Last Saturday, we went to watch "The Namesake" .
I was pleasantly surprised to find that for a change that I was not disappointed with a much hyped film. I enjoyed reading the book mainly for it's simple story
narrated with simplcity and sensitivity. I liked Jhumpa Lahiri's ability to look at an "ordinary life" and reveal the extra-ordinary wmotions which we tend to overlook at most times.
There is no melodrama anywhere and Ashima Ganguli could have been any lady from our mother's generation and Gogol could have been you or me.
However, this post is not about "The Namesake" but about something else.
All Kolkatans get very excited whenever we see our city being filmed for an international film, even though a number of tem have already been shot here. So when the Namesake was release , we had the newspapers going to town about the palces where the shooting had taken place and the production and acting team from Kolkata talking about their "experiences" whilst working on this film.
What I found repeatedly being mentioned was a shot in the film which showed "The Telegraph" being read in the 1970s , which was a faux pas as "The Telegraph" was launched by the ABP group in the 80's. So what were the Kolkata production team of The Namesake thinking ?
I guess that we can not really blame them . All Kolkatans have taken to the Telegraph (no matter how hard the Times of India tries, it just wont get there), and somewhere down the line, the grand old dame of Kolkata....The Statesman (www.thestatesman.net) has faded into the background.
The credit for my command over English goes to "The Statesamen". At school, I was made to copy out an article from "The Statesman" everyday in order to improve my grammar and my handwriting. I discovered an editor who never hesitated to call a spade a spade in Mr. C.J. Irani and his coloum, 'The Caveat" and a brilliant writer by the name of Hari Ray whose column was sought out with much enthusiasm and read with with much relish every Sunday.
Living on a tea estate in a remote corner of Assam, where newspapers arerived a day later, we looked forward to Mondays when "Miscellany" the Sunday supplement of The Statesman carried an interesting children's page which kept us occuppied for the day.
Sadly , the Statesman today is a shadow of it's former self. With the passing away of Mr. C.J. Irani the paper seems to have become "orphaned" . The quality of newsprint has deteriorated and the standards of journalism have fallen. The language is childish and prone to errors....and yet every morning, we have a copy delivered at home.... you would not turn away an old companion in its darkest hours would you ?
I live in the hope that this paper may be taken over...and the heritage of one of the last living legends of Kolkata would be restored. Are you listening Mr. Sarkar ?