On-Demand Audio Broadcast / Podcast

Interview: Film-Maker BIRSA DASGUPTA on Bengali Movies JANI DEKHA HOBE (2011) and 033 (2010)

Birsa DasguptaWashington, DC, Nov 21, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) Third-generation film-maker Birsa Dasgupta caused quite a stir with his 2010 film "033" which is considered one of the sparkling new movies by smart young film-makers that has once again made Bengali cinema glorious.

Birsa's eagerly awaited 2nd feature film "Jani Dekha Hobe", which is officially spelt "Jaani Dyakha Hawbe", is scheduled to open in theaters on Nov 25, 2011. Birsa shares his thoughts with Arijit Chakraborty in this audio interview about his becoming a film-maker and films.

Listen to Birsa Dasgupta on WBRi.

Interview: Director Sourav Mukherjee on Bengali Movies ZAMEEN (2011) & ANURADHA EKA

Sourav MukherjeeWashington DC, Oct 30, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) Sourav Mukhopadhyay is a great theater enthusiast and has made numerous films for TV channels from the mid 1990s. Zameen (Bengali, 2011) is his first full-length feature film. Before commencing on making films, Sourav and his theater group have presented many nationally and internationally acclaimed theater productions, and has performed on stage across the world. Sourav chats with Arijit Chakraborty in this audio interview about his career in film-making and the film Zameen in a greater context of how land-owners are affected in the recent construction boom of highrise apartment buildings in and around Kolkata.

Sourav draws a very interesting parallel to the difference between news-papers and books while describing the challenges in making a full-length feature and a tee-film.

Zameen, or Jamin or Jomin, is a Bengali word that refers to land-owners. The word was in mainstream use till just before the rule of Nawab Siraj ud-Daulah. (1729 - 1757). Sourav describes how he strives to use celluloid as a means of expressing his emotions and rebellion against prevalent social trends, which often results in films that are of a different kind with a strong message.

The real-estate development boom in all rapidly growing Indian cities, including Kolkata, are resulting in a congestion of multi-storied buildings in previously natural serene areas. Lakes, open fields and playgrounds are disappearing rapidly - kids are being forced to play on the rooftops of buildings.

Zameen focuses on the impact on the owners of the land that thee buildings are being constructed. The land is given away by the owners sometimes under pressure or duress, at other times by sweet-sounding deals. Such deals may take the form of dedicating a part of the building to the land-owner's name, or such perks - but the fact remains that the land was given by the owner under pressure in the first place, often times for a much lower price than the real value unless the land-owner had the proper contacts in the political system.

The events in Zameen are centered around a septuagenarian woman, owner of a big chunk of land in a small town not far from the city. She stands up against huge pressure put on by the political-criminal nexus, and her strong opposition results in her murder with her body found at the railway tracks. Her son and daughter-in-law are then put through tremendous pressure to sell the property.

Zameen stars veteran actress Supriya Devi who portrays the septuagenarian mother,  Dulal Lahiri as the real-estate promoter, Sunil Mukherjee as a senior resident of the town, Dolon Roy has portrayed three phases of a woman's life - wife, mother and senior member of the family, Oindrila Chakraborty as the daughter-in-law, Sambhu Chakraborty as a businessman of different shades with a business in Burrabazar, and others.

The film has eight songs - one popular prabhati sangeet and seven Rabindrasangeet songs all performed true to Tagore's compositions. Singers include Tarun Sarkar, Moitreyiee, Subhashish Das Sharma, Shiuli Pal and Swagatalakshmi Dasgupta.

Sourav's next film is titled ANURADHA EKA. It is a story of a woman who is most valued for her monetary status and her ability to support the financial needs of everyone around her - her family, friends and society. Spectacularly successful as an internationally acclaimed danseuse, she however is a very lonely woman, since the moment her relationships transcend her financial status, she finds herself alone. 

Here are some production stills from Zameen (Bengali, 2011):

Bengali Actress DOLON ROY and Supriya Devi
Bengali Actress DOLON ROY and Supriya Devi
Bengali Actress DOLON ROY and Supriya Devi
Bengali Actress DOLON ROY and Supriya Devi
Bengali Actress DOLON ROY and Supriya Devi
Bengali Actress DOLON ROY and Supriya Devi
Bengali Actress DOLON ROY and Supriya Devi

The following is quoted from the official synopsis of Sourav's upcoming full-length debut Bengali feature film Zameen ...

Interview: NEEL B MITRA on Bengali Movies NANDINI (2011) and ABOSHESHE (2012)

[Neel B Mitra]Washington, DC, Oct 29, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) Neel B Mitra is a Jadavpur University alumnus, and gave up a very successful career in marketing in Mumbai and returned to Kolkata to puruse an inner calling of writing. Neel started writing while in Mumbai, Abasheshe being of the first three stories. Although offers of writing for films in Mumbai itself had started to come in, Neel wanted to write in Bengali - another reason for returning to Kolkata.

Back in Kolkata, Neel started off as an assistant director for a number of films and documentaries that were critically acclaimed by audiences and across film festivals. Around this time, Sekhar Das - the noted film-maker and director of BFJA Award-winning "Mahulbanir Sereng" and National Award Winning Bengali film "Krantikaal" (2005) - proposed that the impressive communication skills of Neel be deployed for media relations and publicity, and Krantikaal was Neel's first venture as a media coordinator. Today Neel has worked as a media coordinator for over 150 films and is considered one of the top media coordinators in Tollywood.

Neel met Aditi Roy in 1995 when Aditi was studying film-making at Jadavpur University, and wrote scripts for a few short films by Aditi. They decided to make a feature film together, and Neel had Abasheshe waiting for such an opportunity for years. Neel has always been more interested in the challenge of being an original screen-play writer, and did not really want to get into direction - a role which Aditi comfortably filled in.

Neel is a believer in strong pre-production, having made a number of "Making of" films including the one for The Japanese Wife where Neel was also the DOP. Neel told the producers Deb's Entertainment House headed by Anil B Dev that the film would be directed by Aditi and would take three months for wrapping up pre-production. The producer was looking to make a small-budget film with a quick turnaround - and Neel then proposed noted director Subrata Sen make the film "Nandini". Nandini (2011) will open in theaters on November 18, 2011. Neel is the executive producer of Nandini.

Swastika Mukherjee & Dibyendu Mukherjee in a still from Kolkata Bengali Movie NANDINI
A still from Nandini feat. Dibyendu & Swastika

Nandini, like all Subrata Sen films so far, is an urban film with a city-centric story. A relationship-oriented film, Nandini is the story of a happily married but lonely woman whose husband is mostly travelling, and how she gets into a relationship with a fashion photographer. She spends a few exhilerating days with the fashion photographer, but the story is also about her realization that she really loves her husband and there are aspects of marriage that go beyond just love into realms of trust, respect and members of the family.

Listen to Neel chat with Arijit Chakraborty about Nandini and Abasheshe on WBRi on-demand audio broadcast service.

Interview: Rana Banerjee on Balaka Sports Club of BD Block in Salt Lake, Kolkata - History, Heritage & Their Noted Kali Puja

Washington, DC, Oct 17, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) Nilotpal Banerjee, popularly known as Rana-da, is a founding-member of the prestigious Balaka Sports Club with it's home at BD Block in Salt Lake (Bidhan Nagar), Calcutta.

Incidentally, Balaka Sports Club and Washington Bangla Radio will jointly present a live web-cast of Balaka Shyama Puja directly from BD Park in Salt Lake, making the noted Pujo the first in Bengal, indeed in all of India,  to be webcast live world-wide over the internet. NRIs and expatriate Bengalees across the globe will be able to watch Balaka Kali Pujo Live Online here >

In this candid chat with Arijit Chakraborty, Rana-da talks about the origin, history, heritage and the path forward of Balaka. Balaka organizes one of the best-known Kali Pujas in Kolkata every year, and Rana-da also shares with us some of the unique aspects of their Kali Puja. The wooden frame-work for the idol of Goddess Kali is reused every year. The frame itself is special in it's three-wooden-bar construction. More importantly, the idol itself is sculpted at the venue by the best multi-generational clay sculptors brought in from Krishnanagar. The idol's decoration is completely done with items contributed by residents and club members. And of course, Balaka Kali Puja is associated with a multi-night cultural extravaganza featuring a who's-who of Indian performing arts - virtually every famous singer has been on Balaka's stage. This year, performers include icons like Kavita Krishnamurty, L. Subramanium and Kunal Ganjawala.

Interview: Award-Winning Bengali & Bollywood Singer RUPREKHA BANERJEE on Her Career & Upcoming Projects

Calcutta, September 22, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) Ruprekha Banerjee is a well-known singer from India, a Fame Gurukul (a talent hunt reality television show) champion whose debut album Yeh Pal with fellow champion Qazi Touqeer went Double Platinum in India and sold over 5 million copies worldwide. She chats with Hirak Bhattacharyya about her latest Bengali songs album, Tollywood and Bollywood film songs and other projects in this musical interview video. Do not miss her solo performance with no instrumental accompaniment demonstrating her awesome voice.

Ruprekha BanerjeeRuprekha Banerjee

Agamani Gaan - Bengali Songs by Tanmayee Banerjee

Washington, DC, Sep 22, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) You have met and heard Tanmayee Banerjee before in our exclusive WBRi artist feature posted here. Tanmayee is an award-winning singer from London, UK. Her forte is light classical - she is a student of Sri Kallol Roy and Smt. Sipra Bose, and has appeared on numerous radio and TV performances.

Tanmayee presents us a couple of Agomoni songs welcome Maa Durga to her annual visit.

Interview: Ipsita Mukherjee on her contemporary Bengali Folk Songs album "FOLK TANTRA" (Listen to Free Samples Online)

Folk Tantra - Ipsita MukherjeeWashington DC, Sep 20, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) Bengali singer Ipsita Mukherjee chats with Esha Basu Roy about her new folk album "Folk Tantra - Folk at it's Grooving Best" featuring six Bengali folk, baul, bhatiyali and lalangeeti classics presented with a contemporary touch. Also listen to free audio samples online from the album.

Ipsita grew up in Sonarpur, a small town in South 24 Parganas district in West Bengal, in a family environment where Indian classical music was given immense importance - her first music teacher was her uncle. A talented singer from early on, Ipsita took lessons in singing from various gurus, and was a finalist at the 2002 Sa Re Ga Ma Pa reality talent hunt television show. She lived in Mumbai for a while and returned to Kolkata after her wedding.

Folk Tantra is published by Purple Music of Kolkata - you can download albums from Purple in audiophile quality from our exclsuive digital MP3 download service.

Interview: Sanghamitra Chaudhuri on Bengali Movies "Someday Somewhere Jete Pari Chole" & "Keloda In Kashmir"

Washington, DC, Sept 14, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) Film-maker Sanghamitra Chaudhuri, who we had the pleasure of talking to just before the release of her prior film Bidehir Khonje Rabindranath (audio available here), returns to our studio to chat with Esha Basu Roy about two of her Bengali films releasing on consecutive Fridays in theaters across Kolkata.

Bengali Actress PAOLI DHAM (Paoli Dam)

Her first upcoming film is titled "Someday Somewhere Jete Pari Chole" and stars Paoli Dam, Saheb Bhattacharya, Shankar Chakravarty, Debjani Chatterjee, Biswajit Chakravarty, Soma Chakravarty, Souradeep Ghosh, Trishna Mukherjee and others.

Tollywood Kolkata Bengali Movie KELODA IN KASHMIR Poster

Sanghamitra's second forthcoming movie "Keloda in Kashmir" features the film-maker herself in an important role, along with Bhola Tamang, Sangita Sonali , Priyanka Banerjee, Souradeep Ghosh, Raj Sinha, Abhinandan Dutta, Madhumita Ghosh, Shankar Chakraborty, Pallabi Chatterjee, Joyjit Banerjee and others.

Read all about the new Kolkata Bengali Movies and listen to the director online exclusively on Washington Bangla Radio.

Interview: Film-Maker Ribhu Dasgupta on MICHAEL (Hindi, 2011) - Directorial Debut Premiering in TIFF 2011

Ribhu DasguptaWashington, DC, September 13, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) Ribhu Dasgupta, "Bilbo" to close friends and family, did not really plan on any particular genre when he started thinking about and writing down the beginnings of the script for his first film Michael. It is usual for a writer-director to first come up with the outline of a story he wants to tell - and slowly as the story takes shape, some sort of classification in terms of the genre may become apparent. Such was the case with Michael which eventually became, in the writer-director's own words, a "character-driven psychological thriller", which would turn out to be set in the noisy and rainy backdrop of the metropolis of Kolkata.

Michael is a father-and-son story about an ex-cop dad and his son. Indian acting powerhouse Naseeruddin Shah plays the title role of Michael the dad. The young actor Purav Bhandare from Mumbai plays the son. Other important roles in the film are played by Mahie Gill who plays a nurse, Sabyasachi Chakraborty and Irawati Harshe Mayadev. Somak Mukherjee was the cinematographer.

Michael is completely shot in Kolkata. As Ribhu puts it, his thriller required a certain kind of urban environment with some degree of a decadent feel to it - and north Calcutta provides the ideal location for his story.

Michael has been selected for screening at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) where it will have it's world premiere on Thursday September 15, 2011 at the Visa Screening Room (Elgin) at 9:00 PM. The film is produced by Anurag Kashyap, and Ribhu believes the film will be sent to quite a number of other film festivals before being released in theaters, though, of course, Anurag also has a big role to play in charting the course of the film.

Still from Michael
A still from Michael

Ribhu is no stranger to Anurag Kashyap, having assisted Anurag during the making of the 2009 Hindi film "Gulaal" (DVD release). Working with Anurag is always a challenging and exciting experience, says Ribhu, especially for a young aspiring film-maker like him who can always learn a lot of things partly because Anurag sometimes tends to work instinctively and spontaneously with not much of a predetermined method or planning.

Listen to Ribhu Dasgupta talk about Michael in this candid audio interview with Esha Basu Roy - a Washington Bangla Radio exclusive.

Interview: Director Debashish Raychaudhuri on Bengali Drama Audio Album RAJA feat. Sabyasachi Chakraborty, Chaitali Dasgupta

Washington DC, September 13, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) Shri Debashish Raychaudhuri is a professor of English Literature in Ananda Mohan College in Kolkata, India (also known as City College, North). He is also a very well known and popular personality among lovers of Rabindra Sangeet in Kolkata. He has a long association with Dakshinee - one of the famous Rabindra Sangeet institutions of the city.

A scene from the stage drama RAJA
A scene from the stage drama (Bangla Natok) RAJA directed by Abhijit Sen with music direction by Debashish Raychaudhuri - A Natyam Production

A few weeks earlier we aired an interview with him (audio available on-demand here) regarding his music direction for the new album "Amar Jabar Belate" launched on the 70th death anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore. Today he was our guest in our Toronto studios where we chatted about the album launch featuring the first ever audio recording of the play RAJA written by Rabindranath Tagore. Incidentally, as mentioned by Debashish, this play was written a hundred years ago.

The title character of Raja is played by the renowned actor Sabyasachi Chakraborty, our beloved Benu-da. Chaitali Dasgupta (interview), whose remarkable concept, script, narration and direction in "Amar Jabar Belate" is widely appreciated, plays Sudarshana.

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