The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dollar designs in Puja fashion

Puja fashion is dealing in dollars. Not at the cash counter but on the display table. A rage this year in Gariahat Market is the “dollar sari”. “Anything round and looking like a dollar is going by that name. Saris carrying such patterns have come in all kinds of materials — kanjeevaram, synthetic, taant, net silk…,” says Chandan Saha, the manager of Adi Dhakeswari Bastralaya’s sari mall on Rashbehari Avenue.

But why name them after a dollar when one dollar coins are barely in use in the US itself, where dollar notes rule? Why not call them rupee saris instead? “That hardly sounds as tempting,” a salesman scoffs. “But Ma, aren’t they just polka dots?” a teenaged girl laughed.

P.S: If dollar saris fail to please, there are the CD saris. Available mostly in jute silk, these saris carry patterns resembling compact discs —with concentric circles in separate weaves. Only, a Bengali with an accent has to be careful about how he or she pronounces “CD” to ensure admiration in place of censure.

Nonsense is best

Dragonflies, frogs, caterpillars, bees and birds render a robust version of Sukumar Ray’s Danre Danre Drum. A wispy transparent form swirls in the deep blue sky over Vidyasagar Setu full of wonder at the elusive sounds of Sabda Kalpa Drum. A palace like Hirak Raja’s is the setting for Ekushe Ine.

Ray’s Hunko Mukho Hangla in the CD

The animated Abol Tabol set to music is here. Launched on September 15 was Sa Re Ga Ma’s DVD/CD Nonsense Mahul.

This delightful 25-minute selection with English subtitles will present six poems in colourful animated images which use “the best technology and will attract all generations of viewers,” said singer Palash. He with singer wife Shanoli and musicians Satya, Babu, Bishu and Indra comprise the Bengali recitation-band Mahul. Now nearly five years old, Mahul already has a steady following in Bengal. They find performing Ray’s nonsense rhymes gets the best response. Hence they decided to follow their heart and devote themselves to Ray: “So that Pagla dashu can find a place beside Harry Potter,” said Palash.

Still images into film

Legendary filmmaker Bimal Roy, who made Do Bigha Zamin, Parineeta, Madhumati and Devdas, was remembered in his birth centenary year on Wednesday evening at the Chalachhitra Shatabarsho Bhaban.

Director Tarun Majumder recounted meeting Roy during his younger years. He had once cancelled his own shoot during the making of Benazeer to help out with the lights for Mughal-E-Azam. Another time, he walked into the editing studio with soaring fever to insert the sound of an actual lizard he managed to record in his house.

Majumdar went on to share his experience of meeting Roy for the first time in Mumbai when the director would keep busy in the Mohan studio. “He was a man of very few words. Such few that it was sometimes exasperating to hear him complete his sentence. But whatever he would say would mean something significant,” said Majumder who recalled having worked in the same edit studio.

“I saw him at work for the first time during Palatok. He was the reigning king of Hindi cinema then. He knew that I was waiting to do a film in Mumbai. I was taken aback when he called for me one day and asked if I wanted him to put in a word for me!”

Journalist Shankarlal Bhattacharya described Roy’s cinematic forms, styles and influences that shaped his many films. “He could transform still images into cinema. If you look at his film Udayer Pathey, the film uses no background score. The images that he would conjure up would illuminate the screen,” said Bhattacharya.

After an interesting round of anecdotes and discussions about the man and his New Theatre classics, lights were dimmed for a screening of Roy’s Udayer Pathey, a 1944 film against class discrimination that had marked his directorial debut.

(Contributed by Sudeshna Banerjee, Sebanti Sarkar, Mohua Das and Doel Bose)

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