Exclusive WBRi Kolkata Bangla Radio Interviews, Reviews, Features & Profiles

Bharati Mitra & Tagore Music Group of Washington Spellbind Capacity Audience with Chhobi - A Musical


Bengali Musical Production CHHOBIGermantown, Maryland, June 26, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio) On Sunday June 24, 2012, The Tagore Music Group of Greater Washington DC, lead by Bharati Mitra (interview) of Gaithersburg presented CHHOBI - A Musical to a mesmerized capacity audience at the BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown. The performance showcased an innovative collaboration between the Tagore Music Group and students of the Natyabhoomi School of Dance of Bethesda which is lead by Deepti Naville. Deepti teaches the Indian classical Bharatnatyam dance form while her sister Shruthi Mukund teaches fusion dance at Natyabhoomi.

Chhobi is adapted from a short story by iconic Bengali writer Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay set in Burma (Myanmar). The musical production stands out for successfully and seamlessly blending in songs by another Bengali icon - Rabindranath Tagore, and Burmese folk dances to the script as well as the general air of authenticity by using Burmese dresses and music. Shruthi Mukund of Natyabhoomi deserves kudos for successfully studying and learning Burmese folk dance from videos on the internet, choreographing and teaching her students all in a short time with impressive results on stage.


Models Blaze Ramp at One Love! One Passion! Bollywood Themed Fashion Show in Washington DC

Fashion Show Washington DC BollywoodWashington, DC, June 25, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio) Beautiful models from the cultural melting pot of the Washington DC area displayed remarkable Indian and western designs to a packed house on June the 23rd at the I Lounge of I, the Indian Experience in Washington, DC.

An exclusive report and watch a video on WBRi.


Interview: National Award-Winning Composer Mayookh Bhaumik – Making Magic with Music

By Shoma A. Chatterji

The following is a sponsored article from Databazaar Media Ventures. Watch unlimited latest Bengali movies and TV shows in USA and Canada on your TV set via Databazaar Media. Laptop, Aparajita Tumi, Nobel Chor, Baishe Srabon, Katakuti and countless other quality superhit Bangla movies : click here for details >

Tollywood Kolkata Bangla Movie Music Composer Mayukh Bhaumik

Calcutta, June 20, 2012 (Databazaar Media Ventures) Mayookh Bhaumik looks as if he is fresh out of college. But looks are deceptive and the National Award for the Best Background Score he has received this year is the biggest example. The prize is for his score for Kaushik Ganguly’s film Laptop. Incidentally, Laptop is now accessible by Bengali NRIs settled across North America and Canada because Databazaar Media, the biggest entertainment distribution company within the Bengali film world abroad, has acquired the rights of distribution, screening, streaming and telecasting Laptop across these two countries. Over to Mayookh.

What brief did Kaushik give you when you were signed on for Laptop?

He told me that the film consisted of four different stories with different characters, interactions and resolutions. The only connecting link between and among the four stories was a laptop – the same laptop that gets into their lives and changes these lives in different ways. So, he said I had to create a theme and when I created it where music would spell out the bonding with the laptop and called it the laptop theme.


Interview: Award-Winning Actor SHAHEED K WOODS on Rohit Gupta's "Life! Camera Action ..." : "Acting is Freedom"

Washington, DC, June 19, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio) In a recent interview with Gurjeet Singh of WBRi, the award winning actor Shaheed K Woods, who plays the role of Mike in the globe-trotting, awards sweeper feature film “LIFE! CAMERA, ACTION…”, produced and directed by Rohit Gupta, we learn of his passion for film, his experience on set and his take on the craft of acting.

He is one of the most memorable characters from the film and is talked about often among it’s audience. Shaheed won the Best Supporting actor award (his first) at the 28th Goldie Film Awards 2012 held in the US, where the film walked away with top 9 most popular and special board of directors award.

A simple and quick yes to be part on this film will change his destiny and put him on the global map, is far from what he ever imagined while working on this film. Sounds like a fairy tale, but real in every sense.

Indian American Indie Movie Actors Shaheed K Woods Dipti Mehta Jyoti Singh
Shahid Woods, Dipti Mehta and Jyoti Singh at a press conference in Jersey City, NJ

Shaheed K Woods was born in Jersey city New Jersey. He grew up loving films and this passion has been evident in his performance on screen. At the young age of 7 years old, Shaheed decided to take on the vocation of acting. One film had a very large impact on this choice, “The Last Dragon”.  This film had an enormous impact on his style of acting as well, “ Telling a story that was truthful to me was something I really wanted to do, so I decided to do it through the medium of acting” Shaheed proudly exclaims. Becoming a stand-up comic was he decided as an adult, yet the ability to bring laughter to the people around him is also something that started in childhood. When asked why he chose stand-up, Shaheed told us “I really enjoy making people laugh… So I figured why not use this gift to further me in my career”. Shaheed has performed on the New York comedy circuit and has not lost his ability to make people laugh.

WBRi exclusive on-demand audio interview broadcast.


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.



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