The Telegraph
Sunday , August 12 , 2012
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When Barreto beat Gullit

Dilshad Rehmani being felicitated by Gullit and (right) Barreto

Gullit who?” vs “Gullit the god of total football”. These were the extreme responses that a simple question — “Do you know Rudd Gullit?” — drew at Netaji Indoor Stadium on Mohun Bagan Day this year.

The Dutch soccer legend was billed as the big attraction on the occasion. “The presence of such a big international star would excite the young footballers who have come here today,” said club icon Chuni Goswami.

But he was way off the mark as to who would score with the youth. The youngsters, either in the galleries or among those being felicitated, had never seen Gullit play and showed little signs of excitement when the 1987 European Footballer of the Year walked in. “Isn’t he the player who scored a goal off 32 passes?” an uncertain Sagnik Mukherjee asked his teammates in the club’s nursery league-winning squad and they looked back vaguely. Among them, Surajit Bar was more interested in recalling how he had seen contemporary greats Lionel Messi and Oliver Kahn play at Salt Lake stadium.

“I have seen Gullit only in EPL highlights of old Chelsea matches. He was before our time,” said Batanagar boy Anirban Banerjee, a Bagan fan since age 12. He was one year old when Gullit’s Holland lifted the Euro Cup.

Therefore it was no surprise that the stadium galleries would erupt when Jose Ramirez Barreto, the club’s star striker till the last season, walked up on stage. The resultant decibel level was multiples of what Gullit’s appearance had triggered.

Even Dilshad Rehmani, the 17-year-old trainee who was felicitated jointly by Gullit and Barreto for having the highest attendance in Mohun Bagan Kolkata Goalz Project, admitted to being thrilled at being in presence of the Brazilian ex-Bagan star. He had not heard of Gullit till he was announced as the guest. The boy’s goal is to play for green-and-maroon some day.

Though the generation gap seemed to have translated into a general knowledge gap, Gullit did have enough fans in football-crazy Calcutta. But all were on the wrong side of 35.

“I was so happy standing on the same stage as Gullit. He is a legend,” gushed Anyichie Echezona , the Nigerian defender that Mohun Bagan has signed. Seventy-six-year-old Bagan fan Kalyan Mukherjee could not recognise Gullit but for a completely different reason. “Where are his trademark locks?” he wondered, staring at the Dutch star’s changed appearance. “I cut them off 12 years ago. They look good on a player, not on a coach,” Gullit told Metro, while leaving the stadium.

Palette to page

Back in the 1970s, when an art market was non-existent and there was no sign yet of commercial art galleries in Calcutta, a young journalist had taken upon himself the task of writing about five Bengali artists both young and old, who were making waves in the city’s art scene. Those were heady times when artists were dedicated to their practice and were quite happy with occasional sales that kept the home fires burning.

The writer was Arup K. Datta and the book he published in 1973 was Shapes & Forms: Essays on the Life and Works of Sunil Madhav Sen, Nirode Mazumdar, Prokash Karmakar, Dhiraj Choudhury and Sunil Das, all five of whom had made their mark, irrespective of age. The book has been reprinted almost verbatim by Akar Prakar, and apart from the text and most of the illustrations, even the cover is the same. Fortunately, it is a black-and white book so the pictures are all well reproduced. It is a valuable document for little is heard either of Nirode Mazumdar or Sunil Madhav Sen, both of whom were artists of repute in their times.

Readers get a chance to see their monochromatic works and drawings, which are rarely seen, and since their careers are well recorded here, they become acquainted with the artists as well. The two chapters on Sunil Madhav Sen and Nirode Mazumdar are particularly interesting because one hears much about them but it is next to impossible to see their works. Both Nirobebabu and his brother Kamal Kumar were stars of the cultural scene then, and the former’s drawings based on esoteric Indian cults are indeed a revelation. The book is thus a salute to things past.

Bauls Ganghadhar Mullick and Tulika Mondal perform at Chetla Girls’ High School on Saturday. The duo mesmerised the young audience with such songs as Tomay hrid majhare rakhbo. The performance was part of Ananda Dhara, a six-day programme presented by Spic Macay in collaboration with Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Calcutta, to promote Indian classical music and culture among the youth. Around 800 students from 200 rural schools are taking part in the Rural School Intensive, attending workshops with such stalwarts as Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan, Malabika Mitra, Aloka Kanungo and Gangadhar Baul. The children also attended performances by Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Girija Devi, Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty and Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan. A concert by Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia is scheduled on Sunday. The programme will end with a play by Nandikar and Chhau dance on Monday. Picture by Arnab Mondal

(Contributed by Sudeshna Banerjee and Soumitra Das)