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Game on in Bengal

Published @ The Indian Express
An etching that puns on the Kali figure. There cannot be a three-way election in 2021. That would mean an advantage for BJP, as it will cannibalise on the factionalism in the TMC and on the irrelevance of the CPIM. The dictionary meaning of blunderbuss is two-fold. The more archaic meaning stands for a gun with a short, large barrel, to be fired only at close range. The second meaning refers to an action lacking subtlety and precision. Either…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Bengal, Opinion, Politics | Read More

Modi’s Greatest Trick: Turning Our Deepest Insecurities Into A System of Governance

Published @ Huffington Post - India
Biplab Sarkar, Be Waiting. Watercolor and pen on paper, 2019. Shot by the author at the Art Fair, Delhi, 2020. (co-authored with Rajendran Narayanan) The prime minister has taught people to measure their state exclusively against others’ miseries, tricking them into forgiving his many sins – from demonetisation to jobs to Swachh Bharat. There’s an old folktale that goes like this: to redeem his ills, a man prayed hard and long. His prayers bore fruit when god appeared and granted…

Messenger As Mandate

Published @ The Indian Express
Pandora’s Vox What if the EVM could approximate voter behaviour? Your cheeky editorial about the speaking, pontificating, buttoned-up voting machine (‘I, EVM,’ IE December 12) gets it mostly right except that one, nagging doubt: If the EVM can be spoken on behalf of, can it not be thought-controlled too? The editorial claims that the EVM is, after all, the messenger of people’s will and not the will itself. Is it? What if, just what if, the EVM has grown a…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Opinion, Politics | Read More

It ain’t no revolution

Published @ The Indian Express
It is not about the Dolby stupid Multiplexes were never about choice. They are about business of film distribution. Your editorial position on the Maharashtra government’s decision to allow audiences to carry eatables inside movie theatres (‘Price of popcorn,’ IE, July 17) is singularly disagreeable. As a keen reader of your paper, if I offer a few points contradicting the editorial, I hope I will not overshoot my brief. The issue at hand is whether it was a worthy decision…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Opinion | Read More

Why is the BJP Communalising West Bengal

Published @ The Wire
People walking past destroyed furniture caused by riots on Wellesly St in Calcutta, 1946. Archival image. The BJP has long had its eye on West Bengal, because without it, its idea of a Hindu Rashtra cannot fully be realised. The political locus of Bengal is rapidly shifting. In early April this year, the BJP used Ram Navami – an obscure festival in the local calendar – to flaunt a toxic brand of Hindutva, arming the children and youth with swords…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Opinion, Politics | Read More

Bengali Cinema is Moribund and Smug in its Comfort Zone

Published @ The Wire
Poster of Tapan Sinha’s landmark Jotugriga, (The House of Wax, 1964). Bengali cinema has long lost its Madeleine and has also forgotten that it has lost it. With the new film Prakton, the forgetting is now complete. After watching Sairat, a Bengali professional based in Bombay posted a moving comment on his Facebook wall. The post said how the Marathi film reminded him of his parents – refugees and also ardent Communists in post-colonial India – who had an inter-caste marriage in…

Mamata takes all

Published @ The Indian Express
No armchair politics. Mamata Banerjee in a file photo. Photographer Unknown A weakened opposition is unlikely to force Mamata to improve governance. Expectedly, Mamata Banerjee’s All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) has returned to power in West Bengal. Yet, the scale of its triumph boggles the mind. The AITC has, in fact, tallied the maximum amount of seats ever won by a single party in West Bengal. The results, similarly, will baffle the surgeons of the Left-Congress alliance, for they had…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Opinion, Politics | Read More

The more things remain the same

Published @ The Indian Express
Fade out. Free wallpaper by Dipanjano. There’s little to choose between the Trinamool and the Left in West Bengal Bengal started to vote on Monday and will do so for a month and a half. This is the first time in recent memory that a party other than the CPM, as part of a ruling Left Front, is the incumbent party. This is also the first time in recent history that the Congress and the Left parties, after having long…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Opinion, Politics | Read More

The day of the supermoon

Published @ The Millennium Post
Fools of the full moon. photo by author On 5 May, Eden was the place you would die to be at. I mean we generally pine to make it to the heaven in case we perish, but that day the rush was a bit too much, somewhat ‘hellish’, to put it mildly. No, really, we are not talking about jihad here in which ascending to heaven is taken at face value. We are against violence of all kinds, especially those…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Opinion, Sports | Read More

Trading in Stocks

Published @ Passionforcinema.com
Bombarded with an endless rain of stupid kitsch every week, we have gradually come to expect very little of the Hindi film industry.That has meant that when Bollywood has churned just decent, watchable fare, we have risen in collective applause, we have stretched ourselves out of our balcony seats to show them how many bagfuls of gratitude we are ready to part with for giving us what is otherwise very basic fare. Madhur Bhandarkar’s cinema is a classic example of…
By Sayandeb Chowdhury | | Tags: Opinion | Read More