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Sunday , January 20 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rocket Singh stumps Dada

When Sourav Ganguly was speaking on STAR Cricket during the break between innings at the second T20 against England at Wankhede, few viewers would have realised that the man asking him the questions was another Bengali from Calcutta. RJ Mantra is how Mumbai knows him. But make him take a walk in Phoolbagan and chances are he would be recognised as para boy Puranjeet Dasgupta.

“Dada named me Rocket Singh, I spoke so fast,” grins the 30-year-old who has shifted to TV after 12 years on air. He was also the first one to enter the field when India won the World Cup in 2011. “I was the on-ground anchor. So when Dhoni hit the last six, I was right at the boundary and ran in. Then I saw the cops and beat a hasty retreat.”

His mimicry of cricketers had earned him his break on national TV (an NDTV show called Cricket Controversies). “I have played cricket at the junior state level for Madhya Pradesh. Sitting next to Navjot Singh Sidhu and Kapil Dev in the studio makes me feel like a kid in toy land,” he says.

Mantra’s family owns the century-old Dasgupta bookstore on College Street. “I am the black sheep of the family. My cousins are all super-educated,” he says. In his latest screen avatar he gets to make up for that lacuna in his CV. On Discovery Kids’ Sunday morning show Mystery Hunters India, he plays a nerdy professor. Radio to cricket to acting… What’s next? “An offer from Sohail Khan to play in the Celebrity Cricket League for Mumbai Heroes next year,” he smiles.

Inclusive culture fest

A day-long inclusive cultural festival, showcasing talents from both Bengal and Bangladesh, will be held at Mohor Kunj on Thursday. The event, organised by National Institute of Professionals in association with the department of women and child development and social welfare, will comprise an art camp as well as dance, drama, song and recitation performances by disabled artistes along with the likes of Srikanta Acharya, Srabani Sen and Debajyoti Mishra. “The fest will give the disabled an idea of how the world rates their talent and the established will also get to see new work,” said Mita Mukherjee, the state commissioner of disability. The fair will be on from 11am to 9pm.

Spicmacay meet

Spicmacay (Society for the Promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture amongst Youth) will hold its annual convention once again at IIM Joka between May 20 and May 26. The greatest performers of Indian classical music both from the north and the south are expected to perform, as they did at the 2001 convention at the same venue. Besides these greats, folk performers will also be there, and a crafts workshop and meditation sessions will be held from early morning. Hari Prasad Chaurasia will perform for the curtain raiser event at this first international convention at Sangeet Research Academy on January 23.

(Contributed by Sudeshna Banerjee)