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Sunday, May 04, 2003

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Kolkata


SHE'S never shied away from controversy and revels in roles that challenge stereotypes and stretch boundaries. Now Neena Gupta will rivet Kolkata audiences with "Soorya ki Pehli Kiran Se Soorya ki Antim Kiran Tak", a play on Niyog, the practice of lawful adultery in ancient India. Directed by Rajendra Gupta and produced by Mumbai-based theatre group Sahaj, this costume drama explores ancient mores and the timelessness of human emotions. The play is presented by Spandan at GD Birla Sabhaghar on May 4.

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THIS week when Kolkatans look up at the numerous hoardings that deck the city skylines they may be pleasantly surprised to find that instead of looking at yet another in-your-face advertisement, they're beholding a work of art by great names like Suvaprasanna, Jogen Chowdhury, Paritosh Sen and Sunil Das.

The transformation of hoardings from their eyesores to inspirational canvases capturing the spirit of the city is the brainchild of French agency Les Amis de la France and local ad firm Response India and the Kolkata Information Centre, Peerless and others are supporting the project. Eight original works have been commissioned — each a tribute to the city of joy.

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THIS week the city gets a chance to see thespian MLA Ajit Panja once again give his critically acclaimed performance as Shri Ramakrishna Paramahansa in "Noti Binodini". This play, based on true events of about 130 years ago, traces the birth of Calcutta's famous Star Theatre and within that framework explores issues of women's rights at the times and the crucial role played by the great Ramakrishna. In recent times, there has been renewed interest in the play ever since the Calcutta High Court Advocates Drama Association presented their production with Panja in the role of the mystic. The production made waves in the U.S. and U.K. mainly because of the barrister turned politician's spellbinding performance. So if you missed it the first time round, be sure to catch it at Kala Mandir on May 4.

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"THIEF of Baghdad" an exhibition of posters by M.F. Husain is on at CIMA gallery till May 17. The series is the renowned barefoot artist's response to the plunder of the Iraqi National Musuem and National Library representing as it does, the brutal plunder of an ancient civilization. Husain's posters drawing on the theme of the famous tale of the "Thief of Baghdad", combine magic and starkness, whimsy and beauty. Almost all are done in black and white and with the help digitography. The posters are powerful visual representations where a few brush strokes speak of fathomless loss.

ARUNDHATI RAY

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