Tagore house to Twenty20, Rabindra Jayanti revelry sweeps Kolkata

By Sreya Basu, IANS,

Kolkata : Kolkatans made it a point to celebrate their “Bengaliness” Thursday. They may love their discos and lap up Bollywood-Hollywood through the year, but on “Pochishe Boishakh” only one name ruled their hearts – the famous bard of Bengal, Rabindranath Tagore, whose 147th birth anniversary it was.

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Even if someone had forgotten the occasion, the city’s FM radio channels with their 24×7 programmes on Rabindrasangeet (songs written and set to music by Tagore) and quizzes did not allow them to miss this special date on the cultural calendar, also known as Rabindra Jayanti.

Amid all the excitement and apprehension about the match between the Kolkata Knight Riders against Bangalore Royal Challengers at the Eden Gardens here Thursday night, the city began celebrations in right earnest early morning.

Remembering Tagore on his birth anniversary, students of Rabindra Bharati University organised a cultural programme at the poet’s residence – Jorasanko Thakurbari – on the outskirts of Kolkata.

“The morning programme started at 6 a.m. and we also have an evening programme titled Kavi Pranam (salutation to the poet). In both the programmes we are paying tribute to Tagore through songs, dances, one-act plays and poems,” Manisha Bhattacharya, one of the organisers, told IANS.

Eminent Rabindrasangeet singer Suchitra Mitra was present on the occasion along with other musicians.

Be it big places like Rabindra Sadan – the popular cultural hub named after Tagore, Calcutta Town Hall, Calcutta University and Nehru Children’s Museum or small functions in residential neighbourhoods; be it popular artists like Indrani Sen, Shriradha Banerjee, Shrikanta Acharya and Soumitra Chatterjee or small time performers – the city resounded with the strains of Rabindra Jayanti music and poetry.

Even the Twenty20 was not left untouched by the revelry, with celebrations to mark the day at the Eden Gardens at around 7.30 p.m., just before the match.

“We will put up a 10-minute show to pay tribute to Tagore Thursday,” said Jay Mehta on behalf of Shah Rukh Khan’s firm Red Chillies Entertainment, which owns the Kolkata Knight Riders.

“The programme includes a dance performance by Mamata Shankar and her ballet troupe and a song by Indrani Sen. Then all those present, including Shah Rukh, will join the chorus in singing the national anthem,” he said.