June 21, 2021
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Calcutta Corner

While NaMo kept Mamata happy with the "Poriborton" message, he drove it home that as far as the Centre is concerned, it's BJP that Bengal can rely on.

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Calcutta Corner
File - PTI Photo/ Ashok Bhaumik
Calcutta Corner

Modi's Go At Poriborton
In Calcutta, the past couple of weeks have been marked by massive back to back political rallies. Even before the heady effect of the gargantuan Mamata Banerjee rally could properly die down, with everyone talking about little else, Narendra Modi burst onto the scene. The BJP leader and its Prime Ministerial candidate drew a massive crowd at the same venue where Mamata had held her rally on January 30 – the Brigade Parade Grounds (though Didi's was three times bigger) – and suddenly the Bengal BJP seemed to come out of hibernation. Posters of Modi appeared everywhere; truckloads of people waving BJP flags sped along the city streets. NaMo told the Bengalis that since they brought Poriborton (Change) to the state, it was now time for them to bring change in Delhi too. Didi too had said the same thing at her rally. But the big difference is that while she was obviously talking about TMC, Modi meant BJP. The wily politician that he is, he killed two birds with one stone: While he kept Mamata happy with the "Poriborton" message (though he meant BJP, the Poriborton slogan has now become synonymous with her party), he also drove the message home that as far as the Centre is concerned, it's his party BJP that Bengal can rely on as the alternative.

Maa, Maati and Mahasweta
Less then a year into Mamata's ascension to power in the state, renowned author Mahasweta Devi called her government fascist. Known to have supported Mamata throughout her pre-election days, lending a certain amount of respectability and credibility to her movement, the Magsaysay award-winning writer's scathing criticism came after Mamata made some arbitrary arrests. Not one to take criticism kindly, Mamata obviously fell out with her. Then suddenly she (Mahasweta Devi) surprised everyone by not only making an appearance at the Mamata rally, where Didi kick-started her Election campaign, but sitting through the entire programme after which she said that Mamata should become the Prime Minister. Mamata quickly embraced Mahasweta and the two smiled at each other.

Asset to BJP
Bengal's "golden boy" (the epithet refers to his well-documented penchant for the yellow metal) Bappi Lahiri has never claimed to be all that original. Once, when questioned about the propriety of his "lifting" from world music, he answered, "It is not new. People have always done it but they would make some changes so that they did not get caught." Then he added, "Pehle copy hota tha…ab zerox copy hota hai." But even his harshest critics have conceded that the impromptu ode to Rajnath Singh, which he burst into while the BJP leader was announcing Bappi da's joining the party at a press meet and which made most Bengalis cringe, "was an original." 

Filmy Feuds
There were initial plans that the mega-budget Hindi movie Gunday, (35 crores) directed by Ali Abbas Zafar and slated to be released on Valentines' day, would be dubbed in Bengali for its Calcutta and Bengal release. The reason was that a large part of the film was shot in the city and other parts of the state. However, the proposal has been met with huge opposition from the Bengali film industry which feels it will impinge upon their space and the regional film market. This week Tollygunge film industry stars, directors and producers called a meeting and decided that they would fight tooth and nail to prevent such a move to avoid "disastrous" consequences for itself.

Gyaan On The Go
Written behind and auto:
Orey pagol
ki niey jabi?
duniya ta gol

(O crazy one
What will you take with you?
The world is round.)

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