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Bengali Group Celebrates Baisakhi

May 2005
Bengali Group Celebrates Baisakhi

On April 16th, 2005, Pujari, a Bengali organization in Georgia, celebrated the 1st of Baisakh, marking the advent of the traditional Bengali New Year. The venue was the auditorium at the India American Cultural Association (IACA) in Smyrna. This year's Baisakhi event drew a spectacular attendance from the Bengali community in Georgia. Additionally, many of the attendees came from outside Georgia as well, even from neighboring states.

The roster for the evening included a melange of cultural programs from Bengal, punctuated by a fine dinner. The program began at 6:30 p.m. and lasted past midnight. Pujari president, Dr. Gouranga Banik welcomed the audience and talked about importance of Bengali New Year.

Ms. Jaba Ghosh and Ms. Tania Majumdar were the two emcees for the evening. The inaugural item was a group rendition of Rabindrasangeet numbers, performed by the local talent, directed by Ms. Tania Majumdar. It was a fine performance, evidently quite well rehearsed. The next item was "Birpurush" (The Hero), a children's dance drama written by Sri Rabindranath Tagore, and performed by kids from the Indian community. Ms. Banhi Nandi directed this program. Everything about this program ? the set, the costumes, and the children who put forth a superlative acting and dance performance ? was extraordinary. Following "Birpurush", Ms. Bisakha Sen from Huntsville, Alabama, turned in a short but sweet dance performance, her languid movements quietly complementing the grace of the Rabindrasangeet numbers that played in the background. A novelty in this year's Baisakhi was Richa Sarkar's medley of poems, parodies, and sonnets by modern Bengali writers on Rabindranath Tagore. It was a spectacular performance, showcasing her previous experience as a professional announcer and emcee on Doordarshan. Moreover, this item was a refreshingly new approach to paying homage to the sage of modern Indian literature without just regurgitating his own works. Right before the dinner break was another dance performance, "From Dusk to Dawn", choreographed and directed by Ms. Banhi Nandi and Sri Amitava Sen. All the dances were superbly choreographed, and the accompanying songs were sung to perfection by the talented trio of Rakhi Banerjee, Rahul Roy, and Indrani Danave.

The dinner for the evening matched the high standards set by the cultural program. The food was mouth-wateringly delicious, with the mutton curry standing out as the "item of the evening".

The post-dinner session saw a fine performance of modern Bengali songs by three extremely talented local performers - Prasanta Chakravarty, Tirthankar Dasgupta & Rakhi Banerjee. Tirthankar deserves special mention as he enthralled the audience with his versatile musical talent, highlighted by his mastery of the Guitar, Keyboards, and the Tabla. The popular Bengali play, "Naishabhoj" (The Dinner), written by the famous writer Manoj Mitra, was the last item of the night. The local drama group, "Bangla Dhara", performed this play with confidence and finesse. The fine background music complemented the powerful acting of the troupe members.

- Neel Majumdar


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