Urhalpool October Issue is Online

The October issue of the bilingual (Bengali/English) webzine Urhalpool is now online. The latest issue includes stories by Mandakranta Sen, Samaresh Majumdar, Nabanita Deb Sen, Alolika Mukherjee, Abul Bashar and others.  Serials by Sunil Ganguly and Taslima Nasreen are still ongoing. Special attraction would be the interview of Baichung Bhutia and  a memoir by Srikanta Acharya. I am sure you’ll enjoy this issue like the previous ones.

Loss of a Friend

Three months ago, when I lost my mother, I received the following email from a close friend:

Gayatri GamarshTonight at the Sahitya O Alochana meeting I heard the very sad news of your mother’s passing away.
I offer my heart-felt condolences to you. I have suffered some losses in my own life and I know first hand the sorrow of having to say good bye to a loved one. I also know that during this time and all through your life, you’ll know that she is with you and watching over you, because you can feel her presence in your heart.
I feel deeply moved by this change from life to after-life that your mom has gone through and I felt compelled to tell you that she is still with you and will always be, just as I feel that my son is always with me, no matter where I am.
With my love and blessings to you and your family

The email was from Gayatri Gamarsh (who allowed me to call her as Gayatri-di) and it really helped me cope with my pain. Little did I know that three months later, Gayatri-di herself will move on to “her after-life” leaving us behind mourning her loss.

I came to know Gayatri-di mainly through her literary works and her love for anything artistic.  She used to love coming to our plays and appreciated them very much. Several times she has written about our plays in Anandasambad and other magazines. Her appreciation and encouragement meant a lot to me and my team mates.   It is for people like Gayatri-di that makes all the hard work in writing and staging a play worth it.

In September, she had participated in a workshop on creative Bengali writing conducted by Sunil Gangopadhyay. She had rescheduled her heart surgery just to attend this workshop online. That was the last time I had heard her voice on the phone.  Later, after her surgery, she had sent me an email asking for an article or cartoon for the “Sambad Bichitra” English section. But I never had the chance to hand it to her.

As mentioned by Gayatri-di in her email, I’ll believe that she is always with us and will be watching any play we put up or read any article I write or any cartoon I draw.

Goodbye Gayatri-di and thank you for all your encouragement and blessings, for those will be my source of inspiration for whatever I do in the future.

NJ Independent South Asian Cine Fest 2009: A Brief Report

Oru_Pennum_Randaanum_Srilanka The three day long 3rd Annual New Jersey Independent South Asian Cine Fest (NJISACF) concluded on Sunday, October 11, 2009 at the Rutgers Busch Campus Student Center. The festival does not have the clout that some of the other major films festivals around the World enjoy, but it is gradually gaining in momentum. The festival does not boast of stars and glitterati, but is more focused on quality films made by artists of South Asian descent. This year, the festival showcased around 25 films including full length features and shorts that highlighted the best works of some young and promising film makers as well as veterans like Adoor Gopalakrishnan. I, however, was able to watch only a handful of films and I’ll discuss those in this ‘attempt of a report’ of mine. I would like to welcome the readers who attended the festival to comment on the films they watched.

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Herta Muller Awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature

Herta Muller - 2009 Nobel Prize in LiteratureHerta Muller, “who, with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed” won the 2009 Nobel Prize in literature. Ms. Müller, 56, emigrated to Germany in 1987 after years of persecution and censorship in Romania. She is the first German writer to win the Nobel award since Günter Grass in 1999.

Herta Müller was born on August 17, 1953 in the German-speaking town Nitzkydorf in Banat, Romania. Her parents were members of the German-speaking minority in Romania. Her father had served in the Waffen SS during World War II. Many German Romanians were deported to the Soviet Union in 1945, including Müller’s mother who spent five years in a work camp in present-day Ukraine. Many years later, in Atemschaukel (2009), Müller was to depict the exile of the German Romanians in the Soviet Union. From 1973 to 1976, Müller studied German and Romanian literature at the university in Timi?oara (Temeswar). During this period, she was associated with Aktionsgruppe Banat, a circle of young German-speaking authors who, in opposition to Ceau?escu’s dictatorship, sought freedom of speech. After completing her studies, she worked as a translator at a machine factory from 1977 to 1979. She was dismissed when she refused to be an informant for the secret police. After her dismissal, she was harassed by Securitate. Continue reading

Another Raman Wins Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Dr. Venkatraman RamakrishnanOnce again an Indian (or person of Indian origin) wins the Nobel prize. Dr. Venkatraman Ramakrishnan was awarded the 2009 Nobel prize in chemistry for his research on ribosomes. It was in 1930, another Raman, Dr. Chandrashekhar Venkata Raman (popularly known as C. V. Raman) won the Nobel prize in Physics.

Dr. Venkataraman (of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England) won the award along with Dr. Thomas A. Steitz of Yale University, and Dr. Ada E. Yonath of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel.
Dr. Venkatraman was born in Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, India, in 1952 and obtained his Ph.D. at Ohio University, and holds American citizenship.

For further details, visit http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/chemistry/laureates/2009/index.html

NJISACF 2009: Day 3

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 11
ALL SCREENINGS AT BUSCH CAMPUS CENTER
604 Bartholomew Rd, Piscataway, NJ

Time MPR Center Hall
12:00 PM
Pura Handa Kaluwara / Death on a Full Moon Day (Narrative Feature/Sri Lanka/ 1999/ 74min/ Sinhala)
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Barah Aana / Short-changed

(Narrative Feature/India/ 2009/ 97min/ English-Hindi)
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2:15 PM
A Bristol Pilgrimage

(Docu Feature/UK-USA-INDIA/ 2008/ 60min/ English)
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Shared Look – Theatre Life in Kabul

(Docu Short/Germany-Afghanistan/ 2006/ 43min/ Dari-English)
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Oru Pennum Randaanum / Climate for Crime(Narrative Feature/India/ 2008/ 115min/ Malayalam)
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Shared Look – Theatre Life in Kabul

(Docu Short/Germany-Afghanistan/ 2006/ 43min/ Dari-English)
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5:15 PM
Mohandas

(Narrative Feature/India/ 2008/ 117min/ Hindi-English)

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Chaturanga / 4 Chapters

(Narrative Feature/India/ 2008/ 125min/ Bengali-English)
Sponsored by Mrittika of New Jersey

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NJISACF 2009: Day 2

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 10
ALL SCREENINGS AT LOREE IN DOUGLASS COLLEGE
72 Lipman Dr., New Brunswick, New Jersey, 08901

Time LOR 022 LOR 024 LOR 020
12:00 PM
Boomerang

(Narrative Short/USA/ 2009/ 12min/ English)
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Karma Calling

(Narrative Feature/India/ 2008/ 90min/ English-Hindi)
Sponsored by Sukh Sagar Cuisine of Piscataway

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Certain Chapters

(Narrative Short/Singapore/ 2008/28min/ Tamil-Hokkien-Malay)
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Dinner for Four

(Narrative Short/Germany/ 2008/ 14min/ English)
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Malaamee / Funeral

(Narrative Short/France-Nepal/ 2008/ 20min/ Nepali)
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Small Voices

(Narrative Short/Pakistan/ 2008/16min/ Urdu-English)
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Who Am I Ek Zindagi

(Narrative Short/India/ 2009/20min/ Hindi)
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Banshi

(Narrative Feature/Bangladesh/ 2007/ 76min/ Bengali)
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Chinese Whispers

(Narrative Silent Short/India/ 2007/ 28min/ English-Hindi)
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2:15 PM
Sarpanaah / Shelter

(Animated Short/Afghanistan/ 2007/ 6min/ Silent)
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Loori

(Narrative Feature/USA/ 2008/ 90min/ Dari-English )
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7 Days in Slow Motion

(Narrative Feature/India/ 2009/ 101min/ English-Hindi)
Sponsored by The Indian Institute of Performing Arts (IIPA)

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4:30 PM
Barah Aana / Short-changed

(Narrative Feature/India/ 2009/ 97min/ English-Hindi)
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THE DAMNED RAIN (Gabhricha Paus)

Narrative Feature/India/ 2008/ 100min/ Marathi
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7:15 PM
Akasa Kusum / Flowers of the Sky

(Narrative Feature/Sri Lanka/ 2008/ 90min/ Sinhala)
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Gulabi Talkies

(Narrative Feature/India/ 2008/ 122min/ Kannada)
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9:30 PM
Swapnodanay / On the Wings of Dreams

(Narrative FeatureIBangladesh/ 2008/ 88min/ Bengali)
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Ghosht Story

(Narrative Short/USA/ 2009/ 19min/ English-Marathi-Hindi)
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Kala Pul / The Black Bridge

(Narrative Short/US-Pakistan/ 2008/ 42min/ Urdu-English)
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Hungry God

(Narrative Short/India/ 2009/ 8min/ Marathi)
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Pura Handa Kaluwara / Death on a Full Moon Day

(Narrative Feature/Sri Lanka/ 1999/ 74min/ Sinhala)
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B2B Legends : A Unique Concert from Que Zara Productions

New Jersey based Que Zara Productions has announced that they are hosting a concert which will showcase the melodies of the 50s era down to the jingles of the 90s. The show is aptly called B2B Legends or Burman to Burman (S.D.Burman to R.D.Burman), which will be led by original yesteryear super musicians like Ajit Pachegaokar (electric and acoustic guitar) and Inder Singh (I.P.Singh) on the piano/keyboards. They will be supported by nine other famous musicians, including Sanjay Shah (keyboards and vocals), Kumar Majmudar (accordion), Atish Mitra (bass guitar), Sripad Jail (dholak, tabla), Deepak Gundani (rhythm), Pappoo (octopad), Harish B (mandolin), Kalpesh Patel (drums) and Ramesh Maraj (saxophone) of IndiaSax.

The show will focus on the genius instrumentation behind the melodies and will feature vocal renditions from Shweta Ranade and Abhijit Pachegaokar.

Celebrated talent Dan Skye (formerly with Bon Jovi) will provide the sound engineering for the show. Additionally, it will feature melodies of other legendary music composers from Khaiyyam, Laxmikant – Pyarelal, Kalyanji Anandji to disco king Bappi Lahiri.

Speaking on the occasion Kousik Bhowal and Prabir Mitra, Board Advisors for Que Zara agreed, “It is like a Yanni show of Indian music, an Indian instrument-lead concert to savor and learn how the blockbuster hits were created, meet these great musicians in person, enjoy world class audio and go home humming your favorite tunes.”

Aparna Tandon, Prajee chief who will manage the event, said, “I am simply excited to be a part of all this. Five musical decades in one night, eleven expert musicians on one stage, what else can a music lover want?”

Que Zara has plans to replicate the show in the tri-state area in future months.

Dolna Banerjee, Que Zara founder partner, said, “We chose this facility for the excellent acoustics and people capacity. We sincerely hope we can replicate this in other music-loving cities in the US. New Jersey will now experience this unique collage of musicians playing together.”

Que Zara has ambitious plans to bring other unique blockbuster shows to the tri-state area.

Tickets, Show Details are available from: http://cities.sulekha.com/new-jersey/events/Social/2009/09/b-to-b-legends.htm

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NJPA Kali Puja 2009

NJPA cordially invites you to celebrate Kali Puja on October 10th at CrossRoads Middle School.Puja will start at 3:00 PM which will be followed by Prasad and Dinner. Nirmalya Roy of Zee-TV, Tara TV, ETV, Saregama fame will present semi-calssical and ghazals and Moumita Chatterjee of Calcutta Door Darshan, ETV, Tara Music and aAkash Bangla Fame and will present variety songs,. For more information, please visit http://njpa.net.