An earlier edition of Rabindra Jayanti at Central Park, organised by Bidhannagar Sanskriti Angan
The Trinamul Congress-led Bidhannagar Municipality has notched up another first on the civic body’s cultural calendar. After organising the Salt Lake leg of the Calcutta Film Festival, the Bidhannagar Mela (Utsav) and Basanta Utsav on Doljatra, civic chief Krishna Chakraborty has announced the municipality’s decision to partner a cultural organisation in celebrating Rabindra Jayanti at Central Park on May 8.
Bidhannagar Sanskriti Angan, which has been organising the biggest Tagore birth anniversary in the Salt Lake area in terms of audience and artiste count at the same venue, has been unseated after 14 years.
The hike in booking fee for the Central Park fairground has forced Bidhannagar Sanskriti Angan to shift out. “The permission fee has gone up (from Rs 1,000 for the first week followed by Rs 500 per day subsequently) to a steep Rs 50,000 per day. It is not possible for an organisation like us to pay Rs 50,000 for a programme for which we would have to pay separately for the sound system, chairs and decoration. It is too much,” said Subhas Pal, general secretary of the organisation.
The organisation’s coffers have suffered a dent in recent times. “Earlier various organisations, residents and private companies used to help us financially. But that support has dried up. So we did not even apply to book the venue that has been ours on this day for 14 years,” he added.
Bidhannagar Sanskriti Angan has instead shifted to EZCC’s Purbasree auditorium. The bill, Pal says, would come to Rs 25,000, plus Rs 12,500 as security deposit.
The biggest beneficiary of this change of hands for the Central Park venue is another cultural organisation, Sreenandana. The Salt Lake-based organisation will get to organise its 11th Rabindra Jayanti at the fairgrounds — a far bigger and more prestigious venue than the HA Block community hall — in association with Bidhannagar Municipality and Paschimbanga Sanskriti Mancha.
They will not have to foot the bill for the venue. Civic chairperson Krishna Chakraborty said a letter had been sent to the urban development department requesting a waiver of the booking fee. “We would use the park only for a few hours. They have not responded yet. If they refuse, we will pay up,” Chakraborty said on Wednesday.
But the municipality cannot be blamed for favouring one local organisation over the other as partner. It was learnt that Bidhannagar Municipality had approached Bidhannagar Sanskriti Angan a fortnight ago. “We had hoped to celebrate Tagore’s 151st birthday on a grand scale with both organisations but Sanskriti Angan said their plans were finalised,” said the civic chief.
Pal admitted that he did receive the invitation. “They had approached us but it was too late. Our advertisements had already been printed, singers had been invited and invitation cards had gone out.” The organisation is also unwilling to be a partner in a show run by others. “We have an international identity. Singers from both sides of the Bengal border have performed here,” said Pal.
It is the newly forged link with the municipality that got Sreenandana the Central Park call-up. “Krishna Chakraborty approached us to celebrate Tagore’s birth anniversary together. We gladly accepted her request since we have partnered them for the cultural programmes at Bidhannagar Mela (Utsav). Our president was the cultural chairperson of the mela committee. We also took part in the Basanta Utsav that they organised at FD Park,” said founder-secretary of Sreenandana Parbati Gupta.
“Without the Bidhannagar Municipality’s assistance, we would not have had the means to organise Rabindra Jayanti at Central Park. The booking fee of the venue is beyond our budget. We are only taking care of the performers,” said Jayatee Chakraborty, president of Sreenandana.
In the process, Sreenandana’s partner for nine years, HA Block Residents’ Forum, has been left in the lurch. “All these years, we used to share responsibility for the programme. We used to give them Rs 20,000. They took care of food packets and conveyance of the performers while we were in charge of decoration and snacks,” said Subhas Mitra, secretary of HA Block Residents’ Forum.
“We had held several meetings with them about this year’s Rabindra Jayanti. Everything was settled. Then on April 21, they suddenly informed us that the civic body wanted them to join their show at Central Park,” said Mitra.
Undeterred, the block association has decided to organise its own Rabindra Jayanti at its community hall in a big way. The list of performers so far includes Promita Mullick, Sreeradha Bandyopadhyay, Rajeswar Bhattacharya, Abhirup Guhathakurata, Prabuddha Raha, Aniruddha Ghosal (Sasha), Shovansundar Basu, Manoj Murali Nair and Manisha Murali Nair.
May 8 roster
Bidhannagar Sanskriti Angan
Venue: Purbasree, EZCC
Time: 6am to 1pm, 5pm to 9.30pm
Venue: Central Park fairground
Time: 6.30am to 2pm
HA Block Residents’ Forum
Venue: HA Block community hall
Time: 7am to 12 noon
Which Rabindra Jayanti programme will you be attending?
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