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Apu, Ekshan, Ikebana and being Bengali - Renaissance, uninterrupted - Remembering Soumitra Chatterjee

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Fluff, which tends to be so profuse, so common. With you, it was
A lifelong non-cooperation with that which is crude, marketable,
Popular. Hence it is I have regarded you as the hallowed emblem
Of our culture. Like one of your idols, Sisir Kumar, you too
I understand, had once spurned a dishonorable national honor.
That was not an act of aggrandizement, it was a recognition of
The true value of art and humanism, and upholding their honor
In the face of all that is degrading. Regardless, you have received

Acclaim aplenty, from home and abroad, Friend, even as I for one
Realize that those awards are no more than bogs of folly- they
Measure not the outreach of one's work or one's greatness. Your
Work in its fullest glory is scattered across the spectrum of your
Creations- much as that Ikebana (title of a poem you contributed
To our Puja Magazine)- a bouquet of your offerings at the altar of
Art. Poems, recitation, conversation, the theater, the silver screen-
Variegated blossoms that found a place of love and honor inside

Uncountable hearts- there you reside, resplendent, an installation
Of permanence which shall never be shaken by anything shallow
And insubstantial, and much less by the depredations of a
Heartless virus. Matinee Idol of our culture- upon the scales of
Time, you remain unassailable for eternity.

Interpretive Glossary
Puja Varshikis- This is a collective description of a series of annual literary magazines bought out in Bengal to commemorate the Durga Puja, a major Fall festival.
Ananda Bazar- Name of a leading Bengali newspaper and publishing organization.
Hemanta, Suchitra- Two renowned exponents of Rabindra Sangeet, songs created and composed by Rabindranath Tagore.
Satyajit, Ritwik,
Mrinal, Tarun, Tapan- Leading Bengali directors of art/intellectual films.
Uttam, Suchitra- A leading romantic pairing in Bengali cinema through 1970s.
Borda- Bengali appellation of respect for an eldest brother/cousin.
Manu, Babun- Family pet names for my brother and self.
Teen Kanya, Samapti- Film by Satyajit Ray based on three short stories by Tagore.
Nirmalya Acharya- Co-Editor of Ekshan with Soumitra Chattopadhyay.
Sisir Kumar- Sisir Kumar Bhaduri, a leading theater personality from Bengal who pre-dated Soumitra Chattopadhyay.

(Article changed on November 30, 2020 at 04:37)

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Monish R. Chatterjee received the B.Tech. (Hons) degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering from I.I.T., Kharagpur, India, in 1979, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering, from the University of Iowa, (more...)
 

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