The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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City Lights
A pocket-friendly funpoint

A family’s day out at Harry Garden includes fitness, food and festivitiesSpider-Man: The biggest grosser on home video

The middle class now has a toehold into the Calcutta club scene, thanks to a private club that has recently opened, around 20 minutes away from Garia. Harry Garden, positioning itself as a “family club” has opened its membership register, and is looking to attract anyone with a moderate bank balance, a decent job, and a desire to unwind.

A jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, swimming pool and meditation room are just a few of the features of the club at Kodalia, near Narendrapur in South 24-Parganas. Indoor games like air-hockey, table tennis, a children’s corner, banquet and conference facilities and a multi-cuisine restaurant are also thrown in at a reasonable Rs 3,500 per year. The club had its soft launch on October 19 with around 20 members, but a total of 2,000 is the figure the management is looking at to achieve targets. The complete menu will be ready early November.

The club is relatively small, with an investment of around Rs 1.75 crore. The facilities are not elaborate, but it is neat, and hopes are to maintain an atmosphere that can include all. “There is a large section of people who are left out of clubs because of their prohibitive pricing and long wait for membership,” says Indraneel Majumdar, CEO of I&S Corp, which is managing the club. The housing complexes on the stretch of the EM Bypass beyond Ruby Hospital are the first target.

Kids will be given a run of the 50-acre premises. Fun events for families, like antakshari and fetes will also be held. So might the occasional disco night, but that will not be the emphasis at the club. The menu includes a healthy mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian fare. Again, patrons should expect not a gourmet spread, but rather good food comparatively easy on the pocket. Small parties and get-togethers can be catered here, though the authorities are not likely to allow marriages and other large functions that will disturb the ambience for other club users.

Most facilities will be free through the week, with nominal charges on the weekends. The sauna, steam room and jacuzzi will be charged on weekdays at Rs 40, a rate which will go up by Rs 20 on weekends. Swimming pool users on weekends will pay Rs 30. Of the Rs 3,500 membership fee for individuals, food coupons worth Rs 500 will be given for the first three months. Family membership — for parents and up to two children under the age of 15 years — comes at Rs 1,000 dearer. Corporate schemes for either five or eight employees are available at Rs 20,000 and Rs 30,000 respectively.

After gauging the initial response, the management will decide whether it should upgrade the facilities to include more guestrooms (there are currently only two). Massage facilities may also be included at a later date.

Companies have already used the facilities for meetings, and picnic bookings are pouring in for the next few months.

Shaggy dog story

Kishore Chatterjee is a tireless listener of music, painter and writer. Besides giving talks on Western classical music, he has produced a formidable body of sketches, doodles, pastels, paintings and sculptures on themes as various as Jesus Christ, landscapes, flower studies and male nudes. But as anybody who knows him close enough must be aware, he has always been obsessed with dogs, both the stray kind and also the more exotic varieties.

In his exhibition Dogarhythms that opens at the Academy of Fine Arts from November 3, Chatterjee records his personal encounters with the canine species. Cute or cuddly, hairy or bald they all have something in common — they reflect the artist’s idiosyncrasies. In one picture, a small dog faces a phantom canine. Dogs become excited in the presence of spooks. Using a variety of mediums from linocut to pastel and conti, some of these fluffy creatures stare straight into your eyes demanding to be loved. Others with eyes as large as saucers look as weird as their human counterparts we meet all the time. Whatever their expression, they are all light-hearted and funny, a rare quality that few artists dare to acknowledge.

Chatterjee shows their snouts to advantage but often they could hold a staring competition with their large soulful eyes. Chatterjee draws these creatures with unfaltering and bold lines. Often he paints them with a curious combination of yellow, red, green and blue. Chatterjee has also designed lovely book covers with dabs of paint and squiggles and they are also on display.

He has also done two wonderful studies of canine heads, the bone structure reduced to a triangle. Chatterjee has executed a small body of work but it is the kind of thing no serious lover of dogs can afford to miss.

15, and counting

It’s the 15th anniversary of the theatre group Chokh this weekend, and the members are all set to celebrate with a mix of fun and solemnity. On Saturday, a seminar on ‘Group Theatre Charitra Badlachhe’ has been organised at Bangla Akademi, at 6 pm. The speakers are Dibyendu Palit, Debesh Roy, Sourin Bhattacharya and Chhatrapati Dutta, with Samik Bandopadhyay as the moderator.

On Sunday, two plays will be staged by the group at Academi of Fine Arts, both written and directed by secretary of Chokh, Abhijit Kargupta. At 10 am is Bhanga Manush, based on the oppression of Dalits at the hands of rich landlords, who still use their banned private army to tyrannise them.

Antah Salil, a musical portraying the nautch girls who still live and work in Calcutta, will be enacted at 6.30 pm. The central character, a tawaif, represents women in general, depicting the plight of the weaker sex with the onslaught of globalisation. The play includes traditional as well as modern songs.

Seniors on song

Senior citizens of the city will have a song on their lips over the next week. MusicWorld, Calcutta’s leading music retail outlet, has organised a week-long tribute to senior citizens from November 1 to 8 at the Park Street store. During this period, all senior citizens walking into the store will be offered a flat 15 per cent discount on all music cassettes and CDs they choose to buy.

“This is just a token of appreciation for their continuing support. We know many of them visit our store after travelling a long distance, braving chaotic traffic conditions. We would like to tell them we care and need their blessings,” says regional manager Lalita Sinha.

While Dwijen Mukhopadhyay will be the guest of honour on the opening day, Suchitra Mitra, who has graced most of the landmark events of the music chain outlets, will conclude the week’s proceedings on the coming Saturday (November 8).

The MusicWorld management has also invited such senior luminaries of the city like Tapen Chatterjee, Soumitra Chattopadhyay, Sunil Gangopadhyay, Sandhya Mukherjee, Madhabi Chatterjee, Pratima Bandopadhyay, Mahasveta Devi and Supriya Devi to be part of the weeklong event.

Out in the green

Saturday holds the promise of an outing for a bunch of youngsters from an ashram, with a green twist. Forty children from Howrah Sri Ramakrishna Sangha will be taken on an eco-educational tour of The Agri-Horticultural Society of India garden in Alipore. Organised by HSBC, the nature presentation aims to inculcate environmental awareness in the children.

The group will be guided by the staff of the Society, who will help them identify the types of trees, plants and flowers. The kids will be taught about the importance of each in terms of medicinal, aesthetic, economic and conservational values. To round off the afternoon’s fun and learning, a drawing and painting competition and a green quiz will also be held, with prizes for the winners.

A parting present of a potted plant will be given to each child for him to nurture and grow, so as to continue the interest in conservation.

Home theatre

Spider-Man, Men in Black, Charlie’s Angels, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon… all of them are ready to march into your drawing room. Columbia TriStar has tied up with Asia Vision Home Entertainment to launch the DVD format of its catalogue of blockbusters in India. This will mark the first such venture by a Hollywood studio.

While the master copy of the DVDs has been manufactured in Austria, the replication will be done in India under the supervision of Sony Music, to ensure a fine viewing experience. Four titles will be rolled out of the DVD stable in the first three months, after which the figure will rise to eight. The studio also plans to bring out classics like Mackenna’s Gold and Lawrence of Arabia within the first six months of the launch.

Priced at Rs 599, the DVDs comes with a free VCD of another film with every purchase as an inaugural offer. The DVDs also carry a bonus of exciting games, puzzles, screensavers and other downloads. Considering there are over 2,500 films on Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment racks, a feast in the comfort of home beckons film buffs.

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