destination india

Friday, January 28, 2005

tits bits of boi mela 2005

As mentioned earlier, the inauguration was done by Daniel Pennac, the French writer in the presence of the Chief Minister Sri Buddhadev Bhattacharji and the French Ambassador Dominique Girard. The Ambassador said – ‘Dublin is the city of James Joyce, Paris is the city of Balzac and Kolkata is the city of Rabindra Nath and Satyajit Ray.’ The Chief Minister said that several French authors have been translated into Bengali. He was convinced that even in the age of internet, books have a special place in everybody’s lives. Daniel Pennac declared open the mela by sounding the gong and saying ‘let us celebrate the power of words.’

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Since this is the 50th year of Satyajit Ray’s film ‘Pather Panchali’ (‘song of the road’) a special pavilion has been created. It displays the model of a vintage railway engine and bogie of the 50s. The film, an adaptation of a novel of the same name written by Bibhuti Bhusan Bandopadhaya brought international recognition to Satyajit Ray in the Cannes Film Festival of 1956. The 115 minute film in black and white displays the best of film making and direction. Ray’s eyes for tiny details were an exceptional feature of the film. The scene in which the children Durga and Apu run to watch a train go by emitting smoke lingers on long after the film ends.

To rekindle old memories, Smt Uma Sengupta, who played the role of Durga in the film, was invited to the Fair. She faced the TV cameras and talked briefly about the film.

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As is known, this is probably the last year that the fair will be able to boast of such a large layout in terms of area. Owing to a recent directive of the Honorable Court, this and other fairs like this are to be relocated in other parts of the city to preserve the greenery of the Maidan and rid the open spaces of pollution. The noted writer Sunil Gangopadhaya, when asked by a lady journalist to comment on this, said – ‘we may have to consider going up – like the skyscraper’.

(to be continued……)

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