If you walk into the VIP lounge of Nandan, it is hard to not notice its resemblance with the film set of a Rituparno Ghosh movie. An old office at Nandan has been completely revamped to make way for this new lounge that looks exactly like the sets of a period film all complete with vintage sofas, lamps and a carpet. With just a week to go for the 25th Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF), Nandan is going for a complete makeover. The state-run film and cultural centre in Kolkata, which was officially inaugurated on September 2, 1985 by Satyajit Ray, is getting decked up for the occasion.
According to director Raj Chakraborty, the chairperson of KIFF, credit for everything goes to chief minister Mamata Banerjee. “She has been our main inspiration. I must also mention the contribution of minister Aroop Biswas and principal secretary Vivek Kumar. Besides everyone from the PWD and I&CA Department have been working relentlessly to ensure that the job gets done well,” he said.
Incidentally, Kolkata-based sculptor Narayan Sinha was specially roped in to give the facelift. A month back, some 25 members of Narayan’s team started work. One of the first things done was to ensure that the space where Ramkinkar Baij’s iconic sculpture titled Koler Bashi was installed in Nandan was refurbished. “The idea was to ensure that the sculpture by the icon was fully visible to the masses. We had to ensure that the view didn’t get obstructed by the foliage,” Narayan said.
At the entrance of culture hub now stands a new installation work based on the concept of how a writer, cameraman and a director capture commoners at Nandan. Narayan wanted to use discarded material and redesign them to make an installation that would remain for posterity. As talks progressed, soon it was decided that the entire installation would be done from scrap material available at the Nandan warehouse. If the broken parts of a projector were used to design the cameraman, parts of an old typewriter were used to design the body of the writer. Even drainage waste pipes that were lying abandoned were put to use to design the heads of the three characters in the installation.
Another very interesting innovation is the use of parts of a loudspeaker to design four lights at the Nandan entrance. “Since music is a very important part of a film, I decided to use loudspeakers to design the lights. It gives a sense of announcement to those who enter Nandan. The design is in the shape of a flower that is usually used to welcome guests at home,” Narayan added.
On the first floor, original posters of classics including Pather Panchali, Subarnarekha, Parashuram, Akaler Sandhane have been used. Besides, photos of iconic directors and actors including Satyajit Ray, Uttam Kumar, Suchitra Sen, Supriya Devi, Chinmoy Ray, Chhaya Devi, Chhabi Biswas, Basanta Chowdhury, Robi Ghosh, Asit Baran, Bikash Roy and Tulsi Chakraborty have also been on display. Some memorable stills from Meghe Dhaka Tara and Jukti Takko Aar Gappo have also been sourced for display. Further additions are expected to done in the coming days.
Two murals — dedicated to musicians and writers — have been designed in the form of butterflies to pay an ode to the colourful and festive mood associated with a film festival. What’s interesting is that parts of a typewriter have been used for the mural dedicated to writers. For the one on musicians, different portions from a trumpet have been used. What also strikes the eye in the same room is a set of lights designed from the small triangle-shaped windows of a vintage Ambassador car.
On the same floor is the VIP lounge. It is starkly different in terms of texture and décor from the portico and the entrance. Here, the idea is to recreate the old-world charm of Kolkata. Nostalgia is in the air as one walks into the lounge. The furniture has been sourced from antique shops of Kolkata as well as from personal collections. The carpets have been weathered to give a vintage look. An old bed from the zamindar era has been redesigned to serve as a centre table. The light that hangs from the ceiling is made from portions of a sewing machine and a paan dani. Brass utensils that were once popular in Bengal have been redesigned as lampshades.
Photographs and paintings used in the room also have a special significance. Crochet works have been framed alongside some contemporary jewellery. Some plates used for offering Pujas adorn the walls. One corner is reserved for relaxation. An old-fashioned aramkedara is placed in a lone corner for any guest wanting a bit of me-time. While a sketch of Ma Durga hangs on one wall, another wall has a photograph of a girl clad in a red-and-white sari. She sits atop a trunk of treasures, waiting, as it were, to hand over the keys to wealth and prosperity. This conceptual photograph is symbolic of goddess Lakshmi.
Mitra Chatterjee, the KIFF director and CEO of Nandan, is hoping that film-goers will appreciate the efforts of the team involved in renovation. “Keeping in mind the 25th year of KIFF, we have tried to revamp Nandan while ensuring that the existing structure remains intact. Since 1986, there has never been a major renovation in Nandan. We have tried our best to make Nandan presentable to the film fraternity. The state government, with PWD officials, has given us full support in our endeavour,” he concluded.
Source: Times of India