ETV Bangla has changed its broadcast schedule in USA. They claim that the schedule is now follows the current Kolkata broadcast schedule only with the time shifted. In other words a show at 8.00pm in Kolkata will be broadcast at 8.00pm Eastern in USA. Although, now we have the privilge of watching the current shows instead of a huge lag, the popular serials have now fast forwarded quite a bit with lot of story being lost in the process. The scheduling also doesn’t seem to be stabilzed – we often have to experience erratic programming.
The second issue is that the advertisements seem to have increased quite a bit. A short segment of broadcast is followed by a prolonged advertisement most of which are irrelevant for US market (I don’t think we are interested in Baygon Spray or Glucon-D).
The third issue is that ETV does not bother to update their listings with Direct-TV database and hence it makes DVR (aka Tivo, PVR) recording a major problem. I had once sent an email to ETV, and they did update it once. But that’s it.
Let’s hope ETV gets their act together soon and make our subscription worth it.
“My name is Shikha Morol. That’s not my real name, but I don’t want to tell you my real name. This is my name here. And please don’t take any pictures. I won’t allow it . . .”
The woman in front of me sat with her head bowed. She wore a blue synthetic sari with garish floral prints and a mismatched purple blouse. She looked neat and clean but signs of poverty were evident in her work-roughened hands and broken nails.
Her name, she said, was Shikha, “a little flame.” She said she was 30. I was surprised. I assumed she was closer to 50.
This is how one of the interviews with Sikha, a sex worker in Sonagachhi Kolkata, starts in Shamita Dasgupta and Indrani Sinha’s latest book, “Mothers for Sale: Women in Kolkata’s Sex Trade”. Continue reading →
Jadio Galpo : A New Play by Theatre Workshop
Friday February 13, 2009 at 6:30pm
76/1, Bagbazar Street
kolkata, West Bengal Get Directions
Theatre Workshop presents
A play by Sudipta Bhawmik
Directed by Ashok Mukhopadhyay
Sanjoy, a young software professional, has arrived in USA, the “land of opportunity”, for just over six months and works for a software body shopping company “InterSoft” owned and operated by Bill (a Bengali American living in the States for over thirty years.) On the day of the play Bill fires Sanjoy and asks him to go back to India. Sanjoy, however, is not happy with this decision and refuses to oblige. He informs Bill that he is not going to return to India under any circumstances. He states that returning to India is synonymous to signing a death warrant for himself. He cannot subject himself to such a grave risk. And to justify himself, and to win his ultimate motive, he has to make a choice between truth or deceit.
Theatre Workshop, the leading theater company/group of Kolakata, will be premiering their new production “Jadio Galpo” at the Academy of Fine Arts theater in Kolkata at 3.00pm on Saturday February 7th. The play is written by yours truly and was earlier produced by our group ECTA in Kolkata and USA as “Satyameva”. The play has also been published in the Bohurupi theater magazine in 2008.
Theater Workshop, who under the leadership of Ashok Mukhopadhyay, is promoting the play as the first attempt in globalizing Bengali Theater. Globalization has affected Bengali theater from its early days with the contributions of Herasim Steppanovich Lebedeff and later with the numerous adaptations of western plays onto Bengali stage. But the play “Jadio Galpo” introduces globalization from a different perspective – it deals with the lives of the global Bengali. Bengalis are no longer limited within the geographic confines of the two Bengals, they have now spread themselves out all over the world. And, it is rare to see a play these days that talks about the lives of the Bengalis who live outside Bengal or Bangladesh. There has been some attempts in films (Bong Connection, The Namesake etc.) but Bengali theater has always kept themselves limited to their roots. In 2006, when our group staged “Ron” in Kolkata, it created quite a bit of stir. Ananda Lal, the theater reviewer of “The Telegraph” wrote in 2007 while writing about “Satyameva” – “The group from New Jersey who last year stunned Calcutta with their play Ron…”. And I believe that this effect was caused not by any production extravaganza, but due to the fact that possibly for the first time the Kolkata audience experienced a Bengali play that takes place in an American locale, a play that tells the stories of Bengalis in America.
“Jadio Galpo” also tells the stories of two generations of Bengalis in America – the veterans who struggled hard to reach their pinnacle of success, and the new comers or FOBs (Fresh Off the Boat) who with their H1-B visa are set to conquer the world by any means. But it also talks about hopes and dreams – dreams fulfilled and dreams shattered. The tales of the global Bengali also needs to be told – also needs to be listened too. Because it is only from a distance can one see one’s own world in a different light.
The upcoming show schedules are as follows:
Feb 7th, 3.00pm Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata
Feb 13th, 6.30pm Girish Mancha, Kolkata
Other shows will be advertised in the local newspapers.
The play is directed by Ashok Mukhopadhyay who also acts in one of the lead roles. The other character is performed by Krishnagoti Chatterjee.
If you happen to be in Kolkata, I’d strongly encourage you to watch the play and give me your feedback.
Pujo contribution or Chaanda (as we fondly call this concept) is always an issue with the average Bengali. Be it in India or in USA, Bengalis have the feeling that this is an unjust extortion in the name of a festival that we all like to attend. It should be free for all of us. Where the organizers get their funds is not for us to bother about. Since, most of the Pujo organizers make it a point to ensure that each and every attendee pays their contribution, we’d like to get away with the minimum amount that helps us to claim a stake in the festival. But the Pujo organizers these days are smart, they make the contribution amount quite obvious by displaying it in bold font. To justify the specified amount, the organizers will cite different components of the cost incurred to hold a festival of this magnitude, like goat meat, Mumbai and Kolkata performers – etc etc. This cartoon raises a legitimate question – why not an a-la carte system for Pujor Chanda? Sounds fair to me!
Recently we (ECTA) had the opportunity to stage our new play “Taconic Parkway” at the California Natyamela 2008 held at the Amador Theater in Pleasanton, CA. Last year when I was visiting California to see the staging of my play “Ron” by the local group ENAD, I met Pradosh Sarkar who invited me to participate at the 2008 Natyamela, their fourth year of the festival. Pradosh Sarkar, a playwright and director himself, is a key member of Sanskriti, the group that organizes the Natyamela. In the previous years they limited their invitation only to the local groups, but Pradosh told me that he wants to make an exception in 2008 by inviting us from New Jersey. And I had no option but to accept the offer when he also assured me that they would take care of the expenses. However, Pradosh reminded me that they have a time limitation and each play must be limited to an hour, give or take ten minutes. This was a challenge for me since the plays we had in our repertoire all exceeded this limit. But I thought that this may be a perfect opportunity to work on a new play that was brewing in my mind for some time. After I came back, I started to work on the script and soon developed a one act play named “Taconic Parkway” which perfectly fits the bill for the California Natyamela 2008. It had three characters, and was limited to an hour and ten minutes. Continue reading →
After receiving wide critical acclaim and audience appreciation in Kolkata, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, ECTA offers an encore presentation of “Satyameva”, a play by Sudipta Bhawmik.
Sanjoy, a young software professional, has arrived in the “land of opportunity” for just over six months and works for a software body shopping company “InterSoft” owned and operated by Bill (a Bengali American living in the States for over thirty years.) On the day of the play Bill fires Sanjoy and asks him to go back to India. Sanjoy, however, is not happy with this decision and refuses to oblige. He informs Bill that he is not going to return to India under any circumstances. He states that returning to India is synonymous to signing a death warrant for himself. He cannot subject himself to such a grave risk. And to justify himself, and to win his ultimate motive, he has to make a choice between truth or deceit.
ECTA (Ethnomedia Center for Theater Arts) presents this new Bengali play (with English SuperTitles) at the Edison Valley Playhouse, in Edison NJ on June 28, 2008 at 3.30pm.
On June 28th and 29th, ECTA Inc. will be presenting a mini theater festival of three plays. On 29th June, an encore presentation of the highly acclaimed play “Satyameva” will be held at 3.30pm. This play has received great reviews both in Kolkata and USA and has been recently made into a Telefilm (titled Satyasotyo for Tara channel) by the reputed actor and director of Kolkata, Chandan Sen. Watch the promo video by clicking the image above.
On 29th, the festival features two shows of two plays each. The first play, Ashomoy, is a novel audio-visual presentation by Theater Practitioners of Cleveland OH, directed by the veteran All India Radio and Doordarshan artist Saubhik Sen. “Ashomoy” will be followed by “Taconic Parkway“, a one act play by ECTA Inc. “Taconic Parkway” is a dark play of an immigrant Bengali couple and a visiting actor from India. The play premieres at the California Natyamela on June 7th, 2008.
Synopsis of the plays and other details are given below. Seating is limited, hence please book your seats as early as possible. Continue reading →
Take a peek at this exciting promotional video “Advantage Bengal” produced by the Department of Information Technology, Govt. of West Bengal and Webel. Listen what the IT business leaders are saying about the IT opportunities in West Bengal as well as from the Chief-Minister Mr. Buddhadev Bhattacharya and IT Minister Dr. Debesh Das. Share this video with others who may be interested by using the “Share This” button on your right.
The Financial Express on its March 19 issue published an article which drew the attention of many high-tech entrepreneurs. It reported the laying of the foundation stone of a twenty story building that will house the India Design Center (IDC), a semiconductor chip design facility. West Bengal IT minister Debesh Das, who laid the foundation stone, said the facility will be set up according to a concept paper prepared by IIT Kharagpur and will offer semiconductor-related post graduate courses. It will also have space for semiconductor-driven companies and serve as an incubation centre for promoting entrepreneurs. Continue reading →