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

1A Camac Court, 25B Camac Street, Kolkata – 700 016, India.

Phone: 91 33 2281 6934

Fax: 91 33 2280 2930


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Monday, November 7, 2016

Rituparna's birthday

November 7, 2016: Today evening I attended the birthday party of Rituparna Sengupta at her residence. The party was attended by Tollywood stars and others. I met Dev and many other friends. Yesterday was the birthday of Raima Sen who is away in Mumbai. So I twitted her birthday wishes.
ess bee

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Ek Mulakat debut in Udaipur

At the Jayshree Periwal International School
October 26, 2016: I came to Jaipur to attend few programmes. There was Ek Mulakat in Udaipur and Jaipur and also another programme at the Jayshree Periwal International School (JPIS). All these programmes were with actor Ashis Vidyarthi.
Inauguration of Ek Mulakat in Udaipur with the lighting of the lamp
On Tuesday (Oct 25) we had an Ek Mulakat session with versatile actor Ashis Vidyarthi in Udaipur that was organized by Prabha Khaitan Foundation and Cultural Rendezvous. This was the first time that Ek Mulakat was hosted in Udaipur at the Hotel Radisson Blue.
Today evening there was another session of Ek Mulakat with Ashis Vidyarthi held at the ITC Rajputana in Jaipur by Prabha Khaitan Foundation in association with Jayshree Periwal Foundation.
Cultural Rendezvous, an initiative in Udaipur, is spearheaded by six dynamic ladies, namely, Shubh Singhvi, Shraddha Murdia, Riddhima Doshi, Mumal Bhandari, Kanika Agarwal and Swati Agarwal. Ek Mulakat was a fun-filled interactive session with Ashis who enthralled the audience with his wit and humour and real life anecdotes. He was interviewed by Shraddha Murdia.
ess bee

Saturday, October 22, 2016

At the second The India Story extravaganza

October 22, 2016: I attended second edition of The India Story at Swabhumi today. The India Story is a three-day (21st to 23rd October 2016) fashion, arts and food extravaganza and an initiative of the Neotia Arts Trust. This high affair event showcases the best of India's design. One of the highlights of the event was participation by the iconic British tea brand Typhoo through its Typhoo Tea Bar.
Typhoo joined the event as the beverage partner and Typhoo Tea will delight Kolkata’s stylish milieu with delicious and healthy mocktails based on its distinctive range of teas and fruit infusions. Many known faces attended the event including organiser Madhu Neotia. Among others were Abhilasha Sethia, Swastika, Dev r Nil and many fashion designers and food bloggers.
At the Typhoo tea bar
Typhoo displayed 25 high quality luxurious spiced teas and caffeine free fruit and organic infusions. It was quite an experience witnessing the sheer variety offered at the Typhoo tea bar.
ess bee

Friday, October 21, 2016

Dinner with Farah Khan Ali

With Farah Ali Khan
October 21, 2016: I had a quiet dinner with Farah Ali Khan, ace jewellery designer, who is in Kolkata after four years for a pre-Diwali show at the 85 Lansdowne. She also brought a part of her Ornati collection to Kolkata.
Farah Ali Khan is a famous jewellery designer and gemologist who forayed into designing jewellery by sheer chance when she decided to do a gemology course from the Gemological Institute of America in Santa Monica, California, in 1992. She has designed jewellery for famous Bollywood celebrities and top business families.
ess bee

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

At the Norway Honorary Consul's dinner party

With His Excellency Nils Ragnar Kamsvag
October 19, 2016: Today evening I attended the dinner party at The Oberoi Grand hosted by Norway's Honorary Consul in Kolkata, Nayantara Palchoudhuri. The party was hosted in honour of His Excellency, Nils Ragnar Kamsvag, to celebrate his maiden visit to the City of Joy. His Excellency Kamsvag and his wife Josephine welcomed the guests.
The party was attended by eminent Kolkatans from different walks of life including danseuse Tanusree Shankar, Alokananda Roy and Sudarshan Chakravorty. The top consular representatives of UK and USA, France and Germany in Kolkata were also present.
The Ambassador was touched by the warmth that Kolkata extended to him and I had a pleasant interaction with him.
ess bee

Monday, October 17, 2016

Laxmi puja at Pallavi's

With Pallavi and Agnimitra Paul
October 17, 2016: Last Saturday (Oct 15) I was at the house of Pallavi Chatterjee for Laxmi puja. Millions of homes in Bengal worship the Goddess of wealth and prosperity. It was after many years that I again managed to be at Pallavi's house for Laxmi puja.
With Pallavi
For so many years now Pallavi has been performing Laxmi puja in traditional Bengali style at her residence each year. I am glad that I could make it this year after being absent for such a long time.
Some of our common friends from the glamour world were present on the occasion. Prasenjit and Arpita were there along with Monami Ghosh, Rachana Banerjee, Paayel Sarkar, DJ Akash, Koneenica Banerjee, Agnimitra Paul and others.
With Monami Ghosh
After the pujas the guests were treated to a bhog which included loochi, aloor dom, aloo-phulkopir torkari, kedgeree, sweets and payesh. I thank Pallavi for inviting me for the puja.
Earlier during the day, I also went to Arpita and Prasenjit's house for Laxmi puja.
ess bee

Friday, October 14, 2016

Sindoorkhela at Chaltabagan Durga Puja

At the Chaltabagan Sindoorkhela with Moon Moon Sen and others
Today morning I attended the Sindoor Khela at the Chaltabagan Durga Puja. As expected, the mostly-lady guests, who had confirmed participation, were all there in full strength. Chaltabagan was one of the first pujas in Kolkata to put up and popularise Sindoor Khela as a standalone event many years ago. Now, almost all other pujas have followed suite.
Moon Moon Sen, MP, was once again the chief guest. The event was attended by ladies from the glamour world, consular corps, industrialists, artistes and others. The media was also there in full strength. Vodafone was the sponsor of this event. There was a large turnout of media persons to cover the event. Usha Uthup sang a very popular Kolkata song to start of the event.
Among those who attended were – Rituparna, Rimjhim, Tanusree, Agnimitra, Monami, Ananya, Chaiti Ghoshal, Parno Mitra, Sampurna, June Maliah, Priti Patel, Madhu Neotia, Madhulika Kanoria, Smita Bakshi, Malika Verma, Ekavali Khanna, Ruphali Basu, Shradha Agarwal, Laura Amalir, Vincenza Bufalo, Irinia Bashrikova, Elena Nocera and others.
The General Manager of ITC Sonar, Atul Bhalla, and his wife Kangan, were also there as was Dr Pranab Dasgupta of AMRI.
Sindoor Khela presented a very colourful site with the ladies smearing each other with vermillion in front of the Durga pratima. There were also performances of chau and dhunuchi dance at the venue. Some of the television channels beamed the event live from the spot.
ess bee

Saturday, October 8, 2016

At the Mullick bari Durga puja

Yesterday morning I missed out on the Vodafone pandal-hopping event for senior citizens at the Chaltabagan Durga Puja organised in association with The Bengal. Chief guest Tanusree Shankar welcomed the senior citizens from Nabanir and Tollygunge Old Age homes at the event in the presence of representatives from Vodafone.
At the Mullick bari Durga Puja
Tanusree Shankar's daughter Sreenanda Shankar was also present and welcomed the senior citizens.
It was nice of Tanusree to agree to be the chief guest for this event. She had been the chief guest a few years ago. I must thank her for taking time out from her busy schedule for the senior citizens.
With Koel Mullick, Nishpal Singh, Ajay Vidyarthi and others
Today morning I went to Ranjit Mullick's family house to attend more than 90-year-old Durga Puja at the Mullick bari. I had been planning to visit this puja for quite some years but could not attend it earlier. This time, I am glad that I could be there.
I met Koel Mullick and her husband Nishpal Singh. I also met quite a number of people, including actor Ashis Vidyarthi who would be travelling to Udaipur and Jaipur later this month for our event Ek Mulakaat.
ess bee

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Puja Parikrama 2016

Puja Parikrama bus flag off by the Police Commissioner of Kokata
Today morning I attended the flag off function of Puja Parikrama for the senior citizens of Kolkata organized for Pronam members by Kolkata Police and The Bengal. Each year we organize for few hundred Pronam members, who are all senior citizens, to visit some of the most popular pujas of Kolkata with the support of Kolkata Police.
With Rajeev Kumar, Commissioner of Police, Kolkata
Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar flagged off the special buses from Amherst Street police station in the presence of Smita Bakshi, MLA, Agnimitra Paul, The Bengal member Jt Convener of Pronam project, and other senior police officials and guests. The main pujas that Puja Parikrama covered were Chaltabagan, Santosh Mitra Square, Mitali, Tridhara, Shibmandir, Mudiali, Ekdalia and Singhi Park.
At the Puja Parikrama function with Police Commissioner, Rajeev Kumar, Agnimitra Paul and other senior Kolkata Police Officials
The Kolkata Police, in consultation with the various puja committees arranges for special visit to the pandals for the elderly who are otherwise unable to visit the pujas on their own due to their age and infirmity.
ess bee

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

At the Chaltabagan Dhak Utsav 2016

At the Dhak Utsav
Today evening Governor of West Bengal Shri Kesharinath Tripathi inaugurated the Chaltabagan Durga Puja's Dhak Utsav 2016 at the Pala banquets of ITC Sonar. This year the event was in association with the Venkatesh Films and their new production Zulfikar's cast and crew were present.
It turned out to be a big event with the top Consul Generals, celebrities, sports persons, artistes, industrialists and eminent Kolkatans turning for the event. The presence of actors Dev and Prosenjit was the cynosure of the event. Many other celebs like Rituparna, Shreya Pande, Pallavi, Aanya, Chaiti Ghoshal, Srijit, DJ Akash, Tejendra Narayan, Tanmay Bose participated in Dhak Utsav 2016.
The event started with a special rendition of dhak beats by the Namit Bajoria's band Beat Blasters. This was followed by Meeryung Hall, wife of US Consul General in Craig Hall, performing a soprano version of Tagore's song Aguner Paroshmoni along with Soumyajit and Sourendra.
Actress Ananya, Pallavi and Shreya welcomed the guests with the blowing of conch shells while actor Prasenjit recited shlokas dedicated to the Goddess Durga. The General Manager of ITC Sonar Atul Bhalla officially welcomed all the guests.
With Rituparna Sengupta and Governor Kesharinath Tripathi
This was followed by the Governor formally inaugurating the Dhak Utsav 2016 with the customary breaking of a coconut. All the Consul Generals present namely of USA, Russia, Italy, France, Germany and other senior consulate members played the traditional dhak to mark the celebration of Pujas.
A short dhunichi naach was performed by Rituparna, Chaiti Ghoshal, Shreya and others. With predictions of rain, this year we took a decision to hold the Dhak Utsav indoors. I thank ITC Sonar for making the nice arrangements for hosting the event and Kutchina for being the presenter of this event.
ess bee

At the Chaltabagan Durga Puja inauguration

With Sudeep Bandhopadhyay and Sadhan Pande
Yesterday evening was the formal inauguration of Manicktalla Chaltabagan Lohapatty Durga Puja at the Chaltabagan mandap in Amherst Street. The event was inaugurated by Sudeep Bandhopadhyay, Member of Parliament, from the constituency. Former Governor of West Bengal, Shri M K Narayanan was also there and he presented some of the children with gifts.
Shri Narayanan, when he was the Governor, was a regular at the Chaltabagan Puja and had inaugurated the Dhak Mahotsav also.
With M K Narayanan and Sanjay Budhia
Among the guests who attended the inaugural functions were industrialists H M Bangur and Sanjay Budhia, politicians Sadhan Pande, Nayana Bandhopadhyay, Smita Bakshi and Baishali Dalmia. Among other guests who attended were Usha Uthup, Ipsita Ray Chakraverti and Deepta Chakraverti.
With Nayana Bandhopadhyay, Baishali Dalmia and Smita Bakshi
With Ipsita Roy Chakraverti
This time the theme of Chaltabagan Puja – which is in its 74th year - is “Icchapuran Mandir”. 
Artisans have worked for months to create brass engravings on wooden panels to form the backdrop of this pandal. Artisans have have more than 100 kilos of brass for desining the 38-feet high pandal.
Chaltabagan has kept up its reputation of presenting new and unique themes each year.
Today evening is the inauguration of another big event Kuchina Dhak Utsav 2016 at the ITC Sonar.
ess bee

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

October – the month of events takes off

With Rachana Bandhopadhyay
There were many events during the weekend. On Saturday (October 1) I went to attend the Birthday party of Rachana Bandhopadhyay on the Vivada Cruises stationed at the Millennium Park. It was a nice feeling to be next to the Hooghly on a cruiser. The ambiance was pleasantly different. Vivada Cruises is among the few luxury cruises operating in Kolkata with regular trips to the Sunderbans and Murshidabad. It also runs day-time and night time cruising by the Hooghly.
At the Spanish National Day
Before attending Rachna's birthday bash, I went to attend the Spanish National Day at The Taj Bengal on the invitation of Sunil and Sunita Kanoria, the Honorary Consul of Spain in Kolkata. The party was well attended by prominent Kolkatans and members of the diplomatic fraternity. I also met Master Chef Iago Castrillón from Valencia, Spain, who has been arranging for a special Spanish food fest in the hotel.
I also attended the German National Day at The Oberoi Grand yesterday (Monday Oct 3) and had a short meeting with new General Manager of The Oberoi Grand, Varun Chhibber. He had joined in Kolkata some time back, however, I met him for the first time yesterday.
With the Deputy Consul General of Germany, Jurgen Thomas Schrod and his wife and Olaf Inverssen, Consul General of Germany in Kolkata
German Consul General in Kolkata, Olaf Inverssen, introduced me to the new Deputy Consul General of Germany and his wife.
At the "30 Years of Kantha Revival" function at ITC Sonar
After the German National Day function, I went to ITC Sonar Pala, to attend the “30 Years of Kantha Revival” organized by Shamlu Dudeja. There was a cocktail-and-dinner and many popular faces from Kolkata were there in full strength. I met the former governor of West Bengal, M K Narayanan who was the chief guest of the function.
At the Kantha event with M K Narayanan, Shamlu Dudeja, Atul Bhalla, US Consul General Craig Hall and his wife Meeryung Hall
Today evening is the inauguration of Chaltabagan Durga Puja and this would be followed by a series of Puja-related events over the next few days.
ess bee

Saturday, October 1, 2016

An Authors Afternoon with Ratna Vira and other events

The end of September was very hectic due preparations for the Puja-related events as much as for other events that were on schedule.
With the new staff of US Consulate in Kolkata. Ms Samantha, Ms Olga and Mr Ramanuj
I attended a close get together in the evening organized by the US Consul General in Kolkata, Craig L Hall, to introduce the new American officers and staff at the US Consulate on Thursday.
With Urmi Basu and Guest Author Ratna Vira
On Friday evening there was the 36th session of An Authors Afternoon with Guest Author, Ratna Vira. Urmi Basu was in conversation with her and it turned out to be a insightful session with a high emotional quotient with the conversation touching on a subject like - Ratna's book “This is Not About You” - on ragging in schools.
With Ratna Vira at The Cambers
With Prosenjit
Ratna also touched upon issues of good parenting and how parents should be sensible enough not to foist their notions and wishes on the children. Such acts have a very demoralizing effect on the children she said. Ratna' book Daughter by Court Order drew much attention and was a best seller. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi had praised her book. 
The charm of reading her work of fiction, I am told, is that it draws striking parallels with real life events and incidents. In fact, it is facts masquerading as fiction. It was nice meeting her.
At the birthday party of actor Prosenjit at Novotel
After the Authors Afternoon session I went to Hotel Novotel in the other end of the city to attend the Birthday Party of Prosenjit hosted by Usha Uthup. His forthcoming film Zulfiqar is already has already started to create a pre-event buzz. It was a lively party and I met few friends.
ess bee

Friday, September 23, 2016

At the People's Republic of China Day

With the Chinese Consul General in Kolkata, Mr Ma Zhanwu, at the People's Republic of China Day at Taj Bengal
I attended the 67th Anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China at Taj Bengal today evening. There were many guests from the West Bengal government, including the Principal Secretary of Commerce and Industries Krishna Gupta, Subrata Mukherjee, Sadhan Pandey, Dinesh Trivedi and many other city-based foreign and honorary consuls.
With Mr Craig Hall and his wife Meeryung Hall
The Chinese Consul General, Ma Zhanwu, highlighed the growing China-India relations and that the number of Chinese and Indians visiting each other's countries have increased 20 per cent over last year. Also, the Chinese investment in India have grown a staggering 1400 per cent year on year.
With Sharad Khaitan, Nitin Kothari (of Mocambo) and B K Poddar
Mr Zhanwu also mentioned that a film delegation headed by the Principal Secretary of the Information and Cultural Affairs (I&CA) Department of Bengal, will depart for China and hold Tollywood film festivals in Beijing and Shanghai.
Wishing everyone happy Pujas, Chinese Consul general said that the Chinese Consulate would sponsor one of the best pandals competitions and the winners would get a free one week tour to China.
ess bee

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Pronam event and farewell dinner

Yesterday was the Pronam annual event for North Division held at the Phonibhushan Vidya Binode Yatra Mancha auditorium where Senior Kolkata Police officials were present. Few of the police officials were felicitated for their outstanding service. A music and dance cultural programme was also held for the senior citizens who attended the function.
Sadhan Pandey, Consumer Affairs Minister, The Bengal member and Joint Convenor of Pronam project, Agnimitra Paul, and actor Paran Bandhopadhyay were also present at the inaugural function.
Pronam now has over 14,000 members in Kolkata. Also some events are being planned during the Pujas for the elderly Pronam members.
With Mrs and Mr Sahai at their farewell party in Taj Bengal
I also hosted farewell dinner for my friend Anand Sahai at The Taj Bengal. Mr Sahai would be leaving Kolkata for a new assignment in Delhi as CEO of Hindustan newspaper. 
With the Vodafone team
The dinner was attended by few common friends and acquaintances.
ess bee

Pronam event and farewell dinner

Yesterday was the Pronam annual event for North Division held at the Phonibhushan Vidya Binode Yatra Mancha auditorium where Senior Kolkata Police officials were present. Few of the police officials were felicitated for their outstanding service. A music and dance cultural programme was also held for the senior citizens who attended the function.
Sadhan Pandey, Consumer Affairs Minister, The Bengal member and Joint Convenor of Pronam project, Agnimitra Paul, and actor Paran Bandhopadhyay were also present at the inaugural function.
Pronam now has over 14,000 members in Kolkata. Also some events are being planned during the Pujas for the elderly Pronam members.
With Mrs and Mr Sahai at their farewell party in Taj Bengal
I also hosted farewell dinner for my friend Anand Sahai at The Taj Bengal. Mr Sahai would be leaving Kolkata for a new assignment in Delhi as CEO of Hindustan newspaper. 
The dinner was attended by few common friends and acquaintances.
ess bee

Monday, September 19, 2016

In Rajasthan's leopard land

With Nikky and Ashley at their mehdi ceremony
I came back to Kolkata last night from a week-long Rajasthan trip. I went there to attend a wedding in Udaipur at The Oberoi Udai Vilas and also visited the forests of Bera and few other places.
At Bera Lodge
The highpoint of my trip was the bio diversity-rich Jawai Bandh forests in Pali district of Rajasthan which has now emerged a famous sanctuary for leopards in India. The rich forests and water bodies along the Jawai dam in Sumerpur tehsil have a large presence of leopards and crocodiles, turtles, fishes and aquatic birds.
A view of the magnificent Jawai Dam
The Jawai dam build in 1957 for providing drinking water is located in the south-western transition zone of the Aravallis on the Jawai river and the Luni river basin. It lies in proximity of Kumbalgarh sanctuary. The reserve is fifth in its category in Rajasthan.
Now declared as Jawai Bandh Community Reserve is known as Bera – a small wilderness paradise with rocky hills. This is a perfect habitat for leopards and wolves and has proved to be a successful breeding ground for leopards.
In Bera with Shatrunjay Pratap Singh
At Nathdwara Temple
Bera is emerging as a hot tourist spot as a leopard sanctuary. The leopards are elusive and solitary by nature and rarely offer themselves to sightings. However, in Bera, they are frequently seen on the rocky hills and in the wilderness. I was lucky to spot few of them myself.
I also took time to visit Nathdwara on the banks of Banas river in Rajsamand district some 50 kilometers from Udaipur. This town is famous for its temples dedicated to Lord Krishna and houses the 7th century idol of Shrinathji or infant Krishna that was brought from Vrindavan in 1672. Literally, Nathdwara means ‘Gateway to Shrinathji’.
In Siryali
Nathdwara also has a significant Vaishnavite shrine that was founded by Vallabha Acharya and revered by millions in Rajasthan and Gujarat. 
At a lunch hosted by my family friend Swati Agarwal at the Radisson BluUdaipur Palace Resort & Spa
The town is also famous for its 'pichhwai' paintings, handmade terracottas, ivory articles and milk-made sweets.
I also visited a religious place of the Jains called Siryali which is the birth place of Bhikshu Swami – the founder of the Terapanth sect of the Shwetambar Jains.
With heads of NGOs
I had also met up with the heads of various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating from Rajasthan to discuss various events and activities in the state. 
I had also attended a lunch hosted by my friend Swati Agarwal at the Radisson Blu Udaipur Palace Resort & Spa.
ess bee

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The folly of flying Indian Airlines

Yesterday afternoon I met the Commissioner of Police, Kolkata, and other senior police officials to work out some of the pending issues of Pronam. With the Pujas approaching there are some annual events for the senior citizens that are being firmed. There are also some issues raised by various puja committee that have to be resolved.
There is a big demand for the annual Puja Parikrama cards of Pronam. Elaborate arrangements have been made by Pronam to ensure that few hundred senior citizens of Kolkata get an opportunity to visit popular puja pandals in north and south Kolkata through the VIP entrance. There is a big demand for this as there are nearly 14,000 Pronam members in Kolkata at present.
Today morning, I boarded an Indian Airlines flight for Delhi to go to Udaipur from Kolkata's Netaji International Airport. I was taken by surprise when I found that the Indian Airlines officials on the desk said to my protocol person that I did not have any seat blocked despite showing them my booking receipt with seat number that was allotted to me for an extra charge.
But the IA officials said that they had given the seat, for which I had paid Rs 500/- extra, to someone else and they gave me a separate seat from Delhi to Udaipur.
It defies explanation how a valid booked airlines ticket with seat number not only fails to show up on the system of Indian Airlines but also someone else is allotted the same seat. Will keep fingers crossed next time I fly Indian Airlines.
ess bee