Posts Tagged ‘Kolkata’

Indian actor Aamir Khan

Taslima Nasreen receiving Ananda Award.










Madame Taslima Nasreen is upset. “Who’s that?”, you might ask. Well, folks, she’s the Rakhi Sawant of the literary circles. That cheap woman who has been trying to earn some cheap publicity since the early 90s through the oldest proven way. By creating a controversy. Now most people of her kind, the honorable Poonam Pandey, Kim Kardashian et al, go for creating a shock among the population and then riding that controversy to sell things; books, reality shows, lingerie lines etc. This lady, had a brilliant plan. She has been writing consistently(Yes, I’ve read a few, out of curiosity) to the effect that Islam is..well, not that holy, The Prophet was…well, not a nice person and practically every man, especially a Muslim man, from her own uncle to every renowned author and artist, is a sex-offender and a child-molester. Sorry about not being more specific, but I cannot write the specifics without vomiting, and they’re certainly not worth reading. In short, what she tried to write is sort of halfway between Mein Kampf and Letters to Penthouse, with neither the fire of the first or the pleasure of the second. But I digress, I’m sorry. I am not going to not going to waste my time judging the literary merits of her writings, for the excellent reason that they don’t have any.

We hear that her ladyship is upset these days. She has been upset since she learned that Aamir Khan‘s Satyamev Jayate has generated a lot of interest and concern among the populace. Her problem, in her own words, “From now on film stars should talk about social problems on TV. Everybody will listen to them. Ppl don’t listen to human rights activists (sic).” Right. For starters, who’s the human rights activist? You?? Kinda forgotten, haven’t we, that two people died in a police shooting in Kerala while protesting against your filth, and you declared that you’re not sorry? Besides, what exactly is it that you’re upset about? You always claimed to be a champion of oppressed women. You should be cheering that people are finally waking up to the realities of female foeticide. Why does it bother you that people listen to filmstars and not to you? Isn’t it more important that they are listening? The lady also has a few more grand ideas and suggestions.  She wrote, “Dear Salman Khan, please talk about rape, domestic violence and dowry murder on TV tomorrow. Ppl should know about these problems(sic),” and added, “Dear Shahrukh Khan, pl talk about sexual abuse & sexual slavery on TV. Ppl shd know about these problems. We talk, but we’re not film stars(sic).” For once, I agree. If they do, people will listen. You know why, you fake? Because these people are good at what they do. And people tend to listen to such people. Yes, the glam factor plays a role too, of course.  And I would be the first to agree that the stars often take up social activities to promote themselves. What on earth is wrong with that? It’s how they earn their living. And if some social good comes of that marketing plan, it is good for everyone.

Yes, I know what you’ve been thinking since that tweet. “Uh-oh, I just proved, with my own words, that I’m concerned more about my popularity than those issues and those poor women I holler about.” Don’t worry sweetheart, all hypocrites sooner or later let slip their true colors. Seems this was your turn.

The second grand idea the mad woman had, is even better. “I’ll put a film star’s name as author of my next book and will put his/her pretty face on the cover(sic),” she wrote. Yes, please do. We’ll be spared your filth. A lot of people will be spared the trouble of rioting and protesting. The police will be spared a few difficult days of public disturbance. The government will be spared a few debates. And we will be spared your ugly face on morning television, hopefully. Anyways, in case you’re really truthful about this great idea for your next book, and you seldom are about anything, may I suggest that it’s Deepika Padukone’s pretty face you choose, not just for the cover but for all the pages?

Tell me, Ms. Nasreen, you have cried and raved and ranted a lot about the fact that you don’t have a country to call home. Have you ever asked yourself why? Have you ever wondered, why is it that in a country like India, where even Baba Ramdev is popular, you cannot find a home? I don’t know what exactly is the problem you’ve got with Islam and it’s believers. And I honestly don’t care. What I do know is this : If a million of my countrymen, (and make no mistake, they are my countrymen) are offended when you open your mouth, you better shut up. You don’t believe in Islam or The Prophet? I’ve got news for you love, I don’t even believe in God. And I’ve always said so, along with my reasons when asked, to Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Buddhists. Nobody has asked for my head, nobody has demanded that I leave the country. It’s time you learned that the constitution guarantees freedom of Speech, not Abuse.  Yes, I’ve always known that TV shows are meant to be sold, and nothing else. Nobody ever pretended otherwise. Why are you so mad? And finally, let me get this straight, you are upset that people are paying more attention to Aamir Khan than they ever paid you? That’s hilarious!

I’ll tell you why you’re not so popular as Aamir Khan, despite all your pathetic efforts. I’ll tell you why everybody hates you. I’ll tell you why nobody listens to you. It’s because they see through your bullshit. They saw through the Viswa Hindu Parishad’s bullshit, they saw through the neo-nazis propaganda, they saw through George Bush’ WMD theory, and now they have seen through yours. Tough Luck, sweetheart, happens to you all. If you’re still confused, I’ll make it more simple.

It’s because you cannot fool too many people for too long. Remember the name of the show you are so upset about?

“Satyamev Jayate”

Truth Alone Prevails, Bitch!

Portrait of Satyajit Ray created by me in 1997...

Portrait of Satyajit Ray created by me in 1997 and edited in 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This movie made me cry at 4:30 am and that too in front of my college buddies but to my amazement I was not even ashamed to do so. The movie was none other than “Apur Sansar“( ‘The world of Apu’ in English ) , a masterpiece created by the genius director Satyajit Ray.  This movie is based on a novel written by famous bengali author Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay. I will not talk much about the movie as that’s not my intention and secondly that’s going to destroy the emotions of the movie.

It was not the first movie by Satyajit Ray which I have seen , I have been his fan since I was 10. He is the creator of the famous character Feluda. There is not a single bengali household which is not obsessed by Feluda. ray’s books and movies are evergreen and enjoyed by people of every age.  There have been numerous translations of his books and few of them are also globally acclaimed.If you are a bengali then I would request you to read the complete Feluda and Shanku series. Please do .

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

He is the best director that bengal has ever seen and his direction is way ahead of his time and he worked with such creativity that even modern day technology fails to portray emotions and feelings that precisely.  The characters were  well defined  and the actors were  handpicked and were crafted to perfection. The must watch movies are The Apu Trilogy, Debi, Pratidwandi, Agantuk, Satranj Ke Khiladi, Goopy Bagha series, Sonar Kella, Aranyer Din Ratri, Jalsaghar,Nayak.  Ray’s first film, Pather Panchali (1955), won eleven international prizes, including Best Human Documentary at the Cannes film festival. This film, Aparajito (1956) and Apur Sansar (1959) form The Apu Trilogy. Ray did the scripting, casting, scoring, and editing, and designed his own credit titles and publicity material. He won a special lifetime achievement award at the 1992 Acadamy Awards. Legends like  filmmaker Akira Kurosawa and Ray were acquainted. Kurosawa said of Ray’s work, “To have not seen the films of Ray is to have lived in the world without ever having seen the moon and the sun”.

Bengali movies started way back before Satyajit started making movies. Legends like Mrinal Sen and Ritwik Ghatak made great impression in movie industries worlwide. Modern bengali directors like Rituporno ghosh and Srijit Mukherji also made wonderful movies. But till date I consider Ray to be the greatest director, creative mind and visionary of Bengal

Someplace Else (Kolkata) Stage.jpg

Image via Wikipedia

If I think about bars and pubs the first thing that comes into mind  apart from drinking is either good food, nice music with good ambiance, cheap booze and cheap food or hot chicks around. That’s how I classify the bars and pubs. I would like to site some examples and discuss about them in short.

To be honest the pub culture in Kolkata is not up to the mark if we compare it to cities like Bangalore, Delhi or Mumbai. The sad part is if you speak about this topic to any orthodox Kolkata lover they will talk about the 70’s when Kolkata was the pioneer in pub culture. Trinca’s being the most famous pub at that time along with Blue Fox, Moulin Rouge or  Oasis. However the scene these days are not that good. The city now which is the pioneer in this culture is Bangalore or Delhi. I have visited a lot of pubs in Bangalore and few in Delhi. If you visit Bangalore do not miss Legends of rock (personal favourite), Mojos, Hard Rock Cafe, Purple Haze, Peco’s or Styx or @Live (try out their Mojito) in Connaught place , New Delhi. However, nothing beats the feeling of drinking in your own house or in your friends house with an ‘used to’ and homely environment around you.

Now let us give you brief idea about the classification of the bars in Kolkata along with examples.

  • Bars and pubs with good food : These are pubs which serve not average but really good food. If you are going for Continental food do not miss out on Mocambo in park street. They have a wide variety of delicious continental dishes like sizzlers, chicken melanese, devilled crab and many more. I do not want to mention any more dishes or my appetite will increase and I will have to starve till its morning.   Other restaurants include Peter Cat, famous for Chello Kababs. You can try out One Step Up, Moulin Rouge, they also serve good quality continental. If you are trying for oriental dishes don’t miss out Tung Fong in Park Street or Beijing in Topsia. For spicy tandoori with beer try out Tandoor Park in Dhakuria. If you want something over the top then go for Sigree, Ivory or try out the bars in the top notch hotels. But I would not suggest these if your pocket is not heavy.

  • Bars and pubs with good music and ambiance : Well Kolkata lacks in this category a lot. The only few almost affordable places are ‘Someplace Else’ in The Park hotel, ‘Gossip’ near Ajoynagar, ‘Opium’ in sector 5 saltlake and ‘Princeton club’ in Prince Anwar Shah road. I would have also included ‘House of Kommons’ in saltlake sector5 but the pop/rap/punk loud music created nothing but headaches. If you want to enjoy live music try out Princeton club or  Someplace Else (some people prefer calling it Sampi). Sampi have an excellent 7 day band line up.The line up includes bands like Krosswindz, Insomnia, Crystal Glass, Orient Express and  my favorite  Hip Pocket who covers amazing classic rock bands like Pink Floyd,The doors, Santana, CCR, Jimi Hendrix and many more  and they are just perfect. If you want to listen to Amyt Dutta‘s “Pink Noise” then go to Princeton. Other places like Gossip is famous for the cozy dim light ambiance. Opium is great for the music (Pink Floyd, The doors, pearl jam, scorpions etc) and the underground garage theme, plus they have a good variety of affordable drinks and food. Am really digging in to find more pubs in this category. So guys if you know of any other places please let me know.

  • Bars with cheap booze and cheap food : The first thing that comes into my head is “Shaws”. Now this  is one place that needs a description. This place has rules like you cannot enter the bar if the darwan (a government employee security guard) guesses your age to be under 22. I must say he is not a good guesser as he did not allow a friend of mine who looks pretty old and aged 28. The bar does not allow any girls so its like a sausage festival inside.  The last rule is you HAVE to drink if you are inside or else they will throw you out. The food served are all snacks of tremendous variety. They serve everything ranging from chilly chicken, keema curry to cheese, salad, chips and  guava slices worth 2 rupees.  Everything over there is pre-paid. The foods are carried out by people like vendors in a bus or train. If you call them they will show you what they have and you can pay and get them. The drinks menu is displayed in an electronic board just like stock prices in share markets. The booze is pretty reasonable. You get a large peg of Royal Stag for 45 bucks. However, don’t be surprised if you find out that you are the youngest in a crowd of 150 people drinking around you. Now if you want to find cheaper booze you have to head towards Topsia and visit Chinatown. Its a den of Chinese restaurants and you can choose to order full bottle of  Royal Stag for 500 bucks. The food is all Chinese and we are regulars at a place called “China Gardens”. There is another very old and famous place in Park Street where you get pretty cheap booze and a good variety of  low price continental food called “Oly Pub”. Its famous for its Beef Steak and Chicken A-la-Kiev. Am pretty sure there are more of these in Kolkata which I have yet to find.

  • Bars and pubs where you will find drunk chicks: There is a simple definition for these kind of of places. More the sugar more the sweetness. So guys you will have to really pour your cash from pockets and drink  in places like Someplace Else, Roxy, Venom, The Underground and Tantra and you might be fortunate enough to get lucky.

Wishing you “all the best” for your pub ventures. Now its my time to enjoy a good drink. Cheers!!