25 - 03 - 2019

‘Firebrand’ film director Mrinal Sen dead

Kolkata,Dec 31,2018:Iconic director and winner of the Dada Saheb Phalke award, Mrinal Sen, passed away at his south Kolkata home on Sunday. He was 95.

The national award-winning film-maker was suffering from age-related issues for quite some time now.

He was best known for films like Bhuvan ShomeEk Din AchanakMrigayaInterview (his famous Calcutta trilogy), Calcutta 71 and Padatik.

Sen, along with contemporaries such as Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak, was considered to be the doyen of parallel cinema whose works had won international recognition.

Having won multiple national awards, the auteur was conferred with the Dada Saheb Phalke award in 2005. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1983.

Redefining boundaries

Born in Faridpur, now in Bangladesh, Sen moved to Kolkata to study physics. He was drawn to the world of film-making and made his debut with the 1955-film Raat Bhore. He was often celebrated as the ‘firebrand’ who raised the bar of parallel cinema. The political undertones of his work redefined boundaries. Some, no doubt courted criticism.

His 1959-film Neel Akasher Nichey was the first cinema to be banned in independent India. The political undertones of the film saw it being banned for two years. Sen followed it up with Baishey Sharavan that earned him international recognition.

The director’s body of work represented films where the protagonists were everyday people who rise to challenge the pecking order. The outcome of this challenge is not important. Also, his films do not necessarily have the conventional happy ending.

Bold themes

The satire Bhuvan Shome deals with a corruptible bureaucrat, who is apparently reformed by a village belle; his classic time piece Mrigaya (The Royal Hunt) depicts the tribal hunters in Odisha.

Similarly, hunger and poverty remained central themes in many of his films.

Middle-class hypocrisies and disagreeable societal norms became central in movies such as Ek Din Pratidin (And Quiet Rolls The Dawn), Kharij (The Case is Closed) and Ek Din Achanak (Suddenly One Day).

Sen’s only Telegu venture remained Oka Oori Katha (The Outsiders). His last film Aamaar Bhuvan (This, My Land) came in 2002.

Condoling Sen’s death, West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee tweeted: “It is an irreparable loss to the world of film-making.”

Former Chief Minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee — known to be a close friend of Sen — expressed grief at the director’s passing away. According to Bhattacharjee, this was a “personal loss”.

 

BJP's mission West Bengal: 20-member team of IT, poll experts to prepare ground report

Kolkata, Dec 29,2018:The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has already launched preparations for the Lok Sabha elections 2019. As a part of its preparatory programme, the party paying special attention to the state of West Bengal and has planned to send a delegation of 20 members to the state to kickstart the same. BJP chief Amit Shah has appointed Rajya Sabha MP Bhupender Yadav to lead the delegation.

The 20-member delegation of the BJP, which is slated to reach Kolkata on Saturday, comprises media cell and IT cell experts. Sources told Zee News that top students of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Kharagpur, Hyderabad, Powai and Chennai have also been included in the team. The IIT students are believed to be IT and call centre experts.

According to the sources, Bhupender Yadav has the responsibility to compile a detailed report on 42 Lok Sabha constituencies in West Bengal. Amit Shah wants a comprehensive report on how many seats the BJP could win in West Bengal. He also seeks information about the seats where the BJP unit is in a strong position and where the party is relatively weaker.

Mamata Banerjee questions farm loan waivers, triggers speculation of rift with Congress

Kolkata, Dec 27,2018:West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee has raised questions on the loan waivers for farmers being announced in several states. In an administrative meeting on Wednesday, the West Bengal Chief Minister said that while some were announcing farm loan waivers, she was gathering information to ascertain if the move actually benefitted people on the ground.

“There are some who are waiving farmers’ loans and I am gathering papers to find out whether farmers are actually benefited or not,” said the Trinamool Congress chief.

While Mamata targeted the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over farmer insurance scheme, she also launched an attack on the Congress party without naming it by referring to loan waiver announcements. Her remark comes just days after newly-elected Congress governments in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh announced loan waivers for farmers.

Reacting to the TMC chief’s attack over farmer insurance scheme, BJP leader Rahul Sinha termed her as a “worthless chief minister”. He said, “She (Mamata Banerjee) is a worthless Chief Minister. She herself cannot do that much for farmers and is saying this.”

The attack by Mamata over farm loan waiver, meanwhile, triggers speculation on whether she is distancing herself from the Congress party. Even when the Assembly election results were declared on December 11, Mamata had taken to Twitter to wish the people and not the Congress in particular. She, however, congratulated Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief K Chandrasekhar Rao separately for victory in the southern state. The Telangana Chief Minister also met Mamata in Kolkata days after the result.

 

CBI arrests veteran journalist Suman Chattopadhyay in chit fund scam

Kolkata, Dec 20,2018:The CBI has arrested Suman Chattopadhyay, an editor of a prominent Bangla newspaper, for allegedly receiving money from a ponzi scam operator I-Core group, officials said Thursday.

Suman Chattopadhyay, who is also a director in Disha Productions and Media Private Ltd, had allegedly received money from the ponzi scam in his company account as well as his personal account, they said.

The agency has alleged that the I-Core group which had allegedly raised over Rs. 3,000 crore from people offering high returns on investments had diverted a portion of the funds through the company of Suman Chattopadhyay, who is a senior journalist in West Bengal, they said.

He was called for questioning at the CBI office in Kolkata Wednesday and was taken into custody on Thursday, they said.

The officials said he will be produced before a special CBI court in Bhubaneswar on Friday.

The agency had taken over probe in the matter of I-Core group in 2014 registering a complaint under the relevant IPC sections related to criminal conspiracy and cheating.

The case was registered on the basis of a Supreme Court order in 2014 directing the agency to take over all cases related to chit fund companies probed by the state police.

Its directors Anukul Maity and his wife Kanika were arrested by the agency last year.

Kolkata Man With Two Children Jumps In Front Of Train, Commits Suicide

KOLKATA, Dec 19,2018:A man committed suicide along with his two sons by jumping in front of a speeding train in West Bengal's East Bardhaman district, a Government Railway Police (GRP) official said on Tuesday.

The incident took place in East Bardhaman district's Masagram railway station in the wee hours of Tuesday.

"Rakesh Singh (28) jumped in front of a train at Masagram station, taking with him his two children, Ajay Singh (5) and Bijoy Singh (3). All three were hit by the train and died on the spot," an officer from the Kamarkundu GRPS said.

"Their bodies have been recovered and sent for autopsy. Primary investigation suggests the man committed suicide due to disputes with his wife and other family members," he said.

The police said that none of the family members have been called for interrogation as no complaint has been lodged in the case so far.

Assembly poll results prove BJP is nowhere: Mamata Banerjee

KOLKATA, Dec 11,2018:Reacting to the early trends in the  five – state assembly election result 2018, in which the Congress party is leading in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, in a series of tweets, hailed democracy and said that this was the verdict of the people.

"Victory of democracy and victory against injustice, atrocities, destruction of institutions, misuse of agencies, no work for poor people , farmers, youth, Dalits, SC, ST, OBC, minorities and general caste," Mamata tweeted as trends poured in from Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram.

Congratulating the winners of the assembly polls, she said, "Semifinal proves that BJP is nowhere in all the states. This is a real democratic indication of 2019 final match. Ultimately, people are always the man of the match’ of democracy. My congrats to the winners."