Authors Posts by Indrani Biswas

Indrani Biswas

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Indrani aka Munna is an independent Bengali woman and she's pursuing Masters in Mass Communication from Visva- Bharati. She loves eating, sleeping, cooking, gossiping, writing, blogging, reading, watching movies and all that! And most importantly she loves everything Bengali! Follow her blog at -https://bongwomendiaries.wordpress.com/ and https://mythoughtsinaplatter.wordpress.com

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We are well into the holy month of Ramadan and a true Bong uses this opportunity to gorge on these lip smacking Iftar delicacies.

Iftar in Ramadan - Bongfeed.com. Source ~ ndtv.com
Iftar in Ramadan - Bongfeed.com. Source ~ ndtv.com

Kolkata, the city of Joy has already immersed in the piousness of Ramadan and the streets are brimming with delicious servings for iftar. Calcutta might have changed to Kolkata but its food destinations have not changed a bit even after the new “naamkoron”. Ramadan – the pious month in the Islamic calendar has already started and a true Bong from Kolkata is now served with foods and delicacies to die for on every nook and corner.

But, where to go and what to eat? Before you get confused, we have here a list with ample information about the most popular iftar delicacies to gorge on in Kolkata.  

Haleem
Haleem in Kolkata
Haleem in Kolkata

A complete food for your iftaar, haleem is made of different varieties of nutritious lentils (dals), wheat and barley. Cooked for hours, this delicious dish is accompanied with choice chunks of meat and familiar spices from the Indian kitchen. It is truly delicious and filling. You will find the best Haleem in Zakaria Street (the original hub of Awadhi Mughlai food in Kolkata), where Aminia Hotel prepares this dish particularly well in the Ramadan month. Also check Royal Indian Hotel (the 113 years old establishment is probably the only place that dares serve aloo-less biryani in Kolkata!) for its amazing Haleem preparation.

Kebabs
Preparing the unique Sutli Kebab at Adam's. Source Yummraj.com
Preparing the unique Sutli Kebab at Adam’s. This is one of the best things to try out this Iftar. Source Yummraj.com

Tired of Haleem and want to try something spicier? Why not try SUTLI KEBABS from Adam’s Kabab Shop at Phears Lane? This shop sells varieties of kebabs in the month of Ramadan, with sutli being the most popular. For the uninitiated, Sutli kabab is prepared by plastering a paste of meat & spices around a metal sheekh, tied with a cotton thread & then barbecuing it. Once done, the thread is removed & the kebab is served. These are affordable, delicious and most importantly deeply soul satisfying.

Rezala
Rezala. Source ~ Youtube.com
Rezala. Source ~ Youtube.com

A meat stew that is cooked with lamb, chicken and firni, this distinct food is best experienced at Sabir’s Hotel at Bow Bazaar. This place might be a bit old fashioned & grimy, but hey, the rezala is way better than your expectations and the you will never look at this place the same again.

Biryani
The Royal Indian Hotel, our favorite biryani junction
The Royal Indian Hotel, our favorite biryani junction

Usually, people hardly break their fast with Biryani, but this becomes a necessity when the Haleem or pakodas are out of stock or if you are a true blue Biryani addict. The shops in  Zakaria street sell some of the best biryanis (we think in the universe) with Royal Indian Hotel and Aminia topping the list.

Samosas & Pakoras
Preparing the mewa at the Haji Alauddin Sweet shop . Source ~ Yummraj.com
Preparing the mewa at the Haji Alauddin Sweet shop . Source ~ Yummraj.com

You will find a variety of delicious mutton and chicken samosas in the shops around Phears Lane. The most popular of them is the Haji Alauddin sweet shop that happens to sell a great batch of samosas during iftar. Along with the samosas, you can also try their mawa-based sweet delicacies, which are very rare in the city because of their North Indian origin.

Khajla
The khajla. Source ~ Scroll.in
The khajla. Source ~ Scroll.in

Want to break your iftaar with a sweeter experience, then go for Khajla, which is a hollow bread like food, that you crush and have with warm milk (almost like your breakfast cereal, but way tastier). It is easily available in Zakaria Street and almost every other shops sells them during iftar.

Drinks
The streetside Rooh-Afza. Source ~ Indianexpress.com
The streetside Rooh-Afza. Source ~ Indianexpress.com

While on the Ramadan food trail, you cannot miss drinking the rooh-afza sold in glasses along the streets. These drinks are refreshing and become a boon in this heat.

 

Do let us know if we have missed anything in our list and don’t forget to check these places out before this pious month comes to an end. Happy Eid in advance!
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Praktan is the comeback film of Bumbada & Rituparna. But how good it it? Here's our review of the movie.

Praktan - BONGfeed. Source ~ Youtube.com
Praktan - BONGfeed. Source ~ Youtube.com

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Everyone has a past. It sometimes makes us smile. haunts us, teaches us and at others it reminds us of the mistakes that we made a long time back. And for most Bongs most of these happened in Kolkata. Praktan – The Former, by Nandita Roy and Shiboprosad Mukherjee is all about love, separation, passion, nostalgia, humour and of course Kolkata. It is a sleekly shot flick with an urban feel with very familiar characters we regularly come across in this City of Joy.

The Directors - Nandita and Shiboprosad. Source ~ indiatimes.com
The Directors – Nandita and Shiboprosad. Source ~ indiatimes.com

The plot in short is this – Ujjan, a Calcutta Walks (one of the most exciting companies of Kolkata and a BONGFeed favorite, do check them out) tour guide played by Prosenjit and Sudipa, a young architect played by Rituparna Sengupta fall in love, try to establish a family, which ultimately falls apart due to their difference in thoughts and temperaments. Many years pass and on a train from Mumbai to Kolkata Sudipa stumbles upon Manali, Ujjan’s present wife and daughter in a compartment that they have to share for the next 48 hours.

Praktan means Former and the director duo have made sure this theme prevails through different characters of the film – a former band member (our own Sourajit of Bhumi) reminiscing the golden days of his band, a husband finding it difficult to accept that his wife had an ex and an aged couple trying to cope with the present world. This film is a comeback of one of Bengali cinema’s supreme pairs – Rituparna Sengupta and Prosenjit Chatterjee after 15 long years and they don’t fail to deliver. But if you thought this film is a complete Rituparna and Bumbada show you’ll be mildly surprised, since Aparajita Adhya, in the role of Ujjan’s wife, has done an exceptional job of playing the happy-go-lucky middle class wife, who loves her family and is content with her world. Even though, we are all praise for the film, the story is a tad clichéd since we’ve recently come across the same kind of plots – the struggle of a young married couple.

Prosenjit Rituparna in Praktan. Source ~ Youtube.com
Prosenjit Rituparna in Praktan. Source ~ Youtube.com

Given the storyline, Praktan could very easily have been a dull, listless and boring show if not for the saving grace of the smart screenplay. You won’t be bored, for example when Aparajita is on screen – she is amazing and her acting skills are superlative. One complaint though – the poor character sketch of Soumitra Chatterjee and Sabitri, who seem to have boarded the train only to recite “Hotat Dekha” from Sanchayita, in the background. We think they could have been used so much better.

Prosenjit Aparajita in Praktan. Source ~ Youtube
Prosenjit Aparajita in Praktan. Source ~ Youtube

And finally, the most important character of this movie – Kolkata, The city has been painted beautifully in the film. Be it Decres Lane, Victoria, Maidan or Tram rides, Kolkata, through the light yellow filters, looks like a sun soaked destination in the South of France rather than the banks of the Hooghly! Bumbada, in one of the scenes, says “Kolkata is the city of passions” and we know what the director’s trying – to tug at that part of you that loves the city fervently. And yet, you will smile, that’s how good it feels to see the city in this movie.

Kolkata in Praktan. Source ~ Youtube.com
Kolkata in Praktan. Source ~ Youtube.com

Before we forget, Anupam’s music is again, well done and sounds great in the film. We only hope he gets better and come up with something fresher since some of his work now sounds a tad repeated. The Kolkata song, which is already getting a lotta airplay on the FM channels, will follow you out into the city and you probably will be humming it for a while.

With Bela Sheshey, Mukherjee and Roy had planted their creative seeds in the industry and with Praktan, this seed has bloomed into a more matured and sleeker presentation.  So yes, we think you should go watch this movie this weekend and do let us know if you share our ratings.

Share your reactions with us & join the discussion. Follow BONGFeed on Facebook and never miss another Bong story.

 

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Facebook has launched Reactions recently. And we took this opportunity to react as Bongs to this new addition to our social media lives.

Facebook reactions. Source ~ Wired.com
Facebook reactions. Source ~ Wired.com

It has just been a few weeks that Facebook has launched REACTIONS, a reply to the huge user demand for a set of more nuanced buttons to express their sentiments. Some find these insufficient and some find them overwhelming. But being hardcore Bongs, we could only think of how or when a “Bangaali” will use these reactions on Facebook. So here’s our Bong reactions to Facebook Reactions.

The final six reactions, animated. Source ~ Wired.com
The final six reactions, animated. Source ~ Wired.com

LOVE – What do we Bongs Love?

Any honest Bong can answer that faster than batting an eyelid – of course it’s FOOD! The great foodaholics that we are, we don’t leave any stone unturned when it comes to checking out Facebook posts on Biryani, Rosogolla, delicious “maach” preparations, “phuchka” and “polao”. A close second are pictures of our annual tourist destinations – Darjeeling, Gangtok, Puri etc. etc.

Bong Food
Bong Food

The HAHA Reaction – The Bong belly laugh

Haha means Bongs LoL-ing at all the frivolities that a sarcastic Bengali comes across on Facebook. Be it a post on Bengalis always managing a “phau phuchka” from the glaring “puchkawala” or to the hilarious videos showing a Bong amidst adversaries, the haha reaction will be used by every Bong to have a loud “Otto-hashi” at all things comical.

Chobi BIswas. Source ~ konangalfilmsociety.blogspot.com
Chobi BIswas. Source ~ konangalfilmsociety.blogspot.com

The WOW Reaction – Bengalis being “Wowed”…Yeah right.

Almost as high browed as the Brits, a Bong is seldom WOWED. So this might be one rarely used button. But, and there’s a big BUT(T), a Bong will immediately hit the Wow reaction to anything that glorifies their culture, Dada or Netaji, as the LIKE button was just not enough to express our true Bong “pheelings”. We are going to be orgasmically WOWed by our holy cows till the end of time. Any “poblame”?

Dada. Source ~ india.com
Dada. Source ~ india.com

Truly Sad – a melancholic Bong

Every Bong, deep down, is an ardent lover of prose, poetry and heart wrenching songs “that tell of saddest thoughts” (did you notice we just quoted Shelley’s “To a Skylark” ? Like we said, we are true blue, “poddo” loving Bongs!). We will hit the sad reaction every time we come across the nostalgia laden lyrics of “Rabi Thakur” or pics of “coffee house-er shei addata…” or any post on mourning a love lost or read of a reminder of the Calcutta of yore – a lot of us are in Bangalore or Pune and we miss stuff from back home real bad.

Drunk Devdas
Drunk Devdas

The Angry Reaction: “Raag korena raguni”

Well, well, “ek Bong ko ghussa kab aata hai”?  Is it when we are ridiculed for our “AA ki matras” that we pronounce with big Os (“Obhishek” or “Oshleel” anyone….) ? Or is it when a post claims that Sourav Ganguly is the second best captain of India? Or when a pseudo intellectual pretends like they know the true depths of literature or politics or language or philosophy?  In all the above cases & a ton of more such prickly topics, Facebook will find Bongs hitting the angry button like it’s a “dhaak” on Dashami.

Angry Utpal Dutta. Source ~ Blogspot.com
Angry Utpal Dutta. Source ~ Blogspot.com

If you have more to add to this list or have any “bishudhdho” Bong suggestions to Mark Zuckerberg for more reactions that define us, let us know and we’ll get the word across. Mairi bolchi…

 

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Bengalis eagerly await Saraswati Puja every year. But it's more for the love in the air than the pujo. Here's why Saraswati Pujo beats Valentine's day hands down.

Saraswati Puja couple. Source ~ weddingphotosutra.com
Saraswati Puja couple. Source ~ weddingphotosutra.com

Bengalis eagerly await Saraswati Puja every year. Well, if you think it is for the ‘Pujo’ and the ‘Prasad’, then you ma’am/sir are very boka. Saraswati Puja is held every year right around Valentine’s Day and we Bongs celebrate this day not just for Maa Saraswati’s blessings but also to celebrate PREM to the fullest. You ask how it’s better than Valentine’s Day? Well …

  1. It’s Spring!

Saraswati Puja is a time when we all welcome spring. Spring is Bosonto and Bosonto means love. The chilly weather starts defrosting, flowers start blooming, birds start singing and love starts brewing. People even start humming ‘Bosonto Ese Geche’. Anupam Roy was definitely singing about his adolescence when he composed that song.

Bosonto ese geche. Source ~ flickr.com
Bosonto ese geche. Source ~ flickr.com
  1. No Books, Only Love

The first thing that your parents tell you on Saraswati Puja – Ajke boi porte hobe na – No studying today. Imagine that! Well, even the students with upcoming exams are allowed to skip. By surrendering the books at Ma Saraswati’s feet, the youth unlock one brilliant day of mingling with friends and going out with the one girl/boy who makes their heart race.

No books on this day. Source ~ discoveredindia.com
No books on this day. Source ~ discoveredindia.com
  1. Decked up Girls and Boys

Be it the girls or the boys, everyone is at their traditional best on this day. Women in beautiful Basanti sarees and men in traditional pajama-panjabis. We Bongs deck up to impress the opposite sex  and of course  our Premiks and Premikas. Some of the best sights are the young teenagers awkwardly trying to carry off their saree or dhuti but still looking cute as hell.

Girls in sarees out on Saraswati Puja. Source ~ magicalassam.com
Girls in sarees out on Saraswati Puja. Source ~ magicalassam.com
  1. No Prying Eyes

This day, no one seems to follow your steps or comment on your Shaj-Shajja. Everyone roams around in their own rhythm. The boys don’t have to wait for long hours outside their girlfriend’s tuition classes to say Hi or to hold her hand for a fleeting moment. This day, every Bong pair is free to walk hand in hand lost in their own love stories.

Couples' day out. Source ~ magicalassam.com
Couples’ day out. Source ~ magicalassam.com
  1. No rules

We Bongs don’t need the permission of our parents to stay out on this day, after all it is Saraswati Puja. Be it going to schools and colleges and after that those tuition classes or the lovers’ park, we remain outside for as long as we decide.

Couples at Millennium Park. Source ~ travel.snydle.com
Couples at Millennium Park. Source ~ travel.snydle.com
  1. Pocket Full

We Bengalis save up money for months to spend on this day. And for what you ask? Of course for the Puchkas and the Chaat Papri to impress the damsel in a beautiful BASANTI saree. Although, nowadays it has advanced to movie tickets and visit to amusement parks, the idea remains the same. Save up money, spend it on your beloved and the day has a happy ending.

Couple in a movie hall
Couple in a movie hall
  1. Singles’ paradise

If you are single, then Saraswati Puja is your annual salvation. Yes, on Saraswati Puja every single Bong’s probability of finding true love skyrockets. If you are lucky, even two to three true loves are not unheard of. My bondhu, you shall not run out of eligible or sundori options on this day.

Girls in sarees on Saraswati Puja. Source ~ flickr.com
Girls in sarees on Saraswati Puja. Source ~ flickr.com
  1. Best day for the perfect date

Be it the parks, the restaurants, the theatres, the malls, you will find great options to hang out with your loved one on Saraswati Puja. For God’s sake, even the school and tuition places turn a blind eye to the corny couples in the corners. This is the day, when Bong love blooms and PDA is not frowned upon.

A date at the Rabindra Sarobar lake
A date at the Rabindra Sarobar lake
  1. Meeting New People

This day, you just don’t hang out in your school or college. This day, you roam like a wild tiger in other schools and colleges. We Bongs meet new people, new faces and obviously, meeting new people means new connections, exchange of WhatsApp contacts, long chats and hopefully love!

Make new friends. Source ~ swworldtour.com
Make new friends. Source ~ swworldtour.com
  1. A Great Day to finally profess your love

Most of us Bongs make it a point to open up about our feelings to the one we love on Saraswati Puja. Te weather is superb, the ambience is right, the beloved is in a blissful mood, no one is after you to study, so why wait? There goes the proposal and well, pray hard that the answer is a lajuk smile and a heart warming YES!

Professed your love yet. Source ~ filmbeat.com
Professed your love yet. Source ~ filmbeat.com

 

Saraswati Puja was, is and will be the original Valentine’s Day for us lovelorn Bongs. And if you have anything more to add to the list, feel free to comment. Happy Valentine’s Day! Oops, Happy Saraswati Puja to all.
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Bengali actresses have been known both as bold and beautiful. And here is our pick of the top 10 Bong actresses every Bengali should be proud of

Suchitra Sen. Source ~ rediff.com
Suchitra Sen. Source ~ rediff.com

Bengalis are very much associated with food, football and of course films. The film industry both in West Bengal and Bangladesh had flourished due to Bong’s love for movies. Talking about films, one can hardly avoid mentioning the contribution of Bengali actresses to the Indian industry. Tagged both as bold and beautiful, they have won many hearts from time immemorial, not just in Bengal but the whole country.

Here is our list of the ten most successful bong actresses of all time, without whom, the ‘Filmi Duniya’ wouldn’t have been the same.

Kanan Devi – Bengal’s Nightingale

Kanan Devi was popularly known as the first star of Bengali Cinema and was also credited as one of the first singing sensations of the Indian Film Industry. Originally from Howrah, West Bengal, Kanan Devi started her career from the age of 10. Post her breakthrough film Mukti, she became popular for her roles in movies like Vidyapati, Lagan, and Jawab. She even had the opportunity to be casted in Devdas, which did not happen after all, a decision she regretted all her life.

Kanan Devi. Source ~ kanandevi.com
Kanan Devi. Source ~ kanandevi.com

Suchitra Sen – Every Film Maker’s Muse

Roma Sengupta aka Suchitra Sen, was known for her million dollar smile, acting prowess and endless beauty. She was probably the most successful actress of Bengal and was known for her strong persona and brevity. Mrs Sen, the respectful title she is still referred to with, was the first among Bengali actresses to receive the Best Actress award in the Moscow Film Festival for her role in Saat Pake Badha. She was brave enough to reject Satyajit Ray’s films since she didn’t want to hurt her other directors who made her a star. She gave her best performance in cinemas like Devdas, Harano Sur, Saptapadi, Uttar Falguni and Andhi. Now, who can forget her classics with Uttam Kumar? Suchitra Sen known for her strong personality and of course an adamant attitude, so much so that after retiring from the screen, she not even once appeared in public again.

Suchitra Sen. Source ~ rediff.com
Suchitra Sen. Source ~ rediff.com

Madhabi Mukherjee – The Powerful Performer

Madhabi Mukherjee was not a core commercial actress, but she did garner critical acclaim for her roles in classic Bengali films. She made a great impact in the Bengali film industry through Tapan Sinha’s Tonsil, Mrinal Sen’s Baishey Sravan, Ritwik Ghatak’s Subarnorekha and Satyajit Ray’s Mahanagar. Till this day, she is well known for playing the protagonist in the film Charulata by Satyajit Ray. A timeless actress, Madhabi Mukherjee, has been one of the most influential, strong and brave Bong Actors of all time because of her acting prowess, choice of films and personality, which sets her apart from her contemporaries.

Madhabi Mukherjee. Source ~ irishtimes.com
Madhabi Mukherjee.

Sabitri Chatterjee – The Amusing Actress

Sabitri had a 50 years long career in the Bengali Film industry and was well known for adding comic elements to her characters which was rare among actresses. She was probably the first Bengali actress to don a comical avatar on the silver screen. Her most popular movies along with Mahanayak Uttam Kumar include Bhranti Bilas, Mouchak and Dhanni Meye.

Sabitri-Chatterjee
Sabitri-Chatterjee

Sharmila Tagore – The Thriving Tigress

Hailing from the Tagore family, this actress is considered to be one of the brave pioneers of the Indian Film Industry for donning a swimsuit in the film – An Evening in Paris. Starting her career with the great Satyajit Ray with films like Apur Sansar and Devi, she went onto make become a big name in Bollywood through movies such as Aradhana and Amar Prem. Why do we consider her as a legendary Bong Actress – because she ruled the Bombay film industry for a decade with 57 films in her kitty apart from being the Chairperson of Central Board of Film Certification.

Sharmila Tagore. Source ~ utsavpedia.com
Sharmila Tagore. Source ~ utsavpedia.com

Aparna Sen – Beauty with Brains

Apart from having the privilege to work with the likes of Satyajit Ray and Mrinal Sen, Aparna Sen, Bengal’s diva, went on to become the first female Bengali film director. She acted in numerous films, starting with Ray’s Teen Kanya and paired up with Soumitra to give timeless hits like – Basanta Bilap and Baksa Badal. Her first directorial debut won her the award for the Best Director in Indian National Film Awards. Her notable films as a director include – Mr. & Mrs. IyerParomitar Ek Din, and The Japanese Wife.

Aparna Sen
Aparna Sen

Bobita – Beloved Bangldeshi

Farida Akhtar Poppy, better known as Bobita is considered as one of the most successful Bangladeshi actresses. Her acting skills drew the attention of Satyajit Ray and thus she was casted in Ashoni Sanket in1973, a timeless classic, for which she won the Golden Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival. Today, she owns her own production company in Bangladesh.

Bobita in Ashoni Sanketh. Source ~ thedailystar.net
Bobita in Ashoni Sanket. Source ~ thedailystar.net

Mousumi Chaterjee – The Bubbly ‘Badhu’

Mousumi was known as the ‘Chulbuli’ of the Indian Film Industry and was celebrated for her on screen charisma and pomp. She started her career at the age of 15 with ‘Balika Badhu’, got married while studying in class 10 and then made a breakthrough with the Hindi film Anuraag. After that there was no looking back. She acted in numerous successful hindi movies, starring opposite superstars like Vinod Khanna, Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, and Vinod Mehra. Her well known Bengali films include –Anindita, Ogo Bodhu Sundori, The Japanese Wife and Goynar Baksho. She recently made everyone understand that her acting skills are evergreen through her magnetic performance in Piku.

Moushumi Chatterjee. Source ~ rediff.com
Moushumi Chatterjee. Source ~ rediff.com

Debashree Roy – Dancing Diva

Debashree started her career as child artist Kumari Chumki and went on to win a National Film Award for Best Actress for her role in Unishe April. She is an aclaimed Odissi dancer and has her own dancing school – Nataraj. Debashree is a prolific actress, both in parallel & commercial films. She even acted in the epic Mahabharata by B.R Chopra. She has more than 100 Bengali films to her name , received more than 40 awards and even acted in a number of Tamil movies. Apart from being an actress, she is also an MLA now.

Debashree Roy
Debashree Roy

Rituparna Sengupta – Bold and Beautiful

Rituparna’s success in both commercial and parallel films has set her miles apart from her contemporaries. Rituparna is known for portraying bold & sensuous characters, an attempt many contemporary actresses have avoided. Her acting skills have won her the Best Actress National award for Dahan. She also won the FIlmfare critics’ choice award for Best Actress for Alikh Sukh.

Rituparna Sengupta. Source ~ moviemagik.in
Rituparna Sengupta.

Now, that you have met the most successful Bengali actresses of all time, you can either try watching their films in the chilly wintery evenings with a ‘gorom chaa’ or can just dream about these beauties with your eyes open. And do let us know if we missed one of your favorite stars.

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BAJAR GOROM

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Bengali stereotypes

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We Bengalis have migrated out of West Bengal and moved to different parts of India, mostly to earn a living. Wherever you go in...