The acclaimed filmmaker Suman Ghosh was in town. He was invited to New Jersey by Dhriti Bagchi (of Mrittika) to screen his recent film “Kadambari”. Based on the life of Kadambari Tagore, the wife of Jyotirindranath Tagore and sister-in-law of Rabindranath Tagore, the film presents one of the most intriguing stories of the Bengali cultural history. I took this opportunity to chat with Suman about his filmmaking process, about his dual career (as an economics professor and a filmmaker) and some specifics about the film “Kadambari”. I hope you enjoy listening to this not-too-long conversation.
The young Rishi Ashtavakra was born crooked at eight parts of his body. The deformity was caused because of his father’s curse. But later Ashtavakra saves his father from his ill fortune. Listen to this story and the stories of how lord Vishnu slays the demon Narakasura and later saves the earth by taking the form of a boar or a Varaha.
In this episode of the Stories of Mahabharata, Rishi Lomasha tells the Pandavas two exciting stories. In the first story, he tells the story of Rishi Chyavan who regained his youth with the help of the celestial physicians the Ashwini Kumar twins. The second story narrates the tale of King Ushinara who was willing to give his body and life to save a little dove who took his refuge.
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According to the Hindu scriptures, Lord Vishnu appeared on earth nine times to purge the earth of evil (his 10th appearance is yet to happen). Parashurama was the sixth incarnation. In this episode, Rishi Lomasha tells the Pandavas the story of Parashurama and how he passed his father Rishi Jamadagni’s cruel test and later killed the evil King KartyaVirya who had a thousand arms. Parashurama later went on to cleanse the earth of the evil Kshatriyas for twenty-one times before retiring to his hermitage in the Mahendra Mountains.
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Rishi Lomapada tells Yudhistira and his entourage the tale of Bhagiratha and how he brought Ganga from the heavens to the earth and then led her to the oceans, thus forming the mighty river.
He then tells them the story of Rishwasringa and how he was seduced by a clever courtesan who brought the young Rishi to the Kingdom of Anga to help bring rains to the cursed land.
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Debshankar Haldar is undoubtedly the most sought after stage actor in Kolkata. As of now, Debshankar performs in 23 productions at the same time, a feat which no actor has ever been able to accomplish. Considered to be the greatest stage actor of our times, Debshankar received the Sangeet Natak Academy award for his superlative performances. Few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to have a candid conversation with this accomplished actor. He spoke about his acting and his process of character development. He also spoke about the current status of Bengali theater and shared his dreams and wishes.
If you are a theater lover, this interview would be a treat for you.
After spending few years in the Kamyaka forest, the Pandavas embark on a grand pilgrimage to visit the various holy places around the country. and learn about their glorious legends. Rishi Lomasha volunteered to be their guide. On their first stop, they visit the Ashrama of Rishi Agastya. Lomasha tells them the stories of the strange miracles performed by Agastya.
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Few months ago, filmmaker Anindya Chatterjee was in the USA with his debut feature film “Open-Tee Bioscope”. He, along with his friend Saugata, was touring the country and screening the film a several venues where Bengalis flocked. For many Bengalis in their middle age, the nostalgic film recreates their teenage years spent in the lanes and bylanes of Kolkata. It chronicles a tumultuous year in the life of a teenage boy, a coming of age story that is familiar to many of us even if we didn’t grow up in Kolkata. I got a chance to catch up with Anindya when he was visiting Washington D.C. to screen his film. He was kind enough to spend few minutes talking about his film and about his future plan. I hope you enjoy.
Arjuna visits the heavens to acquire more weapons from his father Indra. Apart from acquiring the skills in using the divine weapons, Arjuna also begins taking lessons in music and dance from the Gandharva Guru Chitrasena. There he meets the beautiful Apsara, Urvasi and Arjuna’s resolve gets tested once again.
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Yudhistira realized that to conquer the Kauravas, he needs to have powerful weapons. He sends Arjuna on a quest to acquire divine and powerful weapons from the gods. Arjuna travels far and meets Lord Shiva in a strange circumstance. The pleased lord Shiva fulfils our heroes wish.
Listen to this special episode of the Vana Parva or the Forest Chapter of the Mahabharatas.