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The Arts

Days Ahead of Election, Bengali Artists Unite Against 'Ideology of Hatred' in Viral Song

Without naming it, the actors and singers opposed the BJP, highlight problems such as unemployment and rising fuel prices among others.

New Delhi: Three days ahead of the first phase of the assembly election in West Bengal, a galaxy of Bengali actors and musicians came together in a music video, highlighting the need to stamp out ‘fascist forces’.

In a song titled ‘Nijeder Mote, Nieder Gaan’ (Our song about our views), without explicitly naming the BJP, the artists have taken a stand against its “ideology of hatred”.

According to Filmcompanion, the video stars artists as Parambrata Chatterjee, Anirban Bhattacharya, Sabyasachi Chakraborty, Rudraprasad Sengupta, Anupam Roy, Rupankar Bagchi, Riddhi Sen and Suman Mukhopadhyay. It includes artists from cinema, theatre and music fields.

The song has been a hit online with viewership crossing into lakhs within a few hours of its release on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram on Tuesday night.

The video discusses issues such as the protests against the National Register of Citizens and the Citizenship Amendment Act (NRC-CAA), the rate of unemployment in the country and the rising fuel prices. It also condemns the bloodshed in the name of religion and instances of violence.

“We will not give into divisive and steamrolling politics, which defies all democratic norms. No political party is a saint, but there’s a time when you have to call out the autocrats and choose the lesser-evil,” actor-director Parambrata Chatterjee told news agency PTI.

While the message of the song is anti-BJP, Chatterjee made it evident that the artists are not supporters of the ruling Trinamool Congress. “The message of the song is pretty clear. Civil society should speak about the more important narratives of the times without taking on the colour of a particular party,” he added.

The song in which the words – ‘Ami anyo kothao jabona, ami ei deshe tei thakbo‘, meaning ‘I won’t go anywhere else and would continue to live in this country’ come as a refrain has been penned by actor Anirban Chatterjee.

The music video is directed by young actors Riddhi Sen and Rwitobroto Mukherjee.

“We have to defeat the dark forces who are spreading the ideology of hatred and clamping diktats on us,” said actor Riddhi.

He said that the song, which brought together several top actors and musicians of West Bengal, was being planned since the end of 2019, when the country saw nationwide protests against the CAA.

“However, we thought there would not be a more appropriate moment than now to release the song, so we can spread our words to make people aware of the inherent danger,” Riddhi said.

The song also takes digs at the effort to pass off mythology as history, while criticising the state of women’s safety in the country and demands the rights of the LGBTQI community.

Actor Deboleena Dutta Mukherjee, who has also lent her voice to the song, said, “We have clearly pronounced our stance against fascism in the video.”

“When Riddhi asked me to be part of the video, I immediately agreed. I think the message against the politics of hatred and fascism has come loud and clear in the video, which is already being widely shared on social media. This is very urgent in the present situation,” she told PTI.

Deboleena was the target of rape and death threats recently, when she said at a panel discussion that she can cook beef.

The video has been shot in different parts of Kolkata, including the iconic College Street and Chinese Kali Bari in Tangra, while featuring books by B.R. Ambedkar and Raktakarabi by Rabindranath Tagore.

“The whole idea is aimed at thwarting forces of hatred and divisive ideology,” Riddhi added.

The music video also stars actors Kaushik Sen, Santilal Mukhopadhyay, singers Anupam Roy, Rupankar Bagchi and Anindya Chattopadhyay, and director Suman Mukhopadhyay, among others.

Many celebs in political fray

While the artists who made the song have not aligned themselves with any party for the upcoming assembly elections, many Bengali actors and celebrities have been fielded by the BJP and the TMC as candidates.

According to The Hindu, the TMC has fielded Saayoni Ghosh from Asansol Dakshin, director Raj Chakraborty from the Barrackpore seat and actor Sayantika Ghosh from Bankura, among others. The BJP, meanwhile, has fielded Payel Sarkar from Behala Purba and Anjana Basu in Sonarpur South. Union minister Babul Supriyo has been nominated to contest from the Tollygunj seat.

The eight-phase election for the state’s 294-member assembly will begin on Saturday. The final phase will be held on April 29, with the results scheduled to be announced on May 2.

(With PTI inputs)