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

Intervew: Actor Kharaj Mukherjee on his new Bengali movie KATAKUTI (2011) - "I Liked My Role"

The following is a sponsored article from Databazaar Media Ventures.

By Shoma A. Chatterji

Kharaj Mukherjee in Katakuti (Bengali, 2011)

Calcutta, Dec 21, 2011 (Databazaar Media Ventures) Everyone knows Kharaj Mukherjee. He is one of the best character actors in Bengali cinema today. He is also a gifted singer and can mimic veteran actors like Chhobi Biswas with élan. He has a very interesting role in Premangshu Roy’s Katakuti which has been acquired by Databazaar Media for DVD and streaming rights on channels. But let us hear it from Kharaj himself.

“Katakuti is a very modern story about relationships and their mutations happening in a global and modern world. Though I generally do not have any rigid choices about my roles as I am not a hero-figure, I liked the one I play in Katakuti. I have done the role of one of lunatics placed in a mental home in Kolkata. The film repeats its underlined message – that a man passionate about anything, be it a person, animal, object or art or science, mainstream society immediately labels him a lunatic without weighing the pros and cons of the loaded term ‘lunatic.’ I play a man so obsessed,” explains Kharaj.

Interview: Bengali Singer-Songwriter and Actor SHILAJIT on his music and films

The following is a sponsored article by Databazaar Media Ventures.

By Shoma A. Chatterji

Katakuti Tollywood Kolkata Bengali Movie Poster

Calcutta, Dec 22, 2011 (Databazaar Media Ventures) Silajit is a name to reckon with. He combines in himself, the talents of a poet, music composer, singer and actor. He has played an interesting character in Premangshu Roy’s debut film Katakuti. But it is also a character he is somewhat stereotyped in, of a husband whose marriage has reached a stasis and he has extended himself to another relationship. Katakuti is no different except that “In this film, I keep my links with my former girlfriend Pritha knowing fully well that my wife does not like it,” says Silajit, smiling.

How do you bring about a happy marriage between singing, composing music, writing and acting?

I do not think these are contradictory or conflicting in any way. In fact, I believe that my music enriches my acting and vice versa. The two are complementary and supporting. There is no point of stasis in either. Why, I write books and also paint when the mood takes me. So, as far as I am concerned, there is nothing problematic about doing both – singing and acting.

What motivates you to give the green signal to a role or film?

There are several in fact and it is difficult to grade or pinpoint which comes first. For example, money is the primary motive. But I often make exceptions if there is a significant role. For a new director who comes to me with a good script, I am game. For a veteran director, there is financial viability for the film and the project so usually it is a ‘yes.’ Footage is not a critical issue with me though. For example, in Sandip Ray’s Tintorettor Jishu I hardly had a role to speak of and no dialogue. But I accepted it because I wanted to work with Sandip Ray and his team. On the other hand, I rejected an offer from Mira Nair for a role in Namesake because it was a very insignificant role.

How has the experience of working with a relatively new team in Katakuti been?

Interview: Rudraprasad Sengupta on 28th Nandikar National Theater Festival 2011 and more

Inauguration of Nandikar's 28th National Theater FestivalCalcutta, Dec 20, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio / Penning Creations) Noted Indian theater actor-director and head of the Kolkata-based internationally renowned Nandikar drama troupe Rudraprasad Sengupta shares some of his thoughts behind the 2011 Nandikar's National Theater Festival - the 28th consecutive year the landmark event in Indian theater is being successfully organized.

Sengupta emphasizes the ability of theater to break the boundaries of language and cultures constricting mankind to specific chunks of civilization, and shares with us how one of the best plays he has had an opportunity to watch was in Poland in the Polish language, which he could follow in spite of knowing only a couple of words of the language.

Speaking during the inauguration of the 28th edition of the Nandikar National Theatre Festival (full report here), the man who took Nandikar from a theater group to a social institution for theater spoke about how the art of theater doesn’t just need revival for its aesthetic beauty but also its power as a social tool.

Listen to Sengupta online via WBRi on-demand radio broadcast service.

Interview: Up Close with Nicola Marsh - the Queen of Romance on Her Mainstream Debut Novel "Busted in Bollywood"

[JPG Image: Nicola Marsh]Nov 24, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio / Penning Creations) Weaving fantasies that teenage dreams are made of, Nicola Marsh shot to fame as an author of the famous Mills & Boon series, starting in late 2001. She has penned more than 50 books since then and has to her credit an impressive line-up of awards including the celebrated HOLT (Honoring Outstanding Literary Talent), Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award, Booksellers' Best, Laurel Wreath and more. This USA Today and Waldenbooks bestseller author currently writes for Harlequin Mills and Boon Romance and Riva/Presents series and 31 of her books released from under the banner has sold over 3 million copies worldwide in more than 10 different languages.

Up for grabs is “Busted in Bollywood”, yet another dishy chick-lit to be released on December 6th this year and will be available in print as well as e-book formats. In an up close with Nicola, she shares her recipe for sassy romantic fictions, talks about her forthcoming book and more…

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.

A musical interview with singer Somlata Acharyya Chowdhury

SomlataCalcutta, Nov 19, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) Hirak Bhattacharya chats up singer Somlata Acharyya Chowdhury in this video interview about her music, experience and current and future projects, her dual careers and her thoughts on the current Indian music scenario. You might remember Somlata from an audio interview posted on WBRi just before the release of Anjan Dutta's (interview) latest Bengali feature film "Ranjana Ami Aar Ashbo Na" where she was the primary female playback singer.

Interview: Parambrata Chattopadhyay on Upcoming Bengali Movies Jani Dekha Hobe (2011) and more

Parambrata & RJ SushmitaWashington, DC, Nov 13, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) You may remember we had spoken with actor-director-producer Parambrata Chattopadhyay a few months ago (audio posted here) about his diretorial debut "Jiyo Kaka". Parmbrata's spectacular ascedency in Bengali film continues with many eagerly awaited roles including the lead role in 033 director Birsa Dasgupta's 2nd Bengali feature film "Jani Dekha Hobe" and Srijit Mukherji's to-be-titled 3rd film. In this audio interview, Arijit Chakraborty chats up Parambrata about his next eagerly awaited Bengali movie and upcoming projects.

As you know, the sensational new film-maker Srijit Mukherji (interview) is a close buddy of Parambarata, and Srijit had originally written the story of "Baishe Srabon" in 2008 for a telefilm that Parambrata was on the verge of making at the time. But Parambrata was unable to execute the project due to multiple reasons including an opportunity that presented itself for Parambrata to study at a world-class film school in England as well as a bit of disinterest on the TV channel's part to air a film with the kind of story Srijit had penned. Baishe Srabon finally happened as a full-length Bengali feature film directed by Srijit (his 2nd film after "Autograph") and turned out to be a spectacular success with Parambrata himself in the leading cast.

Interview: Bengali-American Painter Saumi Nandy

Scorpion - A Painting by Saumi NandyCalcutta, Nov 3, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) Saumi Nandy is a passionate painter, a compulsion almost akin to breathing as she states. The California based Bengali painter was born and bought up in the ‘city of joy’ completing her schooling from Calcutta Girl’s High School. She then completed her bachelor degree in English Hons and went abroad to earn her MBA degree in Human Resource Management from The University Of Abertay, Dundee, Scotland. She worked as a Human Resource Executive for a leading MNC giving up a lucrative career to pursue her calling.

Saumi chats with Subhomoy Mukherjee in Kolkata in this exclusive video interview on WBRi.

Interview: Babul Supriyo - Noted Bengali, Hindi and Regional Indian Singer

Bollywood Hindi & Tollywod Bengali Film Songs Singer Babul SupriyoMichigan, Nov 1, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) Babul Supriyo is a well known personality in the music world of India. Be it playback singing or independent albums, he has very successfully carved a place for himself and has also won the heart of millions around the world with his soulful singing.

Listen to Babul Supriyo chat with Bidisha Bagchi about his career, future plans and the reality talent-hunt TV shows in India.

Interview: Gautam Susmit - The Noted Bengali, Hindi and South-Indian Film Songs Lyricist

By Mou Sanyal and Soumitra Talukdar

Noted Bollywood and Bengali Movie Lyricist GAUTAM SUSHMITCalcutta, November 1, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) The leading lyricist of Bengali Film Industry who has also worked with Bollywood , Oriya , South Indian (Chennai) and Bangladeshi film industries, Gautam Susmit talks to Mou Sanyal and Soumitra Talukdar (camera) in an intimate and exclusive video interview on behalf of Washington Bangla Radio.

When he was asked about the significance of his name, Gautam Susmit admits that it is merely a pen- name . His name is actually Gautam Bhattacharya. At an early age he dreamed of being a writer and wrote many small stories and poems . He is very fond of Rabindranath Tagore from a young age and imitated him by signing with date and place at the end of every writing.

Noted Bollywood and Bengali Movie Lyricist GAUTAM SUSHMITIn the early 1990s he went to Bombay (Mumbai) where he worked with an advertisement company. He came in contact with music director Tridib Roy Chowdhury who encouraged him to write songs and introduced Gautam as a lyricist in an album.

Meanwhile he was introduced to Mr Champak Jain, owner of Venus Records. He was given the job of translation of Hindi to Bengali songs. Within a year (1996) Gautam became the lyricist of nearly 22 albums (nearly 220 songs) to his credentials.

When Gautam Susmit was asked which movie would be the best according to him from his long movie list, he smiled and said that it was not the long list, but the quality of his work that should count as credentials.

His first film was Moner Manush as Bengali feature film. Most of the songs in it became hits at that time. The song "Porle Premer Jale" sung by Alka Yagnik was a big hit. After that were "Sasurbari Jindabad", "Pratibad" and "Sathi". The songs of "Saathi" became very popular. Then he worked with films like "Annadata", "Premi" , "Bandhan" , "Prem Amar" , "Amanush" , "Bolo Na Tumi Amar" , "Amar Sangi" , "Piriti Kathaler Atha" , "Priya Tumi" etc.

Watch our exclusive video interview with the noted Indian Bollywood (hindi), Tollywood Kolkata Bengali and South-Indian movie songs lyricist Goutam Sushmit.

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.

Srijit Mukherji's BAISHE SRABON (2011) Release on Prosenjit's Birthday: The Team Meets the Press (video feature)

By Subhomoy Mukherjee

Anupam, Parambrata, Srijit, Raima, Prasenjit, Gautam & Abir

Calcutta, September 25, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) The release date of Baishe Srabon (Bengali, 2011) is September 30, 2011.

Click Play to watch the Full Baishe Srabon (2011) Bengali Movie Press Meet Online via You Tube

Srijit wrote the script of 22se Srabon in 2008 when his buddy Parambrata requested him to write a script for a telefilm that Param would direct. But circumstances prevented Parambrata from making the film. Param then also missed the opportunity to work with Srijit in Autograph since he took an acting course abroad around the time Autograph was made. Param has finally managed to work with Srijit in Baishe Srabon and his happiness is palpable. He is also optimistic about the collaborative air in Tollywood - he directed the music video “Ei Srabon” for 22se Srabon. Param talks about his experience of sharing screen space with legends Prasenjit and Gautam Ghose, and how he tackled some explicit scenes necessary for the film. Do not miss Parambrata's sharing of an anecdote on why Srijit refers to Param and Prosenjit as the “Uttam Suchitra jodi”!

Anupam, Parambrata, Raima, Prasenjit, Gautam, Abir

Released in 1960, Madhabi Mukherjee starrer Baise Srabon was the 3rd feature film by legendary film director, Mrinal Sen. It was the first film which gave him international recognition. After half a century, Bengali movie buffs are waiting for 22se Srabon again from another Mukherjee-Sen combination – Director Srijit Mukherjee and Actress Raima Sen.

Yes, as you probably know by now, 22se Shrabon is the upcoming Bengali feature film directed by Srijit Mukherjee, his second directorial venture once again produced by Shree Venkatesh Films.

Team Baishe Srabon met the press in an open forum at the Park Hotel, Kolkata recently.

In a one-to-one interaction with Gautam Ghosh there, he said he has always been as much an actor as a director. He learned the science and art of acting from his teacher, Nitish Bhattacharya. He expressed his role in Srijit's film as that of a rebel poet who is an important link for the thriller. Goutam Ghose will be seen in a film's credits as an actor after 29 long years in Srijit's film.

In his chit-chat with WBRi, you have already heard Srijit Mukherji share his addiction for detective stories which in part inspired the story and script “22se Srabon’. He appreciated Prasenjit and hinted at starting his third project with Prosenjit soon. Srijit is also a great fan of Bengali poetry of 1960s and 70s and he is very happy to have had the opportunity of casting actor and film-maker Gautam Ghosh in an important role of a rebel poet in 22se Srabon - he has learned a lot from the great director who himself perfectly arranged everything required for portraying the role ...

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