Exclusive WBRi Bangla Radio Interviews, Reviews, Features, Songs, Videos, Biographies of Bangla Artists, Bands and Albums

Interview: Actress NINA MEHTA on Rohit Gupta's Award-Winning Feature Film "Life! Camera Action ..." and more

Film Actress Nina MehtaWashington, DC, June 18, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio) Actress Nina Mehta plays a short but remarkably memorable and humorous role in Rohit Gupta’s multiple award-winning flick Life! Camera Action .... In an informal conversation with WBRi’s Gurjeet Singh, the bubbly actress reveals a lot about her early life, her experiences while shooting for Life! Camera Action ...,  her future plans and a whole lot more.

Nina Mehta comes across as a charming personality as she exchanges greetings with Gurjeet. The confidence of the young actress is apparent in her voice. Life! Camera Action... has been earning rave reviews at film festivals all round the world and has won over 60 awards so far.

An exclsuive WBRi on-demand audio broadcast.

Interview: Srijit Mukherji on Romantic Satire "Hemlock Society" (2012): "Hemlock has a poetic sound to it"

Srijit Mukherji, Rupam Islam & Anupam Roy at Hemlock Society (Bengali, 2012) Music Release in KolkataWashington, DC, June 18, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio) One of the most eagerly anticipated Bengali movies of the year is Srijit Mukherji’s third feature film "Hemlock Society" (2012). The Parambrata Chatterjee - Koel Mullick starrer is all set to hit the theaters on the 22nd of June. Arijit Chakraborty caught up once again with the ace filmmaker (at 2:30 am Kolkata time!) to chat with Srijit about the idea behind and making of his uniquely titled new movie, his expectations from Hemlock Society and a whole lot more.

Srijit had not initially planned to make Hemlock Society and had, in fact, been harboring ideas of another film. However, as fate would have it, he came across an interesting individual about four months back, a person having a very intriguing and inspiring perspective on life and death which appealed to Srijit no end. The character Ananda (Parambrata Chatterjee) is actually modeled on that person.

The seeds of the story of Hemlock Society, however, were sown in Srijit's mind around three years ago when he was researching for a play. During that time the filmmaker had come to know of several institutions and societies that taught people about the correct methods and technicalities of assisted suicide, like the Hemlock Society of Santa Monica, California (now a part of Compassion & Choices).

Listen to our interview with Srijit Mukherji via WBRi on-demand audio broadcast service.

Interview: Up Close with Sharat Chandra Srivastava of Renowned Indian World Music / Raaga Fusion Band MRIGYA

Sharat Chandra Srivastava

Washington, DC, June 16, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio) Fusion has always been held in high regard by anyone fond of classy experimentation with music. One of the finest contemporary Indian musical bands specializing in the genre of world music, rock and raga fusion is Mrigya. The internationally acclaimed band is currently on a tour of Canada and the United States. In a candid chat with Minakshi Bajpai, Sharat Chandra Srivastava - a founding member and the driving force, violinist and vocalist of Mrigya - shares his personal musical experiences, the nature of music his band is into, details about their North American tour and a whole lot more.

Interview: Bharati Mitra, Writer-Director and Head Of Tagore Music Group of Greater Washington DC

Bharati MitraWashington, DC, June 14, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio) Bharati Mitra is a well-known among lovers of Bengali cultural programs around Washington DC. Mitra heads the Tagore Music Group of Greater Washington DC who have been staging innovative musicals, dance dramas and plays across our country. They performed their production "Arupratan" at North American Bengali Conference ("Banga Sammelan") and are about to perform their new production "Chobi - A Musical". WBRi’s Arijit Chakrabarty caught up with the multi-talented lady as she spoke about "Chhobi" and her previous plays and a whole lot more.

After exchanging initial pleasantries, Bharati Mitra shared a brief introduction to the Tagore Musical Group of Greater Washington DC. While the association does have a formal name, it operates in a completely informal manner. There are no hard and fast rules about membership to the group and no fees are charged from members either. In fact, right from the group’s debut stage play ‘Arupratan’ (2009), to the following year when the same play had been staged at the Banga Sammelan, to 2011, when the production"Shammanya Kshati" had been staged, the cast and crew were a mixture of new members as well narrators and musicians from previous productions.

Interview: Marc Webb, Director of The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

Marc Webb"I was inspired by Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire’s wonderful work and wanted to honour them." - Marc Webb

Mumbai, June 14, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio) His forte always had been romantic genre movies, is what he says! He had very little knowledge that very soon he might be directing a reboot film in the Spider-man series “THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN”. Marc Webb when was approached by the producers of THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN with a proposal to direct it, prompt came his reply, “I don’t make movies like that!” But the producers were super confident about their choice.

Marc Webb who entered the Hollywood’s glamour world initially directed the music videos and later made his debut in the film-world with the movie “(500) Days of Summer”. His potentials became pristine as soon as the movie found itself a place in the hearts of the audience. Webb once again weaves a magical web of love with the story of THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. Recalling the time when he was first approached to sign as the director for the film, Webb says he was shocked and thought it to be an absurd idea. There was pressure that he felt from the comic book fan community and the wonderful work done by Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire. But how did he overcome it? “I was also inspired by that and wanted to honour that and make something that makes a different interpretation. Whether it is Gwen Stacy, or Peter Parker's parents, or Dr Curt Connors — there's so much stuff that we haven't seen before that's interesting. That inspired me,” says Webb.

Interview: RAVI KUMAR - Award Winning Cinematographer, Production Designer and Editor of "Life! Camera Action..."

Ravi KumarWashington DC, June 12, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio) Ravi Kumar is three-time award winning Cinematographer and Production Designer for the feature film "LIFE! CAMERA ACTION…" produced and directed by Rohit Gupta  - a film that has become a festival favorite that continues it's remarkable streak of international acclaim and numerous awards.

In this audio interview with WBRi's Gurjeet Singh, Ravi shares his story of passion, commitment and destiny. Hailing from the state of Tamil Nadu in India, Ravi has been an ardent fan of movies since his childhood. “I would bunk my school to catch a movie but I felt it was more than entertainment that interested me about any movie. I couldn’t figure it out then, but as I began exploring I realized that the visual aspects of the imagery including shot compositions and colors were my real drivers. I would get lost in them while watching a movie and could never realize that I didn't even notice any other aspects of the film initially”, says Ravi. He began exploring still photography to further his education about images.

Ravi moved to the United States five years ago to pursue his dream of making movies but he says he was lucky enough  to find his passion in cinematography. He joined the renowned Digital Film Academy in New York and along the way wrote and directed two short films. Little did Ravi know that his destiny had bigger things planned for him!

Trailer: Life! Camera Action…

Bangla Band DRIFTWUD - Album SHUNNO

Driftwood - Shunno (Bangla Band)

Singapore, June 10, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio) Driftwud is a Bangla Band who started their journey a long time ago as "Neon Highway" with MB and K2. The band renamed themselves Driftwud with the arrival of Neel.

Download the album Shunno by Bengali band Driftwud (MP3 audio) »

Their journey so far has been quite a roller-coaster ride with false starts, dead ends,musical incompatibility and so on. But all through this time the only thing that didn't stop was theie music itself.. Songs, tunes, riffs and arpeggios flowed via land lines, mobile phones, the world wide web and the few and far between sessions when the members actually managed to be in the same place at the same time.

The band was dormant from 2007 to 2008, but Driftwud got a jump start of sorts during Durag Puja 2008 when they performed for the first time on stage in front of an audience. With Roy on board, it was finally time to drift out into the unknown.

In 2009, Driftwud members sorted out their commitments to careers and education and managed to find their way into Sam's studio armed with their songs to record them.

The title song of their album "Shunno" was written in 2004 and it took 5 years to record the song as the band (read MB) was never happy with the arrangement of the song.

About the members of the band, K2 will not let you touch his guitar, Neel has a Chris Cornell fixation, and Roy is a perfectionist.

Listen to the songs from album Shunno by Driftwud and download them in MP3 format.

Interview: A Tete-a-tete with the Gorgeous Actress-Model Preity Uupala

Preity Uupala

Seattle, WA, June 9, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio) While there are many people in this world who stumble upon new discoveries and turnarounds in life, Preity Uupala belongs to the genre of people who have been discovered by destiny and brought along in the right path of life. The exquisitely beautiful actress-model was captured in a photo shoot in Sydney when she was 16, where she subsequently took up modeling and later moved to Los Angeles, USA. Not only beautiful but also remarkably smart, Preity won the Miss India International AP crown in 2012, Miss India Portugal in 2011 and Miss Photogenic International. She was chosen to 3 film awards at the Asia Pacific Film Festival in China in 2010 where she shared the stage with, and was honored by, asian superstar Jackie Chan. Preity Uupala is a global citizen who loves to travel and get to know different customs of people across the world. In this exclusive audio interview with Marian Chakraborty, Preity opens her heart to reveal glimpses of her childhood, her dreams and aspirations in the entertainment industry.

Preity studied acting at NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Arts) Sydney, Alma-mater of numerous superstars like Mel Gibson and Cate Blanchett. Preity also holds two graduate degrees in B.Tech and a B.Marketing and was offered a scholarship to study for a Ph.D. She has worked as an investment banker and has traveled all over the world on work.

Interview: ISHU KRISHNA - Award Winning Writer Director & Producer of ARRANGE TO SETTLE (2012)

Ishu Krishna

Washington, DC, June 6, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio) Award-winning Washington, DC based film-maker Ishu Krishna has made quite a few critically acclaimed short films before her first full-length feature film "Arrange to Settle" (2012) about an American girl named Jyothi born to parents who immigrated from India - a girl who decides to get an arranged marriage following a series of failed relationships. WBRi's Marian Chakraborty caught up with Ishu just before the red-carpet premiere of "Arrange to Settle" in Bethesda, Maryland to chat about the writer-director herself, her films, film-making and of course "Arrange to Settle" in this audio interview.

Ishu has won a slew of awards for her short films and other projects, picking up Best Graphics, Best Choreography, Best Music, Best Editing and so on. She believes "Open Bar" (2009) is one of the short films that really came out the way she wanted, and is considering making a feature based on it.

Interview: Priya Mathur - The Youngest Actress in Manan Katohora's 9 ELEVEN: "Jyotididi's Pulling My Hair is All Real!"

Priya MathurWashington DC, June 6, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio) A Maryland girl, Priya Mathur grew up watching her father acting in plays. She acted in a bunch of theater productions in middle and high school, and then the opportunity to act in a feature film presented itself. Priya chats with Gurjeet Singh in this audio interview a couple of days after her Bollywood-style indie thriller movie "9 Eleven" directed by Manan Singh Katohora [interview] saw it's world premiere at the first Washington DC South Asian Film Festival (DCSAFF 2012).

Priya plays Gina who is at the center of the twist in the tale - giving away who Gina is in the film will be giving away the thrill of the thriller. There is a scene where she gets into a dangerous situation with another character Sarita Gupta (played by Jyoti Singh [interview]) which involves Sarita grabbing Gina by her hair and banging her face on an iron pole - as we had suspected when we watched the film, the scene was all real as Priya confirms she wanted her hair pulled pretty violently to have the most realism on film.

Still very young - she is a sophomore at Penn State studying for a degree in Animal Sciences - with her entire life ahead of her, we will doubtless see Priya Mathur numerous more times on stage and on screen, perhaps while she pursues acting along with a career in animal medicine.

All the best, Priya, and we will talk to you again!

- Article by Supratim Sanyal

Editor's note: Gurjeet Singh is a Financial Analyst by profession and lives in Germantown, Maryland in the Washington DC metro area. A great enthusiast of Indian-American cultural exchanges, Gurjeet is also an avid  music lover. In her free time she dabs in some water color painting and loves to go on long walks. Gurjeet can be reached at guri070555 [at] yahoo [dot] com.

JOEL (Shyamak Mukherjee) Releases "The Beginning" - A Remarkable Contemporary Bangla & English Songs Album

Joel performing with the Guildhall Folk Ensembleand at Barbican Theater in London, UK
Joel performing with the Guildhall Folk Ensemble at Barbican Theater in London, UK

Joel (Shyamak Mukherjee)Kolkata, June 4, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio) Shyamak Mukherjee or JOEL as we know him is a versatile young singer, song writer, composer and music arranger coming up with world-class music from Calcutta.

Joel's journey started when he had just graduated from school. While his friends were busy getting admitted to colleges for  prospective careers, Joel was busy listening to the likes of Bach, Schubert, Sting and John Mayer and imagining himself making music that would define an era just like his idols had done before.

Thus the journey began as he took the guitar to be his companion for life. Having completed grade 8 in Classical guitar he wanted to move on to more contemporary forms of music and therefore started writing, composing and singing his own music. However, after watching his father, he decided to try his hand at arranging music as well.

After initializing with such rudimentary software as Fruity Loops and Cool Edit, Joel got through the nuances of digital music production soon enough. It was then that he decided that he wanted to make an album where everything would be done by him.

Joel - The Beginning - Purple Music, 2012

In this album - "The Beginning" - Joel composed, played, arranged, sang and wrote the songs, except for a few songs which are written by friends. It's an effort which took him 3 years to finalize and complete.

The album contains one Rabindrasangeet and a popular Bengali song by poet Rudra Mohammad Shahidullah. The reason for the inclusion of these two songs is that both the songs have had an impact on Joel's life at various stages and he wanted to acknowledge that by giving them a shape through his musical visualizations.

We know listeners will appreciate and enjoy what a young musician of Joel's caliber has to offer. Having been born in a family where music was just as indispensable as oxygen or food, the inclination towards the arts for Joel was quite natural. Furthermore, having studied in Patha Bhavan, Kolkata for twelve years, the nurturing was just about perfect for him to enter the realm of music.

Read all about Joel and listen to free sample of his songs from "The Beginning" via WBRi.

Sizzling Beauty Queen Preity Uupala Takes on Bollywood After Conquering China, Portugal & Australia: Maxim India Photo Shoot

By Monica Shor

Preity Uupala

Los Angeles, CA, June 4, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio) Meet Preity Uupala. She has conquered China and conquered Australia. Now she is taking on Hollywood.

She is just coming off a sizzling shoot with celeb photographer Ash Gupta. Shot here in his studo in Los Angeles, in the simmering heat, this sultry beauty has been heating up the set.

Read all about her, check out more wonderful pictures and watch an exclusive Preity Uupala sizzling video shoot with celebrity photographer Ash Gupta.

Watch: Bangla Movie ABOSHESHE Screening as Official Selection at DCSAFF Washington DC South-Asian Film Festival 2012

[Aditi Roy's New Bangla Movie Abosheshe Poster]Washington, DC, June 2, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio) The 2011 Bangla Movie "Abosheshe" (2011) directed by newcomer Aditi Roy is an official selection at the first Washington DC South Asian Film Festival (DCSAFF). Abosheshey was screened to a packed theater at DCSAFF starting 2:30 PM today. The film stars Roopa Ganguly, Ankur Khanna, Raima Sen, Sudipta Chakraborty, Suman Mukhopadhyay and others.

The story and screen-play of Abosheshe by Neel B Mitra (interview) is a tale of a son's return to Kolkata 22 years after his estranged father and he had left for the United States. The son, who starts off by referring to his mother by her first name "Suchismita", is drawn into by some inner calling to get to know her in a journey of discovery, culminating in a trip to Sikkim.

Watch a video of the screening of Abosheshe in Washington, DC exclusively via WBRi.

Manan Singh Katohora's "9 Eleven" Bollywood-Style Independent Hindi Thriller Film World Premiere at DCSAFF Washington, DC

By Supratim Sanyal

Manan Singh Katohora with 9-Eleven Cast Members @ DCSAFF 2012
Manan Singh Katohora (center) with 9-Eleven Cast Members @ DCSAFF 2012

Rockville, Maryland, June 2, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio) "9 Eleven", the Bollywood-style Hindi language thriller feature film written and directed by Manan Singh Katohora of Silver Spring, Maryland, saw it's world premiere screening at a filled to capacity auditorium with many people watching while standing at the first Washington DC South Asian Film Festival (DCSAFF) 2012 today at Rockville.

The audience was deeply engaged with the film, with oohs and aahs on the plentiful surprises in the thriller and and laughter rolling across when Manan's subtle sense of humor showed in his film.

The cast and crew took questions and interacted with the audience after the film. Watch two videos that I captured during the event:

After a few stints as actor and assistant director, young Indian-American film-maker Manan Singh Katohora debuted as a writer-director with his 2005 psychological thriller "Arya" which immediately caught the eye of film critics and general audience. He followed it up with "When Kiran Met Karen" that continued Manan's exploration of unusual subjects for a NRI movie-maker - this film was about the alternative lifestyle of two women. His latest film "9 Eleven" is also of a unique genre - psychological thriller in a way, a film that is suspenseful but yet manages to make viewers think about their karma and ramifications of their actions in life.

Interview: Real Desi Girl Actress SONAKSHI SINHA on ROWDY RATHORE (2012) Bollywood Hindi Movie with Akshay Kumar

Rowdy Rathore

Rowdy Rathore (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Sunny Malik

Sonakshi Sinha and Akshay Kumar in Rowdy Rathore (Hindi, 2012)

London, UK, May 31, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio) The gorgeous Indian actress Sonakshi Sinha made her mark in Bollywood with her very first movie - the blockbuster Dabangg (2010) opposite Salman Khan. Born to legendary actor Shatragun Sinha and Poonam Sinha, the 25-year-old actress is excited about her second release Rowdy Rathore opposite superstar Akshay Kumar.

The beautiful actress had a candid chat with UK Bollywood reporter Sunny Malik about her upcoming film, being a desi girl, and much more in this interview.

How do you feel that your second film is about to release and the reaction has been extremely positive?

It’s been great. I have been feeling the same way I felt before my first film Dabangg. It’s a positive feeling and a good space to be in. There is an attachment to what I have just done and I don’t know what is going to happen in the future.

Tell me about your character in the film.

She is a girl from Patna and very lively and outspoken. She is very sweet and simple and yet she falls in love with this guy who is completely the opposite of her and a Rowdy man.The movie is completely action packed and it is ‘masaledar’ and it has a dash of romance in it. It was a great character to play and overall, a great film to be part of.

How did the title come about ?

- check out the complete interview with Sonakshi Sinha on WBRi.