The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Stayin’ alive

If you think, like a wet-behind-the-ears politician once did, that Calcutta is a dying city, think again. Or, better still, ask music director Pritam, and he will tell you how wrong you are. “There is no place better than Calcutta to find rock voices,” says the city boy who has set the score for Race. In his old home town to shoot for a television music talent hunt, he says he particularly likes the voice of Rupam Islam of the band Fossils. “He has shades of Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler,” says Pritam. Upal of Chandrabindoo and Subhojit of Lakkhichhara appeal to him, too. “I hope that some freshers debut under me from this wonderful city that has produced so many talents,” he says. The city rocks, so it can’t be dying, can it?


Award and onward

Chitra Palekar knows her cinema. The director, whose debut film Maati Maay has just won the Graine de Cinéphage jury award at the 30th International Women’s Film Festival in Creteil, near Paris, is already thinking about her new film. “My next film will explore the relationship of a mother and daughter and how it changes once the daughter discovers that her mother, who has been independent all her life, is suffering from Alzheimer’s,” she says. Buoyed by her success at the festival — Maati Maay, based on a short story by Mahasveta Devi, was screened thrice at the festival — Palekar has begun work on the new script. But while her first film starred Nandita Das and Atul Kulkarni, it remains to be seen who gets the two main roles in Chitra’s yet-to-be-named venture. Will the former actress direct herself?


Portrait of an artiste

Lovers of music take note — a documentary is being shot on one of the legends of Indian classical music, sarod maestro Buddhadeb Dasgupta. Produced by one of his disciples, Sumanto Mukherjee, and directed by film-maker Meeta Chandran, the documentary will feature the 75-year-old instrumentalist’s life and experiences. Mukherjee, meanwhile, has already approached a couple of television channels asking for air time. If all goes well, the notes of the sarod will soon waft into your living room.



Loser’s a winner

Fat is the new outcast. After actor Madhavan, who had to shed weight to look good enough for Kamal Hasan and Sarika’s beautiful young daughter, Shruti, for a new film, Rakhee Sawant has been carefully watching her weighing machine. That’s because the sizzler has been asked to do an “item number” in Rakesh Roshan’s film Krazzy 4, directed by Jaideep Sen. Nobody likes being called fat (“nicely plump” is a much better phrase), but the Bigg Boss babe is not complaining. “I thank God that I got an offer from such a prestigious house like Rakeshji’s,” she says. “Thanks to him, I lost weight and got a new look for my song.” The song in question is Dekhta Hai Tu Kya. We’re watching, we’re watching.


Kishwar & Kaur

Some years ago, when feminist Madhu Kishwar formally added a middle name — Purnima — to her already well known signature, some thought that she should have, instead, put controversy as her second name. For Kishwar, one of the founders of the feminist journal Manushi, has been fighting almost everything — from women activists to manipulative politics to government moves to push out street vendors. But Kishwar, who has been an ardent critic of governments of all hues, has a well-wisher in the Prime Minister’s wife, Gursharan Kaur. Kishwar’s new book — Zealous Reformers, Deadly Laws, published by Sage — was released in the capital on Saturday by the PM’s wife. Kishwar had asked her to launch the book, and the lady, whose three daughters are into academics, human rights and environment (respectively), agreed. These, after all, are Kishwar’s passions, too.

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