Bankura, April 1: Ei poth jodi na sesh hoy….
Riding pillion on Uttam Kumar’s motorbike, Suchitra Sen had sung her way into the Bengali’s heart half a century ago with Saptapadi.
Today, her daughter Moon Moon began her political journey with the song playing in the background and Suchitra and Mamata Banerjee on her lips.
“Aaj aami poth chola shuru korlam…. Mayer cinema-r ekta gaan shuney khub bhalo laglo (Today, I am starting my journey…. I felt good listening to a song from my mother’s film),” the actress-turned-Trinamul Congress Lok Sabha poll candidate said on the first day of her campaign in her constituency, Bankura.
As Moon Moon arrived at a workers’ meeting in Mejia, the song started playing on sound boxes.
Nearly 3,000 Trinamul workers and villagers had gathered on the field beside the Raniganj-Bankura Road since 9am, braving the scorching sun, to catch a glimpse of Moon Moon.
The sabhadhipati of the Bankura zilla parishad, Arup Chakraborty, said: “The maximum temperature in Bankura was 41 degrees Celsius on Sunday. Today, too, it is very hot.”
Moon Moon arrived in a white SUV around 11.40am accompanied by her husband Bharat Dev Varma and Chakraborty. Party workers rushed towards her, clicking pictures on cellphone cameras. Women party workers showered flower petals on Moon Moon as she walked on a green carpet to the dais.
Moon Moon walked up to a big portrait of Suchitra kept in one corner of the dais and placed flowers in front of it. She then greeted the audience with folded hands and walked to all the corners of the dais to wave at those who had gathered.
After several party leaders finished their political speeches, Moon Moon took the microphone and said: “Bhabben na kono film star eshechhe. Aami Suchitra Sen-er meye. Aami jaani je aami aapnader priya hoye uthbo. Uttam Kumar-Suchitra Sen Bangali-r roktey achhey (I have not come to you as a film star. I am Suchitra Sen’s daughter. I know I will become your favourite. Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen are in the blood of Bengalis).”
Referring to the chief minister and repeating a moniker she had given Mamata when she visited Suchitra in hospital in the screen icon’s last days, the first-time candidate said: “Ar ekti meye jini aamakey ekhaney pathiechhen aapnader seba kortey, tar naam holo Mamata Banerjee, magic Mamata. Tini amader poribarer-i meye hoye uthechhen. Aapnara amaake sujog din (Another woman who has sent me here to serve you is Mamata Banerjee, magic Mamata. She has already become a member of our family. Give me an opportunity to serve you).”
A group of tribal men and women who had gathered in front of the dais performed a dance for Moon Moon.
“My husband is a tribal. I never thought I would see so many tribals in Mejia,” Moon Moon said, calling the dancers on to the dais and getting photographs clicked with them.
After Moon Moon left the venue, she had lunch at Bankura zilla parishad sabhadhipati Chakraborty’s home. “She had rice, moong dal, potol bhaja, postor bora, shukto and fish curry,” Chakraborty said.
The actress took rest for about three hours till 4.30pm and started out for her next meeting at Saltora, around 22km from Mejia.
By the time Moon Moon took the microphone in Saltora, it had become dark and lights had been switched on.
“In my earlier profession, lights played an important role. We had to learn how to utilise lights during shooting. In politics, too, I find that one has to stand in front of lights or one can’t be seen,” she told the audience of around 4,000.
Moon Moon said she was officially Srimati Dev Varma. “See, I have brought my husband with me,” she added.
“Mamata Banerjee has done a lot for the state. She is still toiling hard. I heard that work on a water project is on. Water is very important in our life. Subratada (public health engineering minister Subrata Mukherjee) also told me that many water projects are being taken up in Bankura,” Moon Moon said.
The star DAUGHTER and a fan
|Suchitra Sen’s picture in the background, Moon Moon flashes the victory sign in Mejia on Tuesday. Pictures by Santosh Kumar Mandal
in the crowd: Abhay Mandal, 65
Who is he? A retired Eastern Coalfields employee
he live? Raniganj, Asansol
Why did he come? Mandal is a diehard fan of Suchitra Sen since his college days and has seen all her films. He travelled 10km to Mejia in Bankura because he never got the opportunity to see Suchitra.
“I went to Calcutta the day she was cremated. But I was late. By the time I reached, Suchitra Sen had already been cremated,” Mandal said. “As I could not see Suchitra Sen, I decided to attend Moon Moon Sen’s meeting,” he added.
Report by Abhijeet Chatterjee