'Shantiniketan' entitled 'Natya Ghar' apparently reminiscent of Rabindra Nath's glory and great fame as an actor in 'Valmiki Prativa' before the adorned audience comprising a galaxy of vishavarati varsity teachers and professors, eminent sculptors and painters and Visha-Varati varsity personal.

The old proverb, 'running thus like nothing succeed like success' is evidently belied at the sight of revelation of spectacularly outstanding performance in terms of cassettes entitled "Ami Ki Rokom Vabe Benche Achi" coming to light on 14th February in 2001, was adjudged on the merit of intrinsic calibre and grit as the best of the stupendously excellent performance of the contestant elocutors and reciters of eminence in the whole of West Bengal on the occasion of "Bangla Sangeet Cholochitra Samman".

Into the Radio's future with IRA - Wifi Internet Radio Adapter

Do you have wireless Internet? Do you want to get FREE music, sports, and news from around the world? Tired of confusing terminology and confusing features? Meet Ira – The Internet Radio Adapter that connects automatically to any wireless internet network. Extra features were intentionally removed so you can quickly listen to free music, sports, and news, without the extra hassles. Just take it out of the box, plug it in, connect it to your home stereo or boombox and use it. Automatically sets up in about three minutes and doesn't need a computer. All cables included. Ira has over 11,000 stations from just about every country in the world. Filter by location or genre to find new stations in under 30 seconds. Listen to Washington Bangla Radio or your favorite local channels in CD like quality. Includes On Demand Podcast programming for many stations so you can listen to your favorite shows when you want. Includes a one-touch “STAR” button to store up to 40 of your favorite stations.

Available online for order here >

  • Internet Radio Adaptor that connects automatically to any wireless internet network in about 3 minutes without the need of a computer
  • Listen to Washington Bangla Radio or your favorite local channels in CD like quality.
  • Ira features over 11,000 stations from just about every country in the world. Filter by location or genre to find new stations in under 30 seconds
  • Includes On Demand Podcast programming for many stations so you can listen to your favorite shows when you want.
  • One-touch STAR button to store up to 40 of your favorite stations. Remembers your favorites even if it is unplugged or in case of power loss.

Cybersherrif writes, "We live in a fairly rural area. Strong/clear radio signals are hard to come by. Initially, we had access to free XM internet radio since we had previously purchased a "lifetime" subscription to XM satellite radio. Then beginning in March 2009 we were told we'd need to start paying $3/month to continue XM internet radio access. Seems this fee was waived if you had any level of service less than "lifetime". It was a case of the more you paid XM; the less you got. So we bought a MYINE. It's easy to set up, you don't need a computer, has access to thousands of music/talk stations around the globe and if you hook it up to an FM transmitter as we did, you can wirelessly broadcast and receive the transmission on any FM radio you possess. So now we don't need XM radio and have terrific music service as well."

Hangover (2010) Bengali Film Review by Aditya Chakrabarty

Hangover Bengali movie poster

Kolkata, June 23, 2010 (Washington Bangla Radio)

'BEWARE'! A new virus is coming to town. If you are over 40, it sure will affect you. Stay away from it! This was one of the posters of Hangover when the makers of the film were just starting to publicize the film.

Hangover is a delightful comedy from someone like Prabhat Roy which is bit of a surprise.Samaresh is a successful businessman who has crossed 40 and just can’t stay from young women and if they are scantily dressed, then nothing like it. His wife is fed up of his philandering ways and decides to teach him a lesson. She pretends to go around with Rajiv, the Executive Director of Samaresh’s company .Samaresh sets a private eye after his wife, but later apologizes when he comes to know the truth. By this time his wife has left him. She is requested to go back by Rajiv and Mili.They go to his office only to discover that he has gone to Mondarmoni and is up to his old tricks. His wife decides to teach him a lesson whereby she becomes the Chairman and he becomes her P.A, but he is unable to change himself.

Prasenjit as Samaresh, the pot bellied 40 year old man who has a thing for young girls is excellent. One doubts if anyone else could have carried off the role as well as him i.e. any of his contemporaries. The newcomers Joy Mukherjee and Sayantika are good as is Subhasish Mukherjee as Bangshi.Subhra Kundu’s the producer’s wife again shows us she can’t act. Though she has been credited as a newcomer, the fact is this is her second film after Mon Niye which released quite a few months .This film must have been stuck for a while. This is one of the better entertainers of recent times.Rose Valley has gone all out to promote their brand in every possible way and even the outdoor shooting at Mondarmoni has been shot at their resort over there.In this film you even see Prasenjit flying like Batman in complete attire with a mask and the works! In one particular song in the film, all the actors and actresses of Tollywood are seen together to show unity.Bappi Lahiri also appears as himself and also sung the title song. His son in fact makes his debut as the music director and has done a good job. The songs are not bad at all.

Well if you are over 40, like young girls, yet you are absolutely harmless like Samaresh, well you might want to get affected with a virus called Samaresh.It is not a harmful virus at all and might brighten and spice up your life a bit.

HANGOVER - latest Bengali movie review by Nilanjann Nandy.

"HANGOVER" -  too many pegs for the tent!!

Meghe Dhaka Tara (Bengali, 1960) - Celebrating 50 years of the Ritwik Ghatak classic film | A Tribute by Arin Paul

Meghe Dhaka Tara Ritwick Ghatak 50 years Collage By ARIN PAUL

[Editor's Note: The Complete Ritwik Ghatak Bengali Movie DVD Collection Box Set has now been released in North America (USA/Canada). The collector's boxed set includes all 8 films by Ritwik Ghatak - Nagarik (The Citizen-1952), Ajantrik (Pathetic Fallacy-1958), Bari Theke Paliye (Runaway-1959), Meghe Dhaka Tara (The Cloud Capped Star-1960), Komal Gandhar (1961), Subarnarekha (The Golden Line-1962), Titas Ekti Nadir Naam (A River Named Titas-1973), Jukti Takko aar gappo (Arguments and a Story-1974). Click here to order online.]

Meghe Dhaka Tara – Celebrating 50 years

by arin paul

Meghe Dhaka Tara (1960) - Trailer

In one of his last interviews Ritwik Ghatak had said when asked Why does he make films, Why films? Because I am totally crazy. I can not live without making films. Must not we do something? So I make these films. No other reason really.”

Well, one of the greatest films of Indian Cinema was hence given life by the Man, who had to do something. Meghe Dhaka Tara (The Cloud-Capped Star) was made and released on 14th April, 1960. And this year (2010) we celebrate the 50th Year of The Classic.

Meghe Dhaka Tara written by Ritwik Ghatak (scenario) and Shaktipada Rajguru (story) starred Supriya Choudhury, Anil Chatterjee, Niranjan Ray, Gita Ghatak, Bijon Bhattacharya, Gita Dey, Dwiju Bhawal, Gyanesh Mukherjee, Ranen Roy Choudhury and Others. Cinematography by Dinen Gupta, Music by Jyotirindra Moitra & Ustad Bahadur Khan and Edited by Ramesh Joshi.

Ritwik Ghatak had said, “The title 'Meghe Dhaka Tara' was given by me, original story was published in a popular newspaper by the name of 'Chenamukh'. Something in this story stirred me. And that is why Shakespeare’s 'The Cloud Capped Star' struck my mind and I decided to pen a new script all together. It could be a bit sentimental, but to throw overtones out of it came to mind gradually. Here I made use of Indian mythology which is a part of my life. 'MegheDhaka Tara' expressed my thoughts.”

The film is about Neeta (Supriya Choudhury) and her brother (Anil Chatterjee). Their family were refugees and lived in the suburbs of Calcutta. Self-sacrificing Neeta would always be exploited by everyone including her family. The only person to take care of her was her brother. Her scream at the end of the film, “Dada Aami Bachte Chai (Brother, I Want To Live)” is one of the most dramatic and remembered scene from the Classic.

An interesting info is that Ritwik Ghatak wanted Ruma Guha Thakurta to play the lead character but she couldn’t as she was busy shooting for Rajen Tarafdar’s film Ganga.

Supriya Choudhury had said, “One thing I felt that there wasn't anything false in Ritwik Da. He was very normal. Then practically I had no idea about film. Didn't know much about acting, yet kept on acting--five-ten films... I guess I learnt acting in the true sense from him... Ritwik Da's sensibility is a big plus point of this film.”

Wikipedia mentions, “The film is perhaps the most widely viewed film among Ghatak's works; it was his greatest commercial success at home, and coincided with an international film movement towards personal stories and innovative techniques.”

The film is unforgettable. The music and songs were very soothing be it “Majhi Tor Naam Janina” or “Laagi Lagan” or “Jai Mata” or “ Je Raate Mor Duar Guli” or “Karim Naam Tero”.

Dinen Gupta had said, “For the music, all credit goes to Ritwik Ghatak. Bahadur Khan played, A.T.Kanon sang, but he got the best out of them... The speciality of Riwik Babu -- everything was in his mind, nothing in the script... There was dimensional surprise, improvisation. But what he would want was clear.”

The opening shot of the film is one of the best shots of all times, where a big tree is seen in a wide frame.

Anil Chatterjee remembered, “During 'Meghe Dhaka Tara', Ritwik Da used to say that the producers were trying to get a 'commercial film' by of him... There wasn't anything commercial in the whole approach I believe. If the film had become a success, it was because it was able to reach the human mind.”

We can always talk endlessly about the man and his creation.

Ritwik Ghatak's new film 'Meghe Dhaka Tara'... constitutes a glorious triumph for the rising group of young film-makers who have been striving to rescue the cinema from the quagmire of escapist entertainment...His entire approach is realistic to a poetic degree and he shows exceptional imagination and warm sensitiveness in building up the climate situations which leave an inedible impression on the audience mind. -- Amrita Bazar Patrika, 22 April,1960.

As a film-maker, Ritwik Ghatak has his forte, he has his originality. If his style is to be categorized, well, it's a new dimension of the Neo-Realist school. Countrymen have already experienced a bit of it in his previous films such as 'Ajantrik' and 'Bari Theke Paliye'. 'Meghe Dhaka Tara' has abundance and reached the pinnacle of it. -- Jugantor, 22April, 1960.

To begin (not 'to end'), here is what Ritwik Ghatak had said, Every work of art is distinct. The form comes out of its theme, philosophy and reflections. I picked the form I felt right for its themes. So there is no point in asking about change in forms. Content dictated it.”

Arin PaulArin Paul is a critically acclaimed Bengali film director from Kolkata. In addition to numerous accomplishments as a director, Arin is a founder member and President of the Bangla Telefilm Club - the first telefilm club in the world, and a founder member and administrator of the wildly popular facebook group Cinemania. Arin can be reached via e-mail at aarinzz [at] gmail [dot] com.

Joydhak Workshop at Devipur, in the Sunderbans – May’30, 2010.

Fifty Kilometers away from Joynagar railway station in the district of South 24 Parganas of the Indian state of West Bengal, there flows a river called Thakurani. One of its banks is covered under the dense canopy of mangroves and on the other bank, surrounded almost on all sides by the various branches of Thakurani as well as by the main river itself, stands a village called Devipur.

Devipur is a very interesting place. Its one of the frontier human settlements standing between the civilized world of mainstream Bengal and the menacing Sunderbans and thus has to serve two masters for survival. The two masters , the nature on one side and the human ‘civilization’ on the other, function at two completely different levels, both equally inscrutable and unpredictable. JOYDHAK WORKSHOP AT DEVIPUR >

The continuous subjugation to two such different , difficult and demanding masters has left an indelible stamp on the entire settlement. It’s a study in contrasts. People discuss the latest nabbing of a burglar or nabbing of a tiger on the village grounds in the same pitch as if there’s no difference between the two.

On 30th May 2010 a Joydhak  Team began the experiment of strengthening these people from inside through its first workshop at Devipur. The work will continue now. Read the detailed report on the workshop at the following link: JOYDHAK WORKSHOP AT DEVIPUR >

Shyamasangeet by Tripti Sanyal | Lyrics, Composition: Renuka Acharya | Music Tapan Sanyal

Washington Bangla Radio presents Shyama Sangeet (songs dedicated to Hindu Goddess Kali) performed by  Tripti Sanyal. Tripti sings original Shyamasangeet songs written and composed by her mother Smt. Renuka Acharya. Music direction is by Tapan Sanyal.

Tapan Sanyal & his wife Tripti Sanyal both belong to musical families in Kolkata.

Maniratnam's RAAVAN (Ravana, Ravan) 2010 Hindi Film Review An astounding cinematic experience: Abhishek Bachchan-Aishwarya Rai

A still from RAAVAN (2010)What is “RAAVAN”  all about?

Is it only a film which is based on the great epic Ramayana?

Is it a work of celluloid-art which brings back old wine in a new bottle?

As a matter of fact, it’s not that I guess! It’s something more than that, and oh, yes – the pre-release hype which it received encompassing each and every corner of the world wherever Indian film enthusiasts hovered hasn’t gone to waste, as this film, heard over the grape vine, being a pet with the director for two-three years has come out to be a very smooth journey for Mani Ratnam as a film maker, resulting in a film which flows effortlessly bringing about Abhishek Bachchan in one of the most ‘larger than-life’ role of his entire career, and oh boy, he carries the character of Beera on his shoulders effortlessly and with much flamboyance.

Though it may sound like a drone, I must say that “Raavan” is perhaps Abhishek’s turning point film after GURU, where he literally gels with the character and brings about a portrayal which is brilliant!

RAAVAN (Ravana, Raavana) Movie Review by Arin Paul

Arin Paul - the critically acclaimed Bengali film director from Kolkata, reviews Maniratnam's Raavan (2010). Among numerous accomplishments, Arin is a founder member and President of the Bangla Telefilm Club - the first telefilm club in the world, and a founder member and administrator of the wildly popular facebook group Cinemania. Arin can be reached via e-mail at aarinzz [at] gmail [dot] com. WBRi thanks Arin for contributing this film review.



First Day Second Show scenario at Navina Cinema Hall, Calcutta said it all. A 999 capacity Hall was below 50% full. The crowd reacted initially in jubilant ways when Abhishek was seen on screen and the journey of watching Beera started. Dazzling visuals, Amazing Cinematography, Haunting Background Score leaves you expecting Genius as the film progresses. With every passing frame, you think the Magic will Begin. But sadly it never begins. You just sit there disappointed, frustrated and wait endlessly for the unseen magic.

Santosh Sivan and V. Manikandan's Cinematography is something which will take an effort to forget. It’s simply mind-blowing. The fight sequence shot on the bridge is something which probably hasn’t been seen yet in Hindi Cinema. It’s absolutely astounding.

As of the actors, it was Priyamani, Ravi Kishan and Govinda to watch out for. Priyamani was the BEST and stands out. Abhishek, Aishwarya and Vikram fail to create an impact.

Rehman’s Music is very good and the picturisations are brilliant. “Thok De Killi” is a revelation.

The story was interesting but the narration very slow and boring at parts. The climax let’s you down in a big way. There are few questions which are never answered in the film.

Overall, Watch Raavan for a scintillating Visual Experience.

Calling “forgiveness begging” “step in right direction”, Hindus urge Pope for “white paper” on sex scandal

*Calling “forgiveness begging” “step in right direction”, Hindus urge Pope for “white paper” on sex scandal* Calling Pope’s “forgiveness begging” at a Vatican Mass on June 11 a “step in right direction”, Hindus want Pope to urgently come up with a white paper on global sex scandal engulfing the Roman Catholic Church, which they called “unprecedented and shocking”. His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI was concelebrating Mass at St.

Book Review | My Name is Gauhar Jaan: The Life and Times of a Musician - Vikram Sampath | WBRi Online Book Store Recommendation

Gauhar Jaan (गौहर जान) (1873–1930) was an Indian singer and dancer or a tawaif from Calcutta. She was one of the first performers to record music on 78 rpm records in India.

My Name is Gauhar Jaan! : The Life and Times of a Musician tries to demystify the myth and mystery around one of the most enigmatic legends in Indian music history Gauhar Jaan. Vikram Sampath, in this remarkable book, brings forth little known details of this fascinating woman who was known for her melodious voice, her multi-lingual skills, poetic sensibility, irresistible personality and her extravagant lifestyle. From her early days in Azamgarh and Banaras to the glory years in Calcutta when Gauhar ruled the world of Indian music, to her sad fall from grace and end in Mysore, the book takes the reader through the roller-coaster ride of this feisty musician. In the process, the author presents a view of the socio-historical context of Indian music and theatre during that period 

The author Vikram Sampath was born in Bangalore and completed his Engineering in Electronics and Masters in Mathematics from BITS-Pilani in 2003. He subsequently did an M.B.A. in finance from S P Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai. He currently works in the retail banking division of a leading multinational bank in Bangalore.

The book is a must-have for all Indian and world music lovers. The book is available online - click here to order >

জয়ঢাকের ১০ম আন্তর্জাল সংখ্যা (বর্ষা ২০১০) প্রকাশিত হল।

জয়ঢাকের ১০ম আন্তর্জাল সংখ্যা প্রকাশিত হল। আগের সংখ্যাগুলোর মতই এই সংখ্যাটিও সাজানো হয়েছে গল্প, কমিকস, ছড়া উপন্যাস ও আন্যান্য নিয়মিত ফিচারে। কিছু উল্লেখ্য বিষয়ঃ


Bravery, sacrifice and chivalry are the words that are associated with Rajasthan; Chittorgarh and Udaipur to be precise, be it for Rana Pratap, Queen Padmini or even Panna Dhai (the wet nurse of Prince Udai Singh II)....

Bengalis in FIFA World Cup (Soccer) 2010

Michigan, USA, June 15, 2010 (Washington Bangla Radio)

This time around, too, there are quite a few Bongs playing for various countries. Read on to know your cousins and cheer them for the big 'GOAL.'

Roquaiya Hasina Neely awarded Citycell Channel i Shera Kontho (Best Vocals) Award in Rabindra Sangeet

Citycell Ch I award Roquaiya Hasina is receiving the trophy from revered Tagore singer Ajit Roy and Mita Haque

Feb 19, 2010 (Washington Bangla Radio) Acclaimed Rabindra Sangeet singer Roquaiya Hasina Neely was awarded the Citycell Channel i Best Music Award in Rabindra
Sangeet for 2009. Channel i broadcast the Award Ceremony live from
Hotel Sheraton Winter garden, Dhaka on January 12, 2010 at 7:30.

In the adjacent picture Roquaiya Hasina is seen receiving the award certificate and trophy from revered Tagore singers Ajit Roy and Mita Haque.

Washington Bangla Radio is pleased to have featured Neely including an exclusive audio interview available online here. In addition, her two excellent Rabindra Sangeet albums Baje Jhornar Gaan and Ki Sur Jagao can be downloaded in MP3 format here.

Podcast - Audio File: