I should begin by thanking Enrique Nicanor, Director of the Ourense International Film Festival in Galicia, Spain, for including a ‘Homage to Tagore’ section in this year’s festival to mark Tagore’s 150th birth anniversary, in conjunction with the Tagore Library of Ourense founded by José Paz. It is one of the first, fairly comprehensive tributes to Tagore’s 150th birth anniversary, which UNESCO is marking in 2011.
We’ve been thinking about this cooking webseries for a few months but never quite found the time to launch it. The concept is that Kaberi explains to a maximum of four guests how she is preparing the evening dinner for all of us. The videos and recipes are published on a dedicated Kaberi’s Indian cooking Facebook page, inviting people to post their feedback, photos and experience of making the recipes. The contents of the Facebook page are visible to anyone but only Facebook members are able to ‘Like’ the page and contribute to it.
OK, so it has taken me a few months to find the time to edit the material shot by our friend Séamas McSwiney. Still, now you can see a special edition of the Shyama podcast about how the film was received at the Kolkata Film Festival in November 2009.
What if people all over the world were to mark Tagore’s birth anniversary (actually on 7 May 2011) in their homes and communities with tree-planting ceremonies and/or performances of his environmental plays Red oleanders (‘Raktakarabi’) and The waterfall (‘Muktadhara’)?
It’s been an intriguing week. First, I spent last Saturday at #ORGCon, where I had been invited to talk about our film Shyama in the opening panel discussion chaired by writer Cory Doctorow entitled ‘Thriving in the real digital economy’. Then on Monday evening, as I was still digesting what I had heard at #ORGCon, I noticed our friends Brian Newman and Sheri Candler tweeting enthusiastically about Gerd Leonhard’s talk The future of film and cinema.
On Saturday, for the first time in ages, Kaberi and I spent the evening with our dear friends Martin and Nathalie, as well as their wonderful children Chloé and Melie. When we mentioned that we plan to start a video podcast series of Kaberi’s Indian cooking, Martin recommended that, before doing so, we should watch Nora Ephron’s film Julie & Julia, starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. He told us that it is about the parallel stories of the person who wrote the first French cookery book for Americans and someone who decides to make all the recipes in the first French in a year and to write a blog about it.
On Saturday evening, Kaberi & I found ourselves invited to help introduce an open-air screening of the ‘Bollywood’ film Dilwale dulhania le jayenge (The big-hearted will get the bride) in Liège. Now, I cannot claim to be an expert in ‘Bollywood’ films, not least because I don’t understand Hindi. However, in recent years, Kaberi has introduced me to the better-known films of this genre through subtitled versions.
Last Saturday, at London’s Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Samir Khan and Suddho mancha did something remarkable. They organised an event to pay tribute to some of those who have helped the UK’s Bengali community to sustain Tagore’s legacy. Those honoured were Arati Bhattacharya, Sushmita Bhattacharya, Pompa Dhar, Benu Rahman and my father, Jayanta Chatterjee.
Many have been looking forward to celebrating Rabindranath Tagore’s 150th birth anniversary, which will be on May 7, 2011. So much so that some started celebrating over a year in advance.
UNESCO announced that it would be celebrating the anniversary, in the same way that it had celebrated Tagore’s birth centenary in 1961. That was marked by several notable events all over the world, including Satyajit Ray’s documentary Rabindranath Tagore and Teen Kanya, his trilogy of Tagore’s short stories The Postmaster, Monihara (the lost jewels) and Samapti (Conclusion).
Kaberi and I went to see this film last weekend. It’s quite a remarkable film in several ways and I’d recommend you to see it.
My name is Khan is an Indian film. To many in the West, this may bring to mind a 3-hour romantic film with a good-guy-falls-in-love-with-nice-girl-who-falls-for-bad-guy-but-is-rescued-by-good-guy-and-falls-in-love-and-they-live-happily-ever-after plot in which