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Bollywood’s superstar Shah Rukh Khan mixes Rabindranath Tagore’s eternal symphony ‘Bideshini’ in West Bengal Tourism ad

The newest ad promoting Bengal Tourism is a visual treat full of Tagore's tunes, Bengal's majesty through a foreigner's eyes and SRK's natural charisma

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A fan Dangal between the onscreen Dangal girls for Shah Rukh Khan
Shahrukh Khan, VOA

Kolkata, Feb 6, 2017:  Bollywood’s superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s signature style mixes with Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore’s eternal symphony in inviting tourists from faraway lands to Bengalin the latest advertisement to promote tourism, that cuts through stereotypes.

The three-and-half minutes long video montage takes viewers on a joy-ride from the chandeliered Rajbaris of Bengal, ceiling-high stacks of books in the narrow alleys of College street, immersive terracotta temples of Bankura, psychedelic masked Chhau dancers, Sundarbans mangrove’s fishermen with backward facing masks to the rolling tea gardens of Darjeeling hills — all through the experiences of a foreigner.

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The video, which has been receiving “an overwhelming response” from viewers on social media from all over the world, sees Shah Rukh, Bengal’s brand ambassador, crooning to Tagore’s “Ami Chini Go Chini Tomare, O Go Bideshini” (“I know you, oh lady from faraway land”) while serenading the foreigner in a tram car in typical Shah Rukh way.

“We have received extremely positive response from the ad and it is being shared all across on social media as part of our aggressive tourism campaign,” Bengal Tourism Minister Gautam Deb told the media.

According to Deb, “The essence of our tagline ‘Welcome to Bengal – The sweetest part of India’ is the state’s hospitality which caters to guests from India and abroad. We want foreigners to think of Bengal first when they see the ad and plan to visit India.”

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An Ogilvy & Mather, Kolkata, concept, the film has been directed by Prakash Varma of Nirvana films.

Instead of opting for typical and very age-old Bengal tourism props such as rosogollas (spongy sweetmeats) or hand-pulled rickshaws, the montage offers glimpses of relatively lesser known prospects such as the state’s relationship with graffiti art and its love for mustard-infused bhetki paturi (fillet of bhetki in banana leaf envelopes).

A touch of tradition is played out at the same time as the foreigner lady indulges in Sindoor Khela (women smear vermilion at each other at the conclusion of Durga puja), listens to Bengal’s very-own folk baul music and drives through the expansive Howrah Bridge across the Hooghly river.

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Reflecting the continuity of cultures, the viewer rides along with the fair lady, who has come to attend a wedding, in buses, a yellow cab, the toy train and the tram. Her journey in Bengal is matched to score with a Bong background laced in baul tunes and sounds of the Shehnai, with the lilting tunes of Tagore accentuating the ebb and flow of a sojourn. (IANS)

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang

 

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Just in! Kalki has a crush on this Bollywood actor!

Currently, Kalki is looking forward to her upcoming film "Ribbon", also featuring Sumeet Vyas.

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Kalki Koechlin
Bollywood actress Kalki Koechlin. Wikimedia

Mumbai, October 13, 2017 : Actress Kalki Koechlin says she wishes to work on screen with all the Khans of Bollywood, but she has a softer corner for Shah Rukh Khan.

Asked if she wants to work with any of the top Khans of the industry, Kalki told IANS: “I want to work with all three Khans, but if you ask me my favourite, it has to be Shah Rukh Khan.

“Shah Rukh is my childhood crush. I met him few times in real life as well and he is very charming.”

When it comes to a new bunch of actors, she thinks she “will look nice” with Ranbir Kapoor.

“We worked in ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’ and I really liked him as co-star. He is a natural actor and spontaneous. It would be interesting to work with him,” she added.

The actress is trying to balance her career between mainstream and indie films by working with directors like Zoya Akhtar and Ayan Mukerji in films like “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara” and “Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani”, along with movies like “Margarita, With a Straw” and “A Death in the Gunj” which were popular in festival circuits.

Sharing her wish-list of directors, Kalki said: “I would like to work with an artiste like Vishal Bhardwaj. His cinema is a piece of art, he writes the story, he makes the music of the film and it’s amazing. I think it would be interesting to work with Vikramaditya Motwane as well.”

Currently, Kalki is looking forward to her upcoming film “Ribbon”, also featuring Sumeet Vyas. It is releasing on November 3. (IANS)

 

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Shah Rukh Khan At Ted Talks: Not competing with Salman & Akshay

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Shah Rukh Khan
Shah Rukh Khan

Mumbai, Oct 5 : Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who is returning to television with upcoming TV show “TED Talks India Nayi Soch”, says he has no plans of competing with actors Akshay Kumar and Salman Khan on the small screen as they are doing “wonderfully well”.

Salman is currently hosting controversial reality show “Bigg Boss 11” while Akshay is seen as Super Judge on comedy show “The Great Indian Laughter Challenge”.

“To be honest, Salman and Akshay, what they are doing, they are in the league of their own. I am not even competing with them. They are doing wonderfully well,” Shah Rukh said at the launch of the Star Plus show here on Thursday.

“Having said that, I am not saying that our show is so different that we are not competing on the platform. I feel that this (‘TED Talks’) really is a different kind of platform where it has a different sensibility. I am not saying what they are doing is old, has been there and done dead.

“I know what Salman is doing, he is doing aBigg Boss 11′ and Akshay is hosting ‘The Great Indian Laughter Challenge’. But this show is different and unrelatable,” Shah Rukh added.

Shah Rukh said that “TED Talks India Nayi Soch” is an inspiring show.

“I think this will be running in a league of its own and not competing with anyone. It is generally a very hopeful and inspiring show. It will have entertainment. It is not plugged in to get ratings or audiences. The show is about sharing ideas. Hopefully we will be competing with ourselves for what aTED Talks’ has created over the years,” he said.

“TED Talks India: Nayi Soch” is a Hindi TV talk show created in partnership with TED, a non-profit organisation devoted to ‘ideas worth spreading’. It will feature speakers from various fields sharing ideas in TED’s signature format of short, powerful talks. This is the first time TED is collaborating with a major network to produce a TV series featuring original “TED Talks” in Hindi.(IANS)

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Durga Puja in Bengal to showcase its cross-cultural and trans-boundary influences

Months of protests and violence in the Darjeeling hills has failed to dampen the spirit of the Nepali population in Siliguri and in state capital Kolkata

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Durga Puja in West Bengal
Durga Puja. Wikimedia
  • Durga Puja in West Bengal has evolved into a platform of its cross-cultural and trans-boundary influences 
  • Months of protests and violence in the Darjeeling hills has failed to dampen the spirit of the Nepali population in Siliguri and in state capital Kolkata
  • In Kolkata, the Nepali consulate is expected to host around 100 to 150 members of the community from different parts of Bengal on Dasain

Kolkata/Siliguri, September 22, 2017: From goddess Durga draped in traditional Nepali attire for the grand celebration of Dasain, to the resplendent White Temple of Thailand to glimpses of London and the US — Durga Puja in West Bengal is not only a showcase of the state’s artistic heritage but has also evolved into a platform of its cross-cultural and trans-boundary influences.

Geopolitical tensions notwithstanding, slices of soft diplomacy and globalisation are on show in a clutch of pandals (marquees) in the state.

Take Dasain celebrations in Siliguri, for example.

Months of protests and violence in the Darjeeling hills has failed to dampen the spirit of the Nepali population in Siliguri (located at the base of the hill) and in state capital Kolkata where they are gearing up to celebrate the Nepali version of Durga Puja with pomp and splendour.

Recognised by the splotches of vermillion, rice and curd (“tika”) on the foreheads and the prominent sprigs of barley sprouts (jamara) tucked behind one’s ear, Dasain or Vijaya Dashami — Nepal’s biggest festival — has been observed in Siliguri for 25 years by its oldest social organisation, Bhanu Bhakta Samiti.

“Dasain is celebrated with the participation of all communities: Nepali, Bengali, Marwari, Bihari and others. Everyone is welcomed and people, cutting across political party lines, join in the revelry. The Bengalis even offer ‘anjali’ (floral offerings). The Gorkhaland issue is a political one and we do not let it affect our celebrations,” Krishna Lama (Pemba) of the Samiti told IANS.

“We have been having the Durga idol since the last three years. From Sashthi (September 26), we will begin the worship of the protima (idol). She will be dressed in traditional attire and we have roped in designer Alka Sharma for the costumes. Jamara (pot with wheat sprouts) is indispensable to the festival,” Lama said.

Parents and older members of the family apply tika and place the jamara as blessings for the younger ones. The jamara also signifies “shakti”.

In Kolkata, the Nepali consulate is expected to host around 100 to 150 members of the community from different parts of Bengal on Dasain.

“Every year, for over 25 years, we have a Nepali Durga puja in front of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation building. Cultural programmes are organised and representatives of around 32 samitis (clubs) across Bengal join in,” an official of the consulate told IANS.

Also readDurga Puja Pandal Decoration Catches Cinema Style, Baahubali Palace Will Be In Cruise This Year In Kolkata

Meanwhile, the Deshapriya Park committee, which registered the highest footfall for a pandal last year with five million visitors, has in store a slice of Thailand — a popular tourist destination for travellers from east India, served well with 2.5 hour-long flights.

It has recreated the 20th century Wat Rong Khun temple (or the White Temple) located just outside Chiang Rai in northern Thailand. The detailed all-white exterior with mirror trimmings stands out in stark contrast against the grassy park lawns.

Organisers have also replicated the temple’s piece-de-resistance: A mural depicting the burning Twin Towers as Angry Birds, Michael Jackson, Spiderman and other pop culture icons look on.

At Bhowanipore 75 <https://maps.google.com/?q=Bhowanipore+75&entry=gmail&source=g> Palli puja in south Kolkata, a stone’s throw from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s residence, a 40,000 square feet area has been converted into a typical London street. The theme is aligned to Banerjee’s vision of transforming Kolkata into London.

With 2017 being the Indo-UK Year of Culture, the club has tied up with the British Council and London Sharod Utsav.

“Big Ben and Westminster will also be replicated in the area. The idol is crafted from mahogany and brass and decorated with dokra art. Post-puja we are planning to install the idol permanently in any one of the famous institutions of the UK like the British museum or University of London,” Club Secretary Subir Das said.

The Star Spangled Banner is prominent at Badamtala Asar Sangha in south Kolkata. The club is calling its celebration ‘West Wind’ in consonance with the Year of US-India Travel and Tourism Partnership.

“Visually the pandal resembles a street in a hi-tech American city at night. The design is complete with skyscrapers and multi-hued buildings and lights,” said Snehasish, one of the artistic heads. (IANS)