articles by Sandip Roy

Arts & Culture

Ginsberg’s Karma: A new documentary creatively illuminates the American poet’s time in India

When 'America's most famous poet' came to India, he was broke, disillusioned, fed up with the notoriety of ‘Howl’ and the media circus around its trial.


Ire against folk singer's win in Bengali reality show is reminder that folk music is still viewed as 'poor country cousin'

Folk music carries within it a cultural context that makes it an uneasy fit in a talent show format, where versatility across genres is key.


Tika utsav is fine but poll rallies, Kumbh Mela without social distancing and masks big threat to India's war on COVID-19

Perhaps the time has come for politicians of all parties, not just the aam aadmi, to also exhibit that “Covid-appropriate behaviour”


As Feluda COVID-19 test rolls out, few tributes could be as apt for Soumitra Chatterjee and iconic character he portrayed

If this paper strip test is rolled out successfully, Feluda will walk once more among us, solving the Corona mystery, the same disease that sent Soumitra Chatterjee to the hospital in the first place. Feluda has cracked his final case, the one we thought had finally defeated him.


Durga Puja in the time of COVID: Kolkata's sarbojanik pandals must keep out the faithful, for community's welfare

Durga Puja is not just a time of revelry, the climax of Kolkata’s cultural calendar. It’s also a huge economic high point.


Indians have made Chinese food their own; boycotting it only betrays our culinary culture and middle-class

In the wake of the conflagration at the border, Ramdas Athawale, union minister, has decided that the patriotic Indian must launch a boycott of Chinese food. What he does not realise that Chinese food in India has as much to do with China as a Japanese curry has to do with our korma and qalia.


In Kolkata, bureaucrat, doctor and teenage son become poster family for irresponsibility in time of coronavirus outbreak

Some are seeing this as a classic case of the well-heeled thinking they are invincible, stupidly confident that their power and wealth renders them immune to all the plagues of the world.


Wendell Rodricks was an icon of Indian's LGBTQ rights movement — a pioneer who ventured where few had dared to

The matter-of-factness with which Wendell Rodricks chose to be himself was groundbreaking, something hard to comprehend now in a time when gay pool parties happen at five-star hotels and Pride Parades march down the streets of cities like Ahmedabad and Guwahati.


Ayushmann Khurrana has become the face of everything 'offbeat' and that's a lot of burden for one actor to bear

Poor Ayushmann Khurrana. It’s hard work being the only woke actor being around, the one who can do no wrong.


Friendship Walk '99: Revisiting India's first Pride March in Kolkata on its 20th anniversary

It will be nostalgic but at a time when many think the gay movement is synonymous with gay parties and partners are just a click away on an app, the Friendship Walk ’99 is a reminder of time when everyone had to have everyone’s back because they were trying to build not just a movement but a community.


Ami Kolkata: A museum housed within Metcalfe Hall re-imagines the City of Joy, reflects its democratic spirit

Ami Kolkata has its mandatory Tagore and Ray, but it also has a stairwell lined with quirky posters – old movie classics as well as vintage ads for Horlicks malted milk, Lily barley biscuits, and Firpo’s machine-made bread. It celebrates Kolkata biryani and Chinatown breakfasts as much as it honours its pioneers like Raja Ram Mohun Roy and Begum Roqeya.


Lok Sabha election result demolishes myth of BJP-proof West Bengal, but party's journey from No 2 to No 1 won't be easy

The Trinamool fortress had proved impregnable during the last Lok Sabha elections and its Modi wave. They had withstood the BJP in the 2016 Assembly elections despite the Saradha-Narada scandals


Bengal Votes: Celeb culture key aspect of Mamata Banerjee's politics, WB CM tactfully uses it to draw voters and cull infighting

When Anik Dutta’s political satire Bhobishyoter Bhoot was yanked from theatres recently, none of the celebrity MPs and MLAs in Bengal came out in open support of their embattled colleague


Bengal Votes: In Basirhat, TMC banks on novice Nusrat Jahan, a Muslim without hardcore communal baggage, but lacks real connect with voters

In reality, Nusrat is every inch a star. She knows Basirhat but as a place where she's done stage shows. She knows how to wave to the crowds like a princess. She refers to them rather regally as 'my people'.


Bengal votes: BJP, TMC will spin Vidyasagar episode to suit their needs even as EC decides to end poll campaign early

TMC' strategy in West Bengal has been to pin BJP down as a trouble-making outside force, and now that the Vidyasagar statue vandalism incident has landed in Mamata Banerjee's lap, she will use it to drive the point home as forcefully as she can


Bengal votes: Youths in Asansol, Krishnanagar, Chinsurah struggling to find jobs view voting as obligation, say local politicos have no solution

Even those who dislike the Mamata Banerjee regime can see the improvements: roads, hospitals, streetlights. But when it boils down to their own future, they see little to be hopeful about, nationally or locally.


Star Wars actor Peter Mayhew dies: Without saying a single word, Chewbacca epitomised the loyalty of a friend

Chewbacca was the unlikeliest of stars. This was a man in an ape mask and a hairy suit.


Bengal votes: Chinsurah locals show support for BJP, allege Mamata Banerjee indulged in minority appeasement

Chinsurah is a town with a storied history. It is on the river and used to be a Dutch colony.


Bengal Votes: In Krishnanagar, voters want jobs, not Ram Mandir; campaigns aren't about real issues, say youths, it's about Modi vs Mamata

In cities like Krishnanagar, the goal is a job and not a Ram Mandir. The bigger problem is young voters increasingly feel their real issues are not reflected in a campaign that in Bengal has largely become about Narendra Modi versus Mamata Banerjee.


Bengal votes: Asansol is beachhead of BJP's advance into state, but voters say CPM was better, 'didn't play Hindu-Muslim card'

Asansol with its Masjid, its Hanuman Mandir, and its Sacred Heart Church has become the beachhead for BJP's advance into Bengal. But the stakes are high this election. Suraj Singh, my Ola driver, predicts if Trinamool wins they will make life hell for all the local "BJP boys". The Babul Supriyo win is still a raw wound here for Trinamool.