Event Review: Tomari Khonjey, a function to launch the web-site of Sraboni Sen (Rabindrasangeet exponent)

Srabani Sen Rabindra SangeetFeb 3, 2010 (Washington Bangla Radio) Launching of a new website for ace Rabindra Sangeet exponent Sraboni Sen

Shrabani Sen live at "Tomari Khonje", Kolkata, Feb 3, 2010

On 3 rd February 2010 a new website was launched at Rabindra Okakura Bhavan, Salt Lake, Kolkata by members of a fledgeling Orkut Community called RABINDRASANGEET O EI PROJONMO. Before the formal inauguration of the website, the students of Smt. Sraboni Sen presented a laudable collage of thought provoking events and performances as follows: opening recital of Sanskrit slokas, a Bharatnatyam recital of Tagore’s ‘Anondo dhara bohiche bhubone’, an informal debate – how far experimentation of Tagore’s songs is permissible, a well scripted recital of Rabindra Sangeet by the students, felicitation of renowned film director Sri Raja Sen and finally the inauguration of the website by Smt. Sen’s childhood friend Smt. Madhuchanda Ghosh. The program was concluded by a mellifluous rendition of Tagore’s ‘Mone rekho’ by Sraboni Sen herself.

Listen to free previews and download Rabindra Sangeet by Sraboni Sen in MP3 Format Online »

The program was clearly demarcated into two parts – the first part comprising of the inauguration through lighting of a diya and chanting of Sanskrit slokas, and the second part comprising of a debate and rendition of Rabindra Sangeet. The first part of the program was compeered solely and with excellence by Hriya Banerji.

A slideshow of pictures from the program

The most interesting features of the entire program were the three ingenious efforts of the students:

1) Reinterpretation of ‘Anondo dhara bohiche bhubone’ through a Bharatnatyam recital. We are accustomed to Manipuri style of dancing when it comes to representing Tagore’s songs. But Mandabi Maitra, an able student of the famous Bharatnatyam exponent Thankomani Kutti presented a wonderful variation. The attendees realized with pleasure that dancing to the tune of Tagore can be aesthetically very satisfying through Bharatnatyam as well.

2) The informal debate, or should we say an in depth discussion, regarding the growing trend of experimentation with Tagore’s songs. The line was clearly drawn between the two warring factions – the new who spoke in favor of experimentation: Nilankur (St. Xavier’s College), Arindam, Abhishek Chakraborty, Tushar Shankar, and the ones who completely opposed any such efforts and who preferred to be called the traditionists: Anirban, Abhishek Dhar, Kaushik Sen. We however missed an equal balance between the two teams - 4 versus 3. The entire discussion-cum-debate was moderated by Smt. Sangeet Bandopadhyay, the eminent Bengali writer of Sankhini fame. Though there was no formal declaration of the best speaker. one could not help praising the little college boy Nilankur for his well formulated arguments. But the most fascinating part for grey haired viewers like us was the fact that these youngsters known for their preferences for Western jazz and rock music did find time to listen to Rabindra Sangeet! Furthermore, they felt it obligatory on their part to propound Tagore’s songs in their own style! The traditionists on the other hand simply refused to the buy the arguments of their opponents, very like their own philosophy one may deduce. Smt. Bandopadhyay however played it safe without supporting any team. But as viewers, we would have preferred to hear her opinion as well. Other than that one felt that the discussion could have been more interesting had there been a questionnaire session at the end.

Watch a live recording from the event online (via You Tube)

3) Tomaari Khonjey: a kind of déjà vu through Tagore’s songs. Scripted by Kaustav Goswami and Indranil Chatterjee, it was a treat for the audience. The selection of songs was also very appropriate for the occasion: Shamik (Aji bijon ghore), Shubhomoy (Tumi robe nirobe), Sharmishtha (Sakhi Bhabona), Kaustav (Je ratey mor,Aji Godhulilogone). Among the four singers Kaustav and Sarmistha appear to be really promising and able carriers of Sraboni Sen’s rich legacy. The script was narrated by Raja whose impeccable pronunciation and well modulated voice quality enthralled the audience.

The conclusion and perhaps the best treat was Smt. Sraboni Sen’s rendition of ‘Tobu Mone rekho’. The entire program, sponsored by Event Listeners, Hyperbit Komputers and Radel, was really well orchestrated and spoke of true professionalism.

Komputers and Radel, was really well orchestrated and spoke of true professionalism.

- By Dr. Sarbani Putatunda, Reader, English Literature.
(Submitted exclusively to Washington Bangla Radio by Kaustuv Goswami)