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Ek pyar ka nagma hai, maujon ki rawani hai​

Zindagi aur kuch bhi nahi teri meri kahani hai​

Kuch paakar khona hai, kuch khokar paana hai​

Jeevan ka matlab toh aana aur jaana hai​

Do pal ke jeevan se ek umar churani hai​

Zindagi aur kuch bhi nahi teri meri kahani hai​

Ek pyar ka nagma hai

It's a song of love, it's a flow of ecstasy​
Life is nothing but a story about you and me​
We have to attain something and lose something​
The meaning of life is coming and going​
We have to steal a lifetime from this short life​
Life is nothing but a story about you and me​
It's a song of love​
Life is nothing but a story about you and me​
It's a song of love

This song from the film Shor. I identify it with my childhood days at the Raj Bhavan. I first heard this song on the streets of New Market, where Mani (my mother) and I had gone to buy a wedding gift. My Mani used to sing this song while arranging things in the house or whenever she was painting a pot or sewing something. She was a trained Rabindrasangeet singer but while doing household chores, she used to belt out melodious Hindi film songs.

In keeping with Lord Metcalfe’s imperial vision, the meticulously structured Raj Bhavan or Governor's House was specially created away from the rest of the metropolis, magnificently proportioned amidst acres of formal gardens. Tall, intricately patterned wrought iron gates with massive lions perched atop reiterated the same majestic message. The ‘plebian’ and the ‘common man’ were to be kept out of what was the abode of the Governor-General, the symbol of power and might of the monarch and the Throne.

amlan ganguly, entrepreneur in kolkata, youthled ngo in salt lake city
amlan ganguly, entrepreneur in kolkata, youthled ngo in salt lake city

My father served three successive Governors — Shri Dharm Vira, Shri Shanti Swarup Dhawan and Shri Anthony Lancelot Dias. Childhood was filled with lots of protocols, Raj Bhavan get-togethers, music, bonhomie, theatres, movies, adda, art and culture, literary debates, family outings to Victoria Memorial, Academy of Fine Arts, Diamond Harbour. The Naxalite movement, the 1971 War between India and Pakistan were also witnessed with my infant instincts and knowledge. Now when I administer Prayasam, I know from where I honed the meticulous planning, value of time and the rich cultural insights which have come to me from my family as a legacy. The first film I watched in Darjeeling where we used to accompany my father during the summer was Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne. So, my initial grooming was done within a rich cultural milieu. This helped me a lot as when I started my career in Prayasam with the children. I wanted to pass on this cultural insights to them but I customized it according to their receptive capacity and interests.

I don’t know what you have given me to drink
It was real fun
I started dancing like a man possessed

Jaane kya pilaaya tune
Bada maza aaya
Jhoom uthi re main
Mastaani deewaani

Yes, this is the song from Jugnu (though at that time I didn’t know it) takes me to that Kali pujo night in Tollygunge, where we shifted from the Raj Bhavan for a brief period of time, when after dinner all the family members, which included my parents, sister and  two uncles, were just strolling around from one pandal to the other and this very song wafted in my ears and stayed there. From the palatial house we had moved to Government Housing Estates. With its very run of the mill existence, I was soaked into a culture of Bengali bourgeoisie. The bonding, camaraderie, the subtle pettiness, competitive mindset and the know-it-all attitude. 


Here for the first time I experienced community film viewing under the open sky. I watched Pather Panchali, Rajlokkhi Srikanto and many more, and family outings primarily meant going to watch mainstream Bengali movies like Phuleshwari, Sadhu Judhisthirer Karcha, Dhanni Meye, etc and started relating myself to one of the main characters of the films that I watched. I was glued to the world of cinema. This eventually helped me while exposing Prayasam’s youth Directors to filmmaking craft. While staying there we went to Digha for a short trip. I saw the sea. What an experience. Collecting shells, going deep into the sea with one of my uncles…we had a blast. So, though we stayed there for a very brief period of time (a year-and-a-half) I had very fond memories attached to Tollygunge. Lot of FIRSTS I experienced there…some I can tell, some I have buried within myself. It was really intoxicating, like the song Jaane Kya Pilaaya tune….

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