Sundeep Bhutoria

Welcome to my blog. Do share your views and thoughts with me. Request visitors to keep their comments brief and to the point. I shall respond to you to the extent possible.
Thank you.
ess bee

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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Mammootty's first visit to Kolkata

With Mammootty

October 31, 2013: Yesterday (Oct 30th) evening I hosted a dinner at the Taj Chambers for Southern mega star Mammootty who has acted in over 360 mostly-Malayalam films with the second highest number of lead roles. He has also acted in Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Hindi films.
With Payel
Mammootty was in Kolkata for the first time for the shooting of Pramod Payyannur-directed Malayalam film called Balyakalasakhi. The main shooting base was set up some 60 kms away from Kolkata. I am told that there was a shooting scene at the Victoria Memorial and Town Hall too. Mammootty, who not so well known in Bengal, has been a leading star from south for a career now spanning almost three decades.
With Seema Biswas
I decided to host this dinner for Mammootty as I wanted to provide an opportunity for the Who's Who from Bengal film fraternity to come over and interact with him. The whole cast and crew of his film Balyakalasakhi, including Seema Biswas, were there at the dinner party.
I was really happy that within 24-hour notice the guests took out time for the dinner which was attended by Atri Bhattacharya, Secretary, Information & Cultural Affairs, Anik Datta, Dibakar Banerjee, Esha and Arijit Datta, Prasenjit Chatterjee, Gautam Ghosh, Mainak, Moon Moon Sen and her husband Bharat Dev Verma, Payel, Rituparna Sengupta and V V Thambi (IPS) and many others.
With Dibakar Banerjee, Arindam Sil and Usha Uthup
The party started at around 9:30 pm and went on till late. My personal thanks to Usha Uthup and Arindam Sil who helped me to put this evening together. I missed Mohanchandran, General Manager, Taj Bengal, who was in Goa. He too, like Mammootty, hails from Kerala.
ess bee

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

From Swedish dinner party to week end in Jaipur

With Mr Yogi C Deveshwar
October 29, 2013: I returned from a weekend in Jaipur yesterday. 
I was there on a pre-Diwali visit to catch up with some of my friends and acquaintances and also do a couple of meetings. 
With Sanjay Budhia and Atri Bhattacharya
Like Delhi, Jaipur too has a culture of nightlong Diwali parties and I attended 11 of them on Saturday and Sunday. Of course, it was very tiring and by the time I finished on both the days it was almost sun up.
Before leaving for Jaipur, I attended the dinner party of The Embassy of Sweden on October 25 in Kolkata which set the ball rolling to celebrate the Swedish Government endorsed Nobel Foundation's series of centenary events in Kolkata and other metros of India to mark Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore's 100 years of Nobel Prize which was conferred on him in December 1912.
With Mr & Mrs Harald Sandberg
The Swedish government has already invited foreign minister Salman Khurshid to attend the Stockholm programme which is a first for any country or laureate. 
This is a very rare gesture and a great honour for Tagore and Indians. Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore - the first non-European and Asian to receive the Nobel Prize for literature.
The Swedish embassy in India has planned a week-long programme in December 2013 in Indian metros and Stockholm and has collaborated with the Calcutta Metro to establish "Nobel Walls" -- walls that will serve as tributes to India's Nobel laureates -- at three city stations with a Tagore connect.
With Mr Tobias Degsell
At the dinner party, I met the Swedish envoy to India, Harald Sandberg and his wife and also Mr Tobias Degsell, the curator of the Nobel Museum in Stockholm, who was in in the city on Friday. A large number of eminent Kolkatans were there at the party cutting across all walks of life. I met the different consular corps of Kolkata and others.
I am told that a group of 10 choir singers from Lund, Sweden, who have been practising Rabindrasangeet, would be visiting Kolkata and Shantiniketan in December. 
This is, I think a major cultural initiative from Sweden and for a befitting reason for Gurudev lives in the hearts and minds of millions across the world.
ess bee

Friday, October 25, 2013

Colours of Rajasthan at Swabhumi

Inaugurating the fair by lighting the lamp with Mr Gyan Prakash, Ms Sabina Rungta, Ms Nilima Jauhari and Ms Kasturi Gupta Menon
October 25, 2013: Today morning I attended the inaugural function of Colours of Rajasthan as the Guest-of-Honour along with Ms Sabina Rungta, Chairperson, Ficci Ladies' Organisation (FLO-Kolkata Chapter). It was drizzling and given the prediction of rains over the next two days, I am keeping my fingers crossed.
With Mr Gyan Prakash, Ms Sabina Rungta and Nilima Jauhari
Colours of Rajasthan is a five day exhibition of handloom products from across Rajasthan which is being promoted by Ficci and Rajasthan State Handloom Development Corporation Ltd (RHDC). Among others present at the inaugural function were Mr Gyan Prakash, Director, Ficci, Rajasthan State Council, Ms Nilima Jauhari, Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Rajasthan and Chairperson RHDC, Ms Kasturi Gupta Menon, Honorary President, Craft Council of India and Dr Mohan Lal Yadav, MD & Jt Secretary, RHDC.
This time nearly 40 handloom artisans and weavers from Rajasthan have come to display their work at Swabhumi. The handloom products also reflect the various styles, textures and patterns which are very unique to a particular region of Rajasthan. The exhibition-cum-sale would be on till October 29, 2013.
Visiting the stalls at the Colours of Rajasthan
I feel that there is immense scope for marketing the handloom products of Rajasthan across India and also at the international level. But this would be possible provided the infrastructure is improved and proper support services extended to the artisans and various self-help groups for marketing their product or, as I would prefer to call – work of art.
Today evening I will be attending the get together hosted by Babi Nobis at The Oberoi and tomorrow leave for Jaipur.
ess bee

Thursday, October 24, 2013

"The Big Fat City"

With Masaba Gupta
October 24, 2013: Yesterday evening I went to Hyatt Regency Kolkata to watch the play "The Big Fat City" written and directed by Mahesh Dattani. 
I wasn't impressed by it so much but was quite impressed with the mix of audiences who were from all walks of life. The play was produced by Ashvin Gidwani's production company "Ashvin Gidwani Productions".
With Britta Leick-Milde and Fabrice Etienne
In fact, on Sunday October 27, 2013, I plan to watch another play of Ashvin Gidwani at Hotel Mariott in Jaipur which goes by the name "2 to Tango 3 to Jive”.
Earlier in the evening I went to The Park for FLO Kolkata Diwali Fellowship Meet. By the time I reached there around 4pm the main event was over. The Ficci Ladies’ Group (FLO) members were there in full strength including FLO Kolkata Chairperson Ms Sabina Rungta.
I met young fashion designer Masaba Gupta who was in city. Masaba is the fashion director of Satya Paul's new line. There was also the sufi band Wagah Road which performed live at the event.

ess bee

Monday, October 21, 2013

Meeting Chitrangada

With Sudhir Mishra and Chitrangada Singh
October 21, 2013: It was a relaxed Sunday after the Pujas. On Saturday evening I went to The Conclave for a get-together organised by Pritimoy Chakraborty to meet and greet Chitrangada Singh, Pritish Nandy, Kay Kay Menon and Director Sudhir Misra who were in town for the special screening of the film Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi at the Purple Movie Town - his film studio - during the day.
With Kay Kay Menon
It was a small and select gathering and I finally met Chitrangada Singh. I had missed meeting her earlier two occasions in Delhi and twice in Jaipur. One of her films Sorry Bhai is on my list of favourite film. In fact Sorry Bhai, which hasn't done well in the box office is a film which I have seen more than 10 times, as I have seen Lamhe, Kabhi Kabhi and Rain Coat. The first time I saw this film I was in the Emirates and had a real tough time arranging for a DVD.
With Chitrangada Singh
When I told Chitrangada (picture) about it she was very surprised to know that someone had liked her film so much. She has mentioned that the reason why the film has not done well in the box-office was because the film was released on the same day during the Mumbai terror attack and the DVD of the film is also yet to be out officially. Incidentally, the director of the film Onir had called her the same time I was chatting with her about this film.
Chitrangada had a long day today in Kolkata. After Purple Movie Town they went to SRFTI and then came straight for dinner. She left the party early and so did I.
ess bee

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Events hopping

With Dadul aka Arijit Dutta
October 19, Kolkata: Till Thursday noon I was occupied with Sindoor Khela at the Chaltabagan Durga Puja event. In the evening again I went to Priya Cinema Hall to attend Dadul's (Arijit Dutta) 50th Birthday bash. There was Birthday cake in the shape of a bottle.
Dadul had invited a few people including Aparna Sen, Dev, Churni, Kaushik Ganguly, Tony, Shukla, Arindam Sil and other common friends.
With Dev
By midnight, many of the guests had left. Among those who remained were Toni, Riya Sen, Raima Sen, Moon Moon Sen and her husband Bharat Dev Varma, myself and of course our host couple Esha and Arijit. We chatted a lot and by the time the party got over it was early day break.
With Raima Sen
Yesterday was Lakshmi Puja and I visited four different places to be part of the puja celebrations, including Arpita and Prasenjit Chatterjee's house and also Pallavi's residence. 
In fact, Lakshmi Puja at Pallavi Chatterjee's house is quite popular.
I also went to meet Nabaneeta Dev Sen to discuss a few issues since The Bengal meeting is scheduled for November 6, 2013.
ess bee

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Sindoor Khela at Chaltabagan

At the OSAA Sindoor Khela at Chaltabagan
October 17, 2013: Today afternoon I was very busy with the OSAA Sindoor Khela 2013 at Chaltabagan Durga Puja.
The Chaltabagan Puja was a trendsetter in the sense that it one of the first community pujas to start the Sindoor Khela as a separate closing ceremony, which, many other pujas of Kolkata, have now started including as a part of their puja itinerary and festivities.
Lady Governor, Padmini Narayanan, started off the event with Guest-of-Honour Moon Moon Sen. 
With Lady Governor Padmini Narayanan
Among the other guests who participated in the Sindoor Khela were Agnimitra Paul, Arunima, Anandi Ghosh, Chaiti Ghoshal, Gargi Roy Choudhury, Indrani Dutta, Koneenica, Laura, Maneka Sorcar, Nilanjanaa Senguptaa, Priti Patel and others. The Chaltabagan Sindoor Khela is very well known in the Kolkata social circuit and is widely covered by the media. This time some of the national television channels went on air live to cover the event.
ess bee

Monday, October 14, 2013

At the dandiya festival

With Governor M K Narayanan, Pawan Ruia and others at the aarti
October 14, 2013:  Yesterday evening I attended the opening puja for the three-day dandiya utsav, which is celebrated during the Navratri festivities, at the Netaji Indoor Stadium, Kolkata.
This was a part of a series of dandiya events being organized by Taaza TV. Yesterday’s dandiya was  attended  by the chief guest Lady Governor Padmini Narayanan and also the Governor of West Bengal, His Excellency, M K Narayanan. They performed the aarti on Navratri. Apart from me, Mahendra Jalan, Alka Bangur and Pawan Ruia also participated in the aarti. Raas or dandiya raas is the traditional dance form from Vrindavan and its origins is linked to Lord Krishna. Along with garba or raas garba, it is the featured dance of Navratri evenings across Western and now northern India. The garba dances were always performed in Goddess Durga's honour by enacting a mock fight between the goddess and the demon Mahisasura. It always began with an arti and is followed by dancers, male and females, who merrily take to the floor.
Since the past decade or two, the dandiyas have appeared in its new avatar with DJs, RJs and popular foot-tapping film music and remixes becoming an intrinsic part of these popular modern day dandiya versions which are very commercially viable events across India during the Navratri festivities. A high dose of sophisticated lighting and pyrotechnics have been incorporated into the events that continue through the night till the wee hours. This in turn has necessitated the need for arranging food and drink near the venue.
In all, the dandiya events have acquired a mela-like ambience. There are also competitions in various categories like best dancer, best couple, best dressed and so on.
The dandiyas, like the Bollywood films and songs, have also spread across the world through the Indian diaspora, especially in USA, UK Canada and Australasia. Many foreigners also evince keen interest in the dandiyas.
ess bee

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Twin premiere on Shasti

With Nispal (Rane) Singh and Toni

October 12, 2013: On Thursday night (Oct 10) I attended the special screening of Rangbaaz at Navina starring Dev and Koel Mallick and directed by Raja Chanda.
I was invited by Dev and Nispal (Rane) Singh of Surinder Films. Just a few stretches away at the INOX South City the premiere of Mishawr Rawhosyo took place. It was not possible to make it to both the premiere so I went and saw Mishawr Rawhoshyo the next day on Saptami.
With Toni and Raja Chanda director of Rangbaaz 
I quite liked Rangbaaz. The film, with Alan Amin as the action director, was full of stunts and action sequences. It was very gutsy of Koel and Dev to have performed the stunts on her own. She had during the shooting of the film refused a double for shooting a scene in which she had to hang from the 34th floor of a building. 
In fact, sher herself told me when I met her and Rane over dinner last week that she had sustained some injuries during shooting. But at the premier she was her usual bubbly self.
On the other hand, more than the film, Mishawar Rawhoshyo's shooting in spectacular locales was a real treat.
ess bee