Sundeep Bhutoria

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ess bee

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Big but messy

From Bangkok: It is twilight hour 4 am. Arindam, Gargi Roy Chowdhury and some other friends left my hotel in the wee hours after having dinner. Today there was an award function of Tollywood and Dacca filmdom here in Bangkok for which we all had come. The function started about 3 hours late. I spent the afternoon with Indrani Halder, Kalyan Roy and Aparna Sen over lunch at Hotel Novotel Bangkok hosted by the organisers. Took some time off and walked through the Siam Paragon  market and then went to the award function venue at the IMAX. There was huge number of Aparna Sen fans waiting and hoping to have their pictures clicked with their idol. Aparna Sen obliged and for 40 minutes she was with her fans and giving interviews to the local television channels. Thereafter, we all proceeded to the Hall to attend the award function (picture).
The Award function was a very disorganised affair with poor stage management. Initially whoever came on the stage, including Firdous, Rachna or Pauli, were embarrassed as the visuals and the announcements did not match. Finally the visuals were stopped for some time. While the performers from Thailand were mind-blowing the ones from West Bengal and Bangladesh film industry also rose to the occasion. The function finished after midnight amid a lot of chaos. I gave away few awards including the best film award for Tollywood to Dev and Subhasree for Challenge while Shayan Munshi did the honour of announcing the awards. Director Raj Chakraborty also came on stage to say a few words (picture). The attendance from the Bangladesh film industry and Tollywood was very good. The organisers did spend a lot of money and effort to put in place a show outside the Indian sub-continent for the first time. They also arranged for the return tickets, five-star hotel accommodation, local transport etc., but everyone was cursing about their organising capabilities and the messy event the ensued. The three-member team from the organisers were profusely apologising every minute to one and all explaining that this was their first event.
As I wrote in my earlier blog that many people, including I, were wondering about the success of this event and the good reason that brought so many of us to Bangkok. Was it to see Bangkok? Or attend the function?
I am sure many people were left guessing as to where the money for organising the event came from. There were no sponsorship logos or banners in sight anywhere in the hall. It sure raised lots of speculation and the absence of sponsors or organisation added to the mystery. I am not saying it was something wrong but the way the whole program was conducted most of us felt something was amiss. When I got an invitation to attend the function for presenting the award, my office asked for their company profile. I was surprised to see the profile that was sent to us had the names of Russian President Putin, US President Obama and ex-Indian Prime Minister, I K Gujral. It further claimed that all their events were handled by this organisation. I thought it something either big or bogus.
Although I was a part of the team that went there but I had declined their request and had arranged for my own air tickets and accommodation in Bangkok. The fact that how come so many members of the film fraternity turned up without any prior knowledge about the organisers and their credibility will remain a big question mark.
Though it isn’t wrong on our part to be at the show, however, I think we need to be more prudent while attending such functions and should check out the antecedents and credibility of the organisation conducting such shows before hopping on to a paid-for flight. I will give more than full marks to the three-member team who managed to put up a show of such proportions for the first time attended by so many members from the West Bengal and Bangladesh filmdom.
There was a buzz that Rituparna backed out at the last minute because she wanted hell of a lot of money for her performance than that which was offered and agreed earlier. We don’t know the facts, Rituparna is a good friend of mine and normally she keeps all her professional commitments except for the element of punctuality or being on time.
I am yet to speak to her, heard that she’ll be in Thailand for shooting tomorrow.
ess bee

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