| Rangan Duttagupta
You will find him in the office of the MBA department of IISW&BM. You will also find him manning the little magazine stall at the Book Fair. For Rangan Duttagupta, senior assistant at the College Street institute, is also a small-scale publisher.
Literature had always been Duttagupta’s first love. Drama fascinated him in particular. So after landing a job as an accountant in IISW&BM in 1983, he started freelancing for newspapers while continuing with theatre, especially on the rural stage. “I often used to bunk office to perform in the districts,” he recalls with a guilty smile.
His love for writing inspired him to do a BA in Bengali in 1990. He was planning on a Masters when his life took a new turn. “It all started with a club souvenir which we used to circulate during the Puja. In 1992, instead of the regular bulletin, we published a magazine called Bhavna. Call it beginnner’s luck, but it went on to win the Drama Academy Award that year.”
The work caught his imagination. From 1994, he started publishing Asamayer Natya Bhabana, a magazine on rural theatre. “Rural theatre is more original and innovative than its urban counterpart staged in air-conditioned halls.”
Apart from publishing works of budding playwrights, Asamayer Natya Bhabana showcases theatrical activities throughout rural India. A product of the teamwork of Duttagupta, his wife Chandrani and friend Soumen Das, the magazine has had a successful run in the districts for a decade. It also enjoys niche markets in Andaman, Tripura, Delhi and Jharkhand. Though the earnings hardly make up for the production cost, Rangan has no regrets. “My job with IISW&BM more than makes up for my needs.”
One of the main reasons behind the magazine’s popularity, he says, is the bold catchline — Amra toaj korina, torko tuli (We do not flatter, we trigger off debates). Besides, the magazine encourages young talent, even children. The cover of the last edition was drawn by a six-year-old.
In 1999, he set up his own publishing house, Toon Prakash, named after his son. Its first publication was Thikana, a directory of theatre artistes across the districts.
The book has been selling around 1,000 copies in every Book Fair. Now the house publishes works on theatre.
“This year the magazine has received a grant from the Sangeet Natak Academy in Delhi,” he beams.
This is the publisher. At IISW&BM, he is the live information kiosk for students who run to Ranganda with myriad problems — the routine of the new semester or deadlines for submission of season fees or project reports. “These students are as much a part of my life as the theatre and Toon Prakash.”