I received an invite to the launch of Femina Bangla at ITC Sonar. Femina English had been a magazine I read sometimes, so I was curious about the way they interpreted it in Bangla. After the successful launch of Femina in Hindi and Tamil, it was only a matter of time before they launched it in Bangla. Present for the event, among others, was Swastika Mukherjee and Mir.
The event saw me sipping Khus Cooler and waiting. About half an hour after the scheduled time, it began, and the panelists as well as the chief guest ambled in. Swastika looked nice in a Sabyasachi outfit, short hair and bold red lips. The panelists who were going to be part of the discussion were introduced one by one. The first issue was then launched officially by them.
Tanya Chaitanya, the editor of Femina, was present for the event, and was excited to launch Femina in Bangla. She said that this move was inevitable, and the panelists, and her talked about the changing face of the women of Bengal, and how they were more prone to experiment. The panelists included Dr. Ranjini Dutta, Saira Shah Halim, Dr. Rima Mukherjee, Priscilla Corner, and Ratnottama Sengupta.
I had a lovely time talking to several panelists, as well as Tanya Chaitanya, after the event, I must say.
Being a single mother and a successful actor, Swastika talked about the way she had redefined herself independently, where she had insisted on carving out her own path in life. From being the daughter of popular actor Santu Mukherjee, where people would identify her as such, she has worked her way to the top, striking out on her own by doing unconventional roles. I have to say, I enjoyed her portrayal of Kadalibala in Bhooter Bhobishyot, and of a young, married teacher in Ami aar Amar Girlfriends. In fact, the second film somehow struck a chord in me because she did not apologize for her “mistake” in the movie, but rather gave importance to her priority – to have a baby.
I was very interested in what Priscilla Corner had to say. She talked about the way there are a lot of experiments going on with hair, and how hair extensions, both temporary and permanent, were becoming more popular. I had met Priscilla Corner a year back, when I went to her with my friend D before her wedding and had found her both gracious and delightful to talk to.
When the panel opened up for discussion, Mir was one of the first people to speak. He started off on a slightly off note – calling Bengali women confused. But then, he recovered, and said, that he respected them, and found them lovely, both inside and out.