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Music & Munch

Calcutta Club International evening, in association with The Telegraph, turned their 34-year-old bash into a wow weekend

Pictures by Rashbehari Das

On the menu

Banglar Jal-Khabar (Aaheli)
Italy ( Hotel Hindusthan International)
Greece (The Stadel)
Europe (Rubi’s Grill)
Calcutta (Oh! Calcutta)
China (Mainland China)
North West Frontier (Sigree)
Mongolia (Dan Sin Quin)
Hong Kong (Sugar & Spice)
Stalls from Nepal and Bangladesh consulates
Spain (Taaja’s)
USA Street (Afraa Deli)
UK (Red Xpress)
Afghanistan (The Astor)
South East Asia ( The Flying Monk)
Malaysia, Singapore (Straits)
UAE (Shiraz)
Thailand (Fortune Select Loudon)
Coastal India (Tamarind)
Japan (Wasabee)
North India (Punj-aab)
Awadh (Naushijaan)
Dakshin Bharat (Banana Leaf)
Germany (Calcutta Club stall)
Nalin Chandra Das & Sons
Balaram Mullick & Radharaman Mullick

THE MIRTH

the evening’s LOL moments...

Calcutta Club president Dilip Kumar Saha greets Suhel Seth and Shatrughan Sinha. Jawhar Sircar of Prasar Bharati and C.S. Verma of SAIL and NMDC were also present.

Jawhar Sircar on Suhel Seth: There’s some school on the way to Xavier’s... something called La Marts (La Martiniere for Boys). He studied there. They produce good students once in a while, but he wasn’t one. They produce good speakers, he is one. He is the first person who has made a living by insulting people!

Suhel Seth: I used to come to International Evening many years ago. Women were much younger, there are still many young women today. The men remained the same! BBC had once asked me if India is safe. I said yes, but in two time zones. Between 1 and 4pm when the PM is sleeping and between 10pm-1am when a particular minister sleeps with anyone he can find!

ShotGun shoots from the lip

Real tiger pugmarks set in clay and paintings on the green theme by Shahjahan of Santiniketan, were presented.

Jawhar Sircar told me, ‘promise you won’t take much time’. I said I can’t. But I can only promise what Liz Taylor had promised her eighth husbandů I won’t keep you for long.

I had changed my name to S.P. Sinha.... I used to do many ‘outstanding’ roles then. Most of the times I used to stand outside the frame!

I then made my name Shatrughna Sinha. But when I thought the spelling was difficult I changed it to Shatrughan. And I thought the story was over. But it had just started. My Punjabi friends called me Shatruganj, like Paharganj. My Bengali friends call out “Ei je Shyottrughno eshchhe.” When I am in south India they introduce me as Shatrugnan Sinna. The Gujaratis change both my name and surname — Shatrujan Sia. Once in Pakistan they introduced me as Shatrumurgh Sinha!

My mother-in-law had outright rejected me. She said that since I was dark and her daughter was fair, even if a coloured photograph is clicked, it will turn out to be a black-and-white picture!

THE MUSIC

The raga was Kedar, but the instrument playing it was a saxophone. Actually, two saxophones. Brothers Jonathan and Andrew Kay, professional jazz musicians from Canada, eloquently played Kedar and then a bhajan in raga Bhimpalasi on their saxophones at Calcutta Club on Friday night. The Monsoon Duo — as the brothers call themselves — have been living in Calcutta for the past three years learning Indian classical music. “We’ve been playing the sax since our school days in Toronto but were drawn to Indian music, through the likes of Ravi Shankar,” says Jonathan, 31. Day Two was reserved for “Indo-Fusion”.

Advaita followed the brothers on Friday, rocking with original tracks like Miliha, Mandriva and Gorakh. “It was a great experience playing in Calcutta. We love the culture of the city. It understands the technicalities of music,” said Suhail Yusuf Khan, the band’s sarangi player.

Remo’s Top 5

FOR REMO FANS:
I am re-recording my first album, which was very Goa-centric. It was called Goan Crazy, recorded in 1983 and released in 1984. It was about the destruction of Goa. It was recorded on my first studio equipment. The recording methods were technically wrong. That album is a favourite with the Goans. I would like it to be remembered in a better quality.

Ya Ya Maya Ya: This one has all kinds of memories. It is made of different couplets, composed for different occasions.... I remember this song right from the time I was a kid.
It is a part of me.

Maria Pita Che: This song too has memories of my childhood. I have done a new version of this song for David (by Bejoy Nambiar) where two verses are written in Hindi. I have changed the beat a little bit. My personal interpretation of the song is that Maria is the name of a girl who enjoys her tipple!

Hamma hamma: I first discovered south Indian music when I was touring the south. In the car, the organisers were playing local film music. It was wow! The guy was Ilayaraja. Then they played A.R. Rahman. I fell in love with the music. A few months later I met Rahman backstage at an awards function in Delhi and he told me that when he was in college, his band used to play my compositions like Ocean Queen! We established a rapport. A week or two after that he gave me Hamma hamma (Bombay).

O meri munni: It means a lot to me. I was doing a show in a convent and the day after the concert my wife and I were sitting in the principal’s office and behind her there was this huge window. A bunch of schoolgirls were blowing kisses! One of them kissed me on my mouth, in front of the principal and my wife! I was pleasantly surprised. I was happy that a sexual revolution was finally hitting India, but was thinking that it’s come a little late because there was AIDS and they were ignorant about the danger. That is why I felt like writing this song to a 13-year-old girl.

Pyaar toh hona hi tha/ta: Jaspinder Narula was a great Whitney Houston fan and she sang a few bars of a Whitney Houston song. I always like to improvise and I told her to put some of that into the song. I was also not aware that I saying ‘ta’ instead of ‘tha’! That’s a Goan pronunciation.

TOP ACT

A fire juggler burning bright.

THE Merry

Here’s how Calcutta moved on Saturday night — first to Remo’s beats and then to DJ Akbar Sami’s music. Subah hone na de, Party abhi baaki hai, Chammak challo, Tumhi ho bandhu, Radha, Pungi, Gangnam Style = lots and lots of shake it, baby!

Text: Brinda Sarkar, Raveena Sethia, Sneha Dutta, Saionee Chakraborty

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