GIRL CHILD EDUCATION

 

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One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world – Malala Yousafzai.

Girl child education is an area which is very close to my heart. There is actually a very personal reason behind this which I can share with you all. Actually during my early years, even though I was the son of a star actor, I was not offered anything on a platter. It was during those days that the people who were closest to me were my mother and my sister Maku, around whom my world revolved. In general, women have had a profound effect on my life, so I stand for anything that concerns their well being, education being the most vital one.

This quote echo’s my thoughts clearly – “When you educate a man, you educate an individual and when you educate a woman, you educate an entire family.”  As a woman is the person who actually holds the family together and a mother is the first teacher for a child it becomes very important that she herself is educated enough so as to pass on the right values to her child and give them a proper upbringing. Education makes a woman more aware and self confident with respect to her rights, duties and responsibilities. She can be an equal partner as compared to her husband in the family set up and can contribute to the family income by virtue of her job. Having financial independence is a direct outcome of education which helps a woman to be more in control of her life. She gains respect, recognition and if faced with ill treatment can fight back. In short, it is Education which makes a woman empowered.

Now a days, because of the economics behind it, it becomes very difficult for a single earner middle class family to live a comfortable life. An educated woman with a job has a scope of contributing to the family kitty and God forbid, if the worse were to happen she can still survive with her children, instead of being dependent on others. Education has an exponential effect on the marital life of women, as educated women marry at a later stage and have a say in planning the family, which studies have shown have a direct relation with the reduction of infant mortality rates. One can safely say – An educated mother gives rise to a healthy child.

It is heartening to note that the Government is doing its bit to promote education amongst girls. Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Yojana, Kanyasri are few examples which have been devised, keeping in mind the interests of the girl child. Let us hope they bear fruit and our little girls of today can be strong women tomorrow, capable enough of taking on the world. Also, let us in our own small way do our bit of contributing to the same.

Love you all. !!

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An Adda session with Soumitra Kaku

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An actor whom I have admired over the years and consider an inspiration has been Soumitra kaku. Our bonding over the years has led to many adda sessions and it was during one such session that we had explored the idea of having an Artist’s forum for the betterment of the artists working in the industry. It is no mean feat that our Bengali film industry has been the provider of many livelihoods and many families derive their sustenance from the movies being made and the entire supply chain that is associated with it. Also, it has been observed, that there are times when a senior actor who has fallen on hard times does not find any resource to fall back upon. So is the case with the technicians who when deprived of work have to face real hardships to run their family. There have been instances when I have done my bit to reach out to those in need, but there has to be an association where everybody associated with Tollywood needs to come together and join hands to ensure that we can help others when needed.

Tollywood, has produced many glorious films but one area over which Soumitra Kaku and myself had many discussions was the difference in the films being made in our times and the ones which were made during his days as a lead actor. We had dissected the works of the leading directors of his times and dwelt on the scripts that were used in those days. It is no doubt that we have made rapid advances in technology, there has been a massive increase in the budget of the films, the marketing and distribution of films has become more organised and scripts have now started to play a pivotal role in cinema. There has been all round improvement, but still the essence that the old films carry have been very difficult to replicate. It is no doubt that music played a very key role in the films of those days and there were legends like Geeta Dutt, Hemanta Mukhopadhyay and Manna Dey amongst others whose melodious voices still linger on. But I shall not be doing justice if I do not acknowledge the contribution made by artists of my generation in taking forward their heritage and improving upon it the best way we can.

The Bengali Film Industry has always been a strong one, it is true that we have had our share of struggle but it is also true that we have survived and prospered, courtesy the love and affection of the fans who have consistently demonstrated their love for good cinema.

Love to you all. !!

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THE LOVE I RECEIVE FROM MY FANS

 

 

An actor acts – the audience watches.  An actor is nothing without an audience.

In my career as an actor, I have experienced many highs, lows, successes and failures. As you all know, I had to struggle very hard during my initial days. Those days have left an indelible imprint on my life and I try my best to be good at my craft.

A major part of the audience which has always appreciated my movies have been the people who live in the suburbs and are cut off from the humdrum of city life. Their simplicity and innocence has always touched me. It is, as if the suburbs have a way of not getting intimidated and accepting the way a city behaves. It develops its own style of functioning and there is a marked difference between the way festivals, religious occasions, social life and cinema are conducted there vis-à-vis a city.

On the occasions that I have been to the different parts of my state to perform stage shows, I have been overwhelmed to see and receive the love and affection that I get from the people there. There have been many occasions when people of all types – young, old and elderly have come to just look at me from close, hold my hand, click photographs, even treat me to homemade delicacies. There have been many times when I have been welcomed by many who got on top of my car, peered through the window to see me from close. Small children have come in front of me and delivered dialogues from my films – even from the ones which had been made in not the recent past. I have found, to my utter surprise many fans standing in the rain with huge cut outs of my pictures, holding posters of my films and listening with bated breath to every word I speak.

These acts of affection which I receive, actually frightens me in some ways. I love these occasions,  as these moments are priceless and an actor yearns for such adulation. But along with this comes a very great sense of responsibility which I have to bear so that I don’t let the people down who look up to me. This is what scares me sometimes and also drives me into bettering my craft and try to be the best in my trade as I am at the day answerable to the audience without whom I would have been nothing.

Love you all. !!

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VALENTINE’S DAY

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Love is just love, it can never be explained. !!

The entire world loves a lover and no one can ever say that he/she has never fallen in love. Love is the the most basic form of emotion which a human being longs for and I have been fortunate to have experienced it in my life in all its colour.

Even though there are many versions about the origin of Valentine’s Day, I shall stick to the one which I felt was the most convincing. During the days of the Roman Empire, around 270 AD when Rome was ruled by Emperor Claudius II young men were discouraged from getting married as Claudius felt that single men were better soldiers than married folk. Incidentally there was a man in the clergy, Bishop Valentine who held a different opinion and performed many marriages in secret. This was soon discovered and he was sentenced to death. During his stay in prison, he met and fell in love with the daughter of the jailor. He was executed on February 14th and just before he was led to the gallows, he sent a note to her. In it was written – “From Your Valentine”. That is the power of love, an emotion which knows no boundaries of colour, creed, religion or language. In the year 496 AD Pope Gelasius in order to honour St. Valentine, officially declared 14th February as Valentine’s Day. Thus was born a day which is now celebrated the world across, as a day dedicated to love and lovers.

It gives me profound happiness whenever I get the chance to see young people in love. Their innocence touches me and then I look back at my younger days when things were simpler and the smallest of things made us happy. In my professional space I have been fortunate to essay the role of a lover in many films with various directors and I feel blessed that it has been appreciated by the audience.

From a personal perspective, I am in a happy space with my family members being my regular Valentines and I enjoy spending this day with my spouse and son. Of course my pocket becomes a lot lighter as I have to spend on flowers and chocolates.

Lastly, to my fans who have always showered me with so much love and affection, wish you all a very     “HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY”. Enjoy the day with your loved ones and shower them the love and affection they deserve.

Love you all. !!

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Happy New Year

Time, as they say is the best teacher and it is time that always slips from our hands.  The time spent in the current year has been a generous mentor and I have been a much benefitted student as the current year gives way to the coming new year.  There have been many moments in this year which I cherish very deep in my heart. As I have always been surrounded by this obsessive desire to be associated with  good cinema, I have been fortunate that beautiful characters came my way which I tried to portray the best way I can.

A new year, as they say is like an open canvas which we can paint the way we want to. I happen to have some New Year resolutions which I intend to keep – that of being associated with meaningful cinema which appeal to viewers and satisfies my craving as an artist. My inner fire to continuously explore new characters and genres, be it the role in Jaatishwar,  Moner Manush or Shankhachil gives me the mental food which justifies my existence  each time I face the camera to give that perfect shot. As I sincerely live and breathe cinema, I intend to test my limits as an actor in the coming year.

New year is a time which we spend with family, friends, near and dear ones and feel happiness all around. It is a time when we put the memories of the year gone by into the recesses of our memory and look forward with hope and expectations towards the year ahead. I, being a human also share the same feelings and as I am emotional by nature I hope for only good things to happen in the coming year for all near and dear ones, fans, technicians and everybody in general.

Our capability to forget is probably one of the most underestimated of all the human capabilities as this enables us to forget the bad moments that come our way. In due course we hope for better things to come in the future and it is because of this expectation that we have the strength to overcome the challenges that life throws at us. It is with this hope that I look forward to the new year that all will be well.

Wish you all a very happy new year 2017.  Love you all !!

 

Looking Back At The Journey

 

 

 

 

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”

― Ursula K. Le Guin

And I’m fortunate that my journey has been a memorable one. When I look back, there are bruises, joy, laughter, pain and moments – moments that are treasured in my heart. Each film is like school I learnt from and through the characters, I lived lives. I’m honoured that some thought my journey is worthy enough to touch lives.

Two years back Mitali (Co-director of ‘For Cinema Only) approached me to make a documentary on me. I couldn’t give permission then. I was not really ready for it. But this time, they were adamant to make it and I especially liked the idea how they wanted to portray the journey. After thinking a lot, I gave the nod. Mitali also directed the documentary on Sourav Ganguly. It was amazing to see such detailed research they did for my documentary. The title is just apt for me. I live ‘For Cinema Only’. My struggle, sweat, blood were all for cinema. It kept me alive.

And finally, it happened. And on the Grand day of the trailer launch of ‘For Cinema Only’ when the guests shared their experience about me, I felt so touched. I’m blessed that the whole industry graced the trailer launch event. When they shared their encounter with me, some were hilarious, some were emotional, some were deeply honest. When Apu (Saswata), Abir, Param, Soham and Jisshu shared their experience and opinions about me, I was spellbound! I wonder why Apu had never seen me eating! Yes, I also love to eat. But fitness comes first! The respect they showered, the way they paid tribute by launching the trailer and the kind words melt my heart. I’m an emotional person and it is always the kind words, good gestures that encourage me to keep moving.

From my home to my gym, my office, my films, my family they covered it all in the documentary. Thank you Mitali and Samrat for portraying me this way. Thanks a ton to my friends and colleagues from the industry who are my well wishers too. I never thought I’ll make so many good friends in a life time. My heartiest gratitude to all of you for being there. And last but not the least, a big thanks to you my Janta Janadaan who made me Prosenjit Chatterjee.

Love to all..

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People pass away, creations remain

 

 

“For me, the endless source of ingredients for writing is in these amazingly noble, suffering human beings. Why should I look for my raw material elsewhere, once I have started knowing them?” Mahasweta Devi once told when she was asked about her inspiration.

I was in the midst of shooting while heard the news about her death. Death is inevitable, we all know, but something somewhere cracked inside me after hearing the news. Mahasweta Devi, who has created such beautiful pieces like ‘Hajar Churashir Maa’, ‘Agnigarbha’, ‘Aranyer Adhikar’, her pen is stopped. Forever!

A writer lives many lives. Just like an actor. While writing a piece, I feel, the writer goes through the same trauma, same anguish or joy his or her characters go through. A writer giving birth to many characters leaves some traces of himself within the characters. I’m such kind of a reader who tries to know the author through their creations. And I can see a strong, opinionated, fiery, flaming woman in Mahasweta Devi who won my heart always.

“Nothing is lost” for a creative mind. It is complex, vague and full of inspirations from observations gathered from day to day life, like a collage, and nobody knows when a particular idea will pop up out of nowhere. I’m fortunate to live an author’s life as Nirbed Lahiri. He lives in his own world which cannot be justified by standard social norms. He belongs to the society but at first he belongs to himself; his own wishes, hopes, desires and dreams. In fact, in every sphere of performing arts, an artist needs to listen to the inner monologues. And guess what’s common in every artist? They are all loners in their own make-believe world. There they nourish a different soul with passion, pain, love, imagination, anguish, joy, laughter, hopes, dreams…

And it always happens. I sat to write something else and the strings of thoughts thrashed me to some other world. Actually, every artist nourishes a world within them. And through death, they take away the world with them. What we lost today, that world of revolt, passion, suffering and outrageous chapters conceived by this author. But as they say, time heals everything. And Mahasweta Devi will live through her creations another hundreds and thousand years in our hearts.

Saddened by heart, I’m sending you all good wishes. Take care and God bless!

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CYBER KEEDA: The ‘Troller’

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When I faced social media for the first time, I was a little bit surprised because it was touted as the most authentic platform to express one’s view, mostly the public figures who were initially skeptical to initiate any interaction with their fans or people in general.  Gradually I started enjoying.  All were going well and I was engrossed with the buzz created by the users.

Grapevine says, the more the crowd, the more the problems and with each increasing number of users the problem just exponentially grows. After few days, I spotted some people on the sites who are always found whining, using cuss words and ranting especially on celebrities. They are trolls. They troll about everything; from dressing sense to body shape and even they make harsh, very harsh personal attacks which can easily push someone to lose his cool.

At first I used to get really irritated to see all these filthy mouth and somehow wanted to give them a piece of my mind. I was stubborn to fight but later stopped myself from getting into this hullabaloo and ignored them tactfully unless I like some constructive criticisms from them. My point is, criticisms are always welcome, but not cheap personal attacks. Some people get sadistic pleasure by attacking someone and are desperate to seek attention and can go to any extent to get that!

Making fun of films, popular songs or celebrities is not a new thing. Parodies and mimicry have an old history. A genre to entertain people by mocking a dance step or some signature mannerisms are still in vogue. It’s a prolonged culture imbibed on and helped us to reach out to the bigger number of people. Recently, I was approached to allow a parody on me imitating my signature songs and dance steps. I had no problem with it as long as they were done in good humor. The ‘Bumba Dance’ concept was funny and quite entertaining. In fact, stars are often seen making guest appearances in their own parody.

But making racist comments, mocking about someone’s sexuality, mental health, body shape or dragging their personal lives in public to get some reaction is not acceptable at all. Hope these super frustrated troll will be vanished as the strong vigilance is happening and we would be able to express our ideas properly and interact with our fans which is our sole reason to be here at social networking site.

Keep the love coming. Take care and God bless!

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The Journey Of ‘MAHANAYAK’

 

After completing more than 30 years in the Bengali film industry,  the only regret I have is not being surrounded by my JETHU whom I lost long ago. He is none other than MAHANAYAK Uttam Kumar.  To me, Mahanayak is always Uttam Jethu, the eternal and ever charismatic Mahanayak of all times!

Uttam jethu was like a family, like an elder brother to my father. The larger than life aura of the man we have never seen when he used to come in our home during those hour long adda sessions. During my teenage days, when the whole Bengal could die to get his one glimpse , I was lucky enough to get cuddled by the great personality!

As far as my film knowledge is concerned, Uttam jethu being a stalwart acted as my mentor. Despite my father’s command over the industry, I was always a Uttam jethu addicted. Very few may know that Uttam jethu wanted to direct a film for me which never took place because of his untimely death. The pain was so severe that it shunted me for quite a long and that motivated me to come out with an idea to pay a tribute hence, me and my production house hailed the great man with a small program, through his films and songs ‘Mahanayak ke Nayaker Somman’.

Coming to the show, when approached to me at first, I was very clear on the fact that I will not use the name of the great Uttam Kumar, but through the storyline people will get to know that it’s a humble ode to the greatest star, even actresses like Paoli, Tanusree or Priyanka are not playing the exact character of Suchitra Sen,  Supriya Devi or Sabitri Chatterjee but the characters (Sucharita, Priya and Gayetree respecti vely ) which are derived from their real life.

The portrayal of Uttam jethu’s struggle, his achievements and lifestyle was so tough that I was initially in a double mind but when I saw Amit ji, Anil kapoor and Priyanka too successfully own the television, my ever adventurous and risk taking soul forced me to move forward, that the only motto of living a life.

Love to all & this time bless me for this new venture!

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And finally, the ‘Traffic’ gets cleared

 

I remember my visit to Kochi Film Festival last year. Rajesh ji was invited as the chief guest from Malayalam Film Industry but came to know he was admitted in hospital. I called him right there. His voice was breaking. He sounded very upset. Told me over the phone, his last wish would be to witness the release of ‘Traffic’ in Hindi. Who thought God had stored something that cruel for him! He was unwell for quite a long time. After fighting with ailment for months he passed away in February and the film got released in May.

‘Traffic’ was shot three years back in Mumbai. Rajesh Pillai is the director of original ‘Traffic’ movie that is in Malayalam. Later the Hindi version is adapted under his direction. While cherishing the memories of this film I remember the shooting days. How we used to have a gala time on set. Though language was a barrier for Rajesh and there was difficulty in communication but that could not stop him from extracting the best from the actors. Working with the powerhouse of talents like Manoj Bajpayee, Divya Dutt, Jimmy Shergill, Sachin Khedekar and Kitu Gidwani  was an enriching experience all together. The child actors too performed very well. So energetic and spontaneous they were on screen! Divya, Manoj and me bonded very well during the shooting of this film. I have in my mind to direct a film with Divya and Manoj in the lead. Divya used to ask me about the film whenever we met.

In ‘Traffic’, I played the role of a Superstar named Dev Kapoor who devotes himself whole heartedly into his work and has no time for family. Yes, somewhat like me. Though I try hard to spend time with my family but feel it’s not enough. I really liked the songs of the film, soothing and completely fit with the mood of the movie. You will all be surprised to know that I did no dubbing for the film. It was a complete sync sound. For this the contribution of the technical team must be appreciated. Superb job done by them!

Now when finally the film got released, and people are talking about the film we are breathing a sigh of relief. Amazing comments from the people who liked the film is pouring on us making us super happy! But in all these, I wish Rajesh was there with us witnessing the film finally got released and appreciated. We all missing you Rajesh…

Love to you all!

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