Sundeep Bhutoria

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Friday, September 3, 2010

Is Nandan losing its pull!

Yesterday was the 25th Anniversary function of Nandan – Bengal’s cultural hotspot and Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharya’s favourite joint. The invite (picture) for the function had names like Gautam Ghosh, Soumitra Chatterjee, Mrinal Sen and others.
I could not attend the Nandan Anniversary function as I was held back by some of my pressing engagements that were fixed up months in advance. I was hoping to squeeze some time out of my scheduled but could not.
I personally like Nandan very much. It is one of the leading and most popular cultural centres in Bengal - the very heart of India’s cultural MeccaNandan has a certain mass appeal that no other such centres can boast of. We all know how thousands of Kolkatans are drawn to Nandan each day, rain or shine. Nandan is the cultural pulse of Kolkata.
Later in the evening, I heard that the function had a very low glamour quotient with most of the big-name invitees conspicuous by their absence. Apart from Gautam Ghosh and Tarun Majumdar, no other eminent person from the film fraternity turned up for the function. Then there was the chat that other than Sunil Gangopadhyay there were hardly any other known faces to be seen around during the function.
This was strange since any major function at Nandan means, without fail, the presence of familiar and famous faces from the city’s cultural fraternity. This was the 25th Anniversary, which, I think, is a major milestone for an institution that is a cultural icon of Bengal.
Till recently, the eminent persons in the city’s social circuit vied with each other to associate with Nandan and its various programs. But this Silver Jubilee function was a glaring exception. It is common knowledge that Nandan has always been close to the heart of our chief minister. I have personally seen how the city industrialists competed to organise the Annual Film Festival dinner function and proudly associate themselves with the festivities.
I wonder what could have triggered this sudden change of heart and scenario. Is it because associating with Nandan is likely to be labelled as being close to the government and the ruling party thus antagonising the rising opposition party.
If that is the case then I must say that an institution of Nandan’s stature should not be linked to any political party or individual. It is the responsibility of the city’s cultural fraternity to free Nandan of any political colourings.
Apart from this, the film celebs say that the invitations from Nandan always come at the last minute and often they don’t get invited properly and so on.
Whatever be the reason, the Silver Jubilee celebrations went un-noticed. It is not only the responsibility of the Nandan authorities but also of the film and cultural fraternity who have always stood by Nandan in the true spirit of Kolkata.
Roopa Ganguly (picture), who had introduced me to Nandan, was at my home in the evening and we discussed this issue over dinner.
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