Our theater group ECTA is known to our audience as creators of serious theater – theater which makes us think, makes us to introspect and makes us a bit more engaged with our fellow members of the community. This however does not mean we don’t like to have fun. Over the years, many of our audience members have requested us to produce a full blown comedy that would cause a laugh riot in the theater. And we listened. So this year we are staging not one, but two comedies that will make you laugh like you have never laughed before – “Dance Pe Chance” and “Banijye Basate Lakshmi”. Continue reading
Raag-Rang presents Kal Ke Kalakar on 16th March at 4 pm.
- Megha Nair & Ariaki Dandawate Hindustani Vocal Duet
- Duet Presentation of Kathak & Kuchipudi by Young Artists of
Kalamandir of New Jersey and Nritya Madhavi School of Dance
- Vijay Narayan– Carnatic Vocal
- Harini Rajshekar– Carnatic Violin
Balaji Temple Auditorium (HTCS)
1075 Route 202/206, Bridgewater, NJ 08807
For Directions Visit: www.venkateswara.org
February is the month of Saraswati Puja and most of us have many sweet memories of this day. Although Saraswati Puja celebrates learning, education and the arts, the spring weather adds that extra zing of romance to the air on this special day. No wonder Saraswati Puja and Valentine’s day go hand in hand.
This year New Jersey will be celebrating Saraswati Puja at different venues and different dates through out the month. Somerset Bengali Association (SBA) will be celebrating their Puja on Saturday February 9th at the Bridgewater Raritan Middle school, 425 Foothill Road, Bridgewater. Although the weather forecast doesn’t look too promising, the organizers are going ahead full steam to present a gala event spanning the entire day. SBA’s claim to fame is the food they serve during lunch and dinner. This year too they promise a sumptuous feast as well as a great entertainment show featuring local and invited artistes. On the same day, NJPA will be celebrating their Puja at the Community Presbyterian Church, 57 Sandhill Road, Kendall Park. Their puja will feature a variety of entertainment programs including a drama by Nupur Lahiri, Rabindrasangeet by Suparna Guha and many others. Continue reading
During my last visit to Kolkata, I was lucky enough to catch the Nandikar National Theatre Festival which over the years have evolved to be one of the major theatre festivals of India. During the festival, the Academy of Fine Arts compound livens up like no other time. This time Nandikar Festival was dedicated to the memory of the famous writer Sunil Gangopadhyay, playwright Mohit Chattopadhyay, and the great musician Pandit Ravi Shankar, all of whom we lost in the year 2012. Huge posters bearing photographs and quotes from these masters decorated the path from the gate to the theatre entrance. It was indeed a fitting tribute to these great men. Rudraprasad Sengupta, the seventy eight year old thespian and the director and president of Nandikar, claims that this festival is the festival of all theatre lovers of Kolkata. Nandikar only provides the labor. Continue reading
Many years ago, when I used to work in Kolkata, I used to commute regularly between Howrah and Kharagpur. The drill was something like this. After reaching Howrah station and buying my ticket, I walked down to the extreme left end of the station. By then a large crowd has already assembled at a strategic location from where one can see the electronic display as well as reach any of the potential platforms where the train is expected to arrive which is almost impossible to predict. Suddenly the huge crowd starts moving in a massive frenzy. This usually means that the electronic board has displayed the desired information. Travelling light is extremely important, since in that tsunami, it is extremely important that you do not disturb the stream line motion. A huge luggage, or a slow moving elderly can create a massive turbulence. And then when the train arrived, one needs to prepare himself for the next battle – to get onboard and then to get a seat. Continue reading
That’s what I am going to find out very soon. On Monday (Dec 10, 2012) morning when my flight lands on the tarmac of Netaji Subhash Chandra International airport, I will possibly see the new terminal building from the window, but will still use the old one. I understand it will still be a few more months before the terminal opens to the travelers. It’s okay with me, as long as it does not become yet another unfulfilled promise. After the new government took over the reigns of West Bengal, like many other Bengalis, I too hoped to see change sweeping over Kolkata and West Bengal like wild fire. But the indications I get from the news media and from my friends social network posts, I am a bit sceptic these days. I understand that it takes time to change things that have settled in over the years. But one and half years is not too small either. Two years ago when I was in Kolkata, I saw hope glittering in the eyes of the people. They were eager to welcome the new leaders in the hope of a better system. They said, “We are going to throw out the old and bring in the new. Only then things will change for the better.” This time when I visit them, I’d like to hear from them how do they feel now? Do they feel that things are changing for the better or are they the same? Continue reading
8:00 pm, November 9th, 2012. Hurricane Sandy has just battered the US Eastern Seaboard. New Jersey and its neighboring states are still trying to recover from the massive destruction all around. Several thousand households still without power, and gasoline shortages all around causing long lines at the gas stations. Amongst all this pandemonium, lights go up on a small theatre stage in Edison New Jersey. A young man, dressed in US Army fatigue, rise up from a corner and says, “Hi! I’m Ron. Captain Ron Mitra. Talking to you from Bagdad Iraq.” The show starts, because the show must go on.
by Amitava Sen
That was a Sunday afternoon not long after I came to this country; I was traveling to Kansas City on a Sunday to attend a conference in our corporate head quarter with my boss and a few other co-workers. Although the road to the airport had light traffic, I missed the flight. I panicked at first, but then realized that no harm had been caused. The meeting was for Monday morning and I had the whole night to make up for the delay. Those were the days when Pan-Am and TWA were still flying; you could change your flights without paying a penalty or even could transfer your flight to another airline. I rebooked in a flight touching St.Louis, Missouri in between and reached my destination later in the evening. Other than my boss, Stanley Simon no one noticed that I had been missing. He seemed visibly upset. I offered some kind of excuse and he in turn did not make any attempt to hide his incredulity. Continue reading
The first day of Kallol Durga Puja 2012 concluded just couple of hours ago. This is a unique feature of Kallol, to celebrate Durga Puja for three days – Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Not too many Bengali clubs of North America can boast of this feature. It is more homely and informal in nature and the crowd is manageable. People walked in leisurely, picked up their passes and parking tickets and strolled into the hall while greeting friends on their way. Pretty ladies dressed in designer saris busy complementing each other and posing in front of eager camera men, men in colorful kurtas hanging around with tea and cigarrettes, and children in cute dresses running around the hall made the festive mood just perfect. Continue reading
After a gap of more than six years, my play Ron is being staged again in New Jersey. Although this time it is produced by a mainstream American community theater company, Edison Valley Playhouse, a question may naturally arise – why now? The Iraq war, which forms the background of the play, is officially over. America still does have a presence in Afganistan, but its size is nowhere comparable to that in Iraq during the peak of the war, and withdrawal from Afganistan is almost imminent. America’s primary enemy, Al-Queda has been all but destroyed. Bin Laden is dead. Although the possibility of another war is not out of question, the American people are not going through the same levels of stress as they were during the Iraq war. Under these circumstances, is Ron still relevant?