I had never had the pleasure of watching Sujoyprosad Chatterjee live on stage, and it had been on my bucket list since BSC published his interview sometime back. Last Saturday, the brand new event curation platform, Boyaam, and R&R Entertainments made it happen in the heart of Bengaluru. At Alliance Francaise de Bangalore, I was witness to one of the most soulful evenings I have ever been part of: Sujoy’s Journey, an Entourage of Poetic Readings.
Before I venture into the perfection that the evening was, let me begin by saying a few words about Boyaam. Boyaam is brand new and is helmed by the ball of energy, former RJ, Swagata Majumdar. The team aims to curate a jar of unique, memorable and artistic experiences for audiences in Bangalore and beyond. Swagata is an artist herself, excelling in music, recitation, and vocal arts. She is also a natural networker, making friends with the ease of a child. Needless to say, her artistic sensibilities along with her charming personality puts her in a unique position to bring us some of the best artists and performers in the business. Journeys, An Entourage of Poetic Readings, was Boyaam’s first presentation and it was everything that it promised to be.
Sujoy: One Man, Many Voices
Let me be honest, I was apprehensive that a three-hour poetry soiree would be a drag on my post-motherhood, irritable persona. But, from the moment I entered that cozy auditorium at Alliance, to the second Sujoy rose for the curtain-call, the time slipped by in an ecstatic reverie. I was drawn in by the multitude of voices, of man, woman, and child, from different annals of humanity, that Sujoy conjured through the evening. I rose and fell with the harmony of his tellings. I cried and laughed with the characters he portrayed. And at the end of it all, he left me depressed and overjoyed, just as life does.
One of the best things about the inter-disciplinary art presentation was how Sujoy knit the evening together. He glided from Tagore to Ghalib, from Amrita Pritam to Bob Dylan, from Shankha Ghosh to Sunil Gangopadhyay with the ease of a master. When he chanted Pritam’s “Main Tenu Phir Milangi“, I pined for a long-lost lover. When he played the duality of Naren Dutta and Girish Ghosh of Sunil Ganguly’s “Ke Kake Tanchhe”, I was transported back to a glorious time. The reading of his creation, “Rajkumarer Chhithi” was such a heartfelt telling, it brought me to tears.
The poetry he picked were deep, yet relatable. He interspersed the telling with apt musical pieces and stories that made the poetry come alive. But, most of all, he recreated the Bengali adda with the air of nostalgia and belonging hovering subtly above the soul of the audience. This he did by making the audience part of the performance, by opening a channel of conversation with the audience, that felt natural.
Strong Support Cast
The evening was opened by Tania Chakraborty and Samir Paul’s dance presentation – a pleasing, soft piece. The anchors of the evening, Swagata, and Aniruddha pitched in as required, without distracting the audience. They both presented stunning surprise performances of poetic renditions. Aniruddha’s presentation of Sunil Ganguly’s Paharchuray touched a cord with my homesick soul – “Sobai Jane. Shoishobe Aar Fera Jaena” (Everyone knows. You can’t go back to childhood).
Sromona Chakraborty, who performed Rabindra Sangeet and Folk Music on demand, was very much the master of the trade that she is. She sang without instruments to back her up, with an open voice and an open spirit. It was mesmerizing.
I am in love with the young ‘balak’ (ahem, an endearing jab that was exchanged a few times on stage), Shibasish Banerjee, who played the keyboard and sang the few English renditions. His voice was wispy and romantic and had a choir-like appeal. His mastery over the instrument was deeper. I wish the technical team could have solved the problem of the low volume of his music – because I was left craving for a bit more. You can follow him on his Facebook page.
There wasn’t a moment in the evening that didn’t amaze me. Sujoy and the team awakened me to many new worlds, and many new feelings that I had forgotten are bottled within. Cheers to that! And, I raise my glass to Boyaam on their fabulous debut. Bravo.
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