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      Volume 6 | Issue 44 | November 04, 2012 |


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We Bid Thee Farewell, Kakababu

Apurba Jahangir

On October 23, 2012, a great deal of sorrow came down on earth, especially upon the two nations of Bengal. It was during Durga puja, when everyone was in a festive mood; we heard that the great Sunil Gangopadhyay is no more. And suddenly the festive look of puja went a little off.

For those who don't know, Sunil Gangopadhyay was an Indian Poet and Novelist, whose pseudonyms were Nil Lohit, Shonaton Pathok and Nil Upadhyay. But I don't think he needs an introduction, because if you are into reading, you have to know him for his great contributions to Bengali literature.

Photo: Internet

Sunil Gangopadhyay was one of those writers who touched everyone's heart. It doesn't matter if you are a child or a sixty year old, he has written books that we all can cherish. To some, he is mainly known for his fictional character Kakababu, the crippled adventurist, accompanied by his nephew Santu, and his friend Jojo. Since 1974, Sunil Gangopadhyay wrote over 35 novels in form of a series, most of which appeared in Anandamela magazine and became really popular. The Kakababu series stands out in the book shelves alone.

Though he was a writer who has excelled in different genres, Sunil Gangopadhyay declares poetry to be his first love. His Nikhilesh and Neera series' of poems have been extremely popular. Those series' reflected the shadows of Banalata Sen by Jibanananda Das.

Sunil Gangopadhyay was known for his unique style in both fiction and poetry. His first novel, Atmaprakash, was the first writing from a new comer in literature, published in the prestigious magazine, Desh, back in 1965. He was also famous for his historical fictions. His creation, 'Sei Shomoy' continues to be a best seller for more than two decades after its first publication. The same goes for Prothom Alo, another best seller and Purbo Paschim, a raw description of the partition of India and its aftermath seen through the eyes of three generations of Bengalis in West Bengal, Bangladesh and elsewhere. By reading these historical fictions of Sunil Gangopadhyay, you can really see how he, in his own unique style, blended history and fiction.Those who do not like average history books can try these out. You will see that the historical characters like Rabindranath Tagore, Michael Madhusudan Dutta and others will come to life when you read these books and you will learn a lot through entertainment.

In addition, there are also movies that were adaptations of his novels. The great writer and director, Satyajit Ray made two films 'Pratidwandi' and 'Aranyer Din Ratri' based on the works of Sunil Gangopadhyay. One of his cult poems, 'Smritir Shohor' was turned into a song for the film 'Iti Mrinalini' (2011) directed by Aparna Sen. Three of his Kakababu series novels 'Sabuj Diper Raja', 'Kakababu Here Gelen' and 'Ektukro Chad' have been a part of the big screen also. Another film, based on the novel 'Mishor Rahashya' is scheduled to be released in 2013 and will be directed by Srijit Mukherji.

I, am a huge fan of his works. The kakababu series has gotten me through some really rough times in my childhood. It was in 2008 when my dad and I went to his house in Calcutta, India. He and my dad knew each other for a very long time. I remember he was giving an interview to a local television channel when we walked into his house. After that, I was introduced to him, he looked at me and told my dad,that I actually look like Santu, the character from the Kakababu series.

After hearing this I, being a Kakababu fanatic, was extremely delighted (Even though, I personally do not think that I look like Santu).

Sunil Gangopadhyay is beyond praise. So I do not feel the need to do it now either. Though he is no more physically, he will always live through his books, poetry and creations for generations to come.

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