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Communication Studies

Published @ The Bengal Post
Representative image of a retro television set with antenna This election is a landmark event not just because of the possibility of a long-overdue change but also because the parties may have understood the difference between mass and polity, writes Sayandeb Chowdhury Tomorrow, Bengal steps into a landmark election. It’s a livewire event — complete with high-voltage, intensive campaigning, television debates, repartees in the media and of course gauche, garrulous throwaways. For reasons historical and emotional, this election is being…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Bengal, Politics | Read More

Yuri, thanks for all the stars

Published @ The Bengal Post
Yuri Gagarin, who walked the space sixty years ago this week, gave the world, among other things, an intergalactic imagination, which auteurs have managed to convert into astonishing specimens of cinema — meditations which spawn not just the Great Dark but also dystopianism, psychography, alienism and most importantly, the unending search for a soul like ours. Here is a possible list of sci-fi hall of fame. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) Arguably the greatest sci-fi film ever made, 2001: A Space…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Cinema | Read More

Death be not proud

Published @ Bengal Post
The Death of Socrates by French painter Jacques-Louis David There are thousands of reasons to die but only a handful of ways to do so. The euthanasia debate is as much about morality as it is about logistics, writes Sayandeb Chowdhury Death, be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so; For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow, Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me. Poetry has this ability to transmigrate.
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Ethics | Read More

Love in a once-foreign language

When I die/ Do not throw/ The meat and the bones away/ But pile them up/ And let them tell/ By their smell/ What life was worth/ On this earth/ What love was worth/ In the end Did we ever let Kamala Das know, whose poem the above is excerpted from, now that she is no more, the worth of love? Or for that matter, poetry? Is the worth of love explicable? Can it be measured in daylight hours and…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Book Review | Read More

An Italian pop job

Published @ Bengal Post
One recurring motif of European high art in the twentieth century is to see that it is never ‘too high’. The pulls at the core identity of European modernity came from a variety of sources – the Word Wars, Marxism-Leninism and its various mutations in Stalinism-Communism, the rise of America, the passing away of an old European power elite in the demise of the Austro-Hungarian Empire inside Europe and the decimation of the British Empire outside, the breakdown of a…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Graphic Arts, Review | Read More

How the fire killed the fair and the foul

Published @ Bengal Post
Recent logo of the Kolkata International Book Fair. Image for representative purpose only When the Book Fair burnt in January 1997, it did not smell of authentic Bengali cuisine. Or of any of the many subliminal ‘snake foods’ (purported snacks) that were being cooked inside the fairground, one of whose stalls had been that very Prometheus who handed over fire to an undiscerning congregation of millions. Inside a stall, around 5 in the evening, I was browsing through a book…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Books, Nostalgia | Read More

Love fashions me, it makes me who I am

Published @ Bengal Post
If the phrase ‘been there, done that’ is said aloud, without making concessions to the force of its clarity or its bon-vivant abandon, then that best describes Pritish Nandy. But his being there and doing that is not fraught with the usual clumsiness of the itinerant busybody. A poet, painter, journalist, columnist, filmmaker and even an MP on a Shiv Sena ticket, he has treaded the world, sometimes softly, sometimes in disagreement with it, that lie between the disquiet of…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Interview, poetry | Read More

Bloody Bengal

Published @ The Bengal Post
Bengal burning. Photo by Tengyart on Unsplash The politics of annihilation and obstructionism that is becoming endemic in the state portents very badly for its immediate future, whatever be the nature of change, writes Sayandeb Chowdhury Something is rotten in the state of Bengal. The current cycle of proactive and retroactive violence and the overall collapse of services is so overwhelming that one cannot but feel delirious at the vulgarity of the current deportment of its political class.
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Comment, Politics | Read More

The clown is a very powerful archetype

Published @ The Bengal Post
Poster of the long-running play While watching Hamlet, the Clown Prince at GD Birla Sabhaghar, a member of the audience was going to pick up a call on his mobile. His seat was far into the auditorium, away from the stage and he must have thought that a quick word on his mobile would not harm the proceedings! But to his complete dismay, someone in the dark rushed forward and pleaded with him to please forgo the call. The man found that…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Profile, Theatre | Read More

The past as a wild county

Published @ Bengal Post
Halfway into True Grit, it would still not be clear if this film was going anywhere. A fourteen-year-old girl is keen to avenge the death of his father and take control of the finances with a determination and gnash that sits uneasily on her. She is fascinated by the eye-for-an-eye ethic of wild Arkansas as much as she relishes the public hanging of three criminals that are part of a daily spectre for citizens and wayfarers in Fort Smith. Aided partly…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Review | Read More