All my interest in Bengali comes from my love for my sweet friend Oditi, I mean Aditi Ghatak.
While I had been reading a lot of Tagore and a few other writers its not until recently that I felt drawn to Bengali music and cinema.
Unishe April was an experience. A beautiful narrative scripted around a simple story of love, angst and the complexities in the relationship of a mother and daughter who discover each other.
Then I watched Punashca 2014. An elderly writer develops a relationship with his college mate, an old flame and the unexpected and complicated events this leads to is what the film is all about . With some great acting by the beautiful Rupa Ganguly, Soumitra Chatterjee and Sayani Ghosh, the film is a treat to watch.
Regional literature, music, films in India are a hidden wealth, unexplored by most Indians due to the language barrier, which I believe only adds to their beauty.
While there is the constant agony of being subsumed by the more powerful, techno-savvy and rich Hindi Cinema, regional cinema hold on its own self and is constantly improving in terms of regular and loyal followers.
But I am afraid we can’t say the same for music because as we were working with students for the Independence day celebrations, we realized that singers are unable to sing in their own mother tongue with confidence.
Hindi songs, we know a plenty, they said. So any Marathi, patriotic song.. ‘no mam’, ‘Bengali, can’t remember mam’.. so on and so forth came the excuses.
It is important that every educational institution, works with the youngsters instilling a pride in them for the place of their origin.
Watching films from across the country could be a good way to learn other Indian languages!