Tollyganj: From box office to ballot box, where stars cross paths

THE political battlefield in West Bengal is a star-studded affair this time, with names from its movie and tv industries arrayed on each side of the divide. Now the rift can be taking part in out within the very dwelling of Tollywood — the Tollyganj Meeting constituency in South Kolkata that votes on April 10.

The TMC, which has assiduously courted stars in its climb to energy, counts Tollyganj as amongst its strongholds, having gained the seat since 2001. For the final three elections, it has been gained by the celebration’s Aroop Biswas, the West Bengal PWD Minister.

Nevertheless, within the BJP nook this time is a reputation with as a lot star energy — MP, Union minister and widespread singer Babul Supriyo, counted by some as amongst BJP chief minister candidates. The Sanyukta Morcha’s candidate is a reputation as at dwelling in Tollyganj: actor Debdoot Ghosh.

The Bengali movie trade, with its neo-realist tales, was as soon as thought-about solidly Left-aligned. Throughout his time as chief minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee stored the Info and Broadcasting portfolio to himself.

Actor-turned-politician Mithun Chakraborty and BJP chief Babul Supriyo throughout a rally in Tollyganj on Thursday. (Specific Photograph: Partha Paul)

The TMC’s outreach to Tollywood was led by its native strongman Biswas. Over time, actors Dev, Moon Moon Sen, Shatabdi Roy, Chiranjeet Chattopadhyay, Mimi Chakraborty, Nusrat Jahan crossed over to the celebration, with lots of them fielded as candidates to each the Meeting and Parliament. Within the TMC’s 10 years of energy, movie stars have been a relentless presence in cultural occasions of the state authorities in addition to the celebration’s annual Martyrs’ Day rally on July 21.

This time the TMC has fielded widespread actors Soham Chakraborty, Sayantika Banerjee, Koushani Mukherjee, June Maliah, Kanchan Mullick, Beautiful Maitra, Sayani Ghosh; singer Aditi Munshi and filmmaker Raj Chakraborty as its candidates. Samajwadi Occasion MP Jaya Bachchan has been campaigning for the celebration.

Union Minister Babul Supriyo reveals the victory signal as he campaigns in Tollyganj on Thursday. (Specific Photograph: Shashi Ghosh)

Nevertheless, in search of recognisable names in Bengal, the BJP has additionally gone about buying the identical from Tollywood. Many have joined the BJP, and actors resembling Payel Sarkar, Srabanti Chatterjee, Yash Dasgupta, Papiya Adhikari, Tanushree Chakraborty and Anjana Basu are contesting on BJP tickets.

Yesteryear Bollywood star Mithun Chakrabarty joined the BJP amidst a lot fanfare on March 7, and has been campaigning for its star candidates.

In July 2019, a brand new organisation known as the Jap India Movement Photos and Cultural Confederation, to signify the pursuits of individuals working in Tollywood, was launched within the presence of West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh. TMC MLA Biswas and his brother Swarup Biswas maintain key positions in different our bodies such because the Jap India Movement Photos Affiliation and Federation of Cine Technicians and Employees of Jap India.

Tollywood actor and TMC MP Dev Adhikari campaigns for Javed Khan in Kolkata on Thursday.

Supriyo says he’s assured of profitable Tollyganj by “40,000-50,000 votes”. “Aroop Biswas and his brother Swarup reign over the Bengali movie trade and this constituency. Nothing occurs right here with out their approval and consent. In the long run, the persons are struggling. It is vitally unhappy. There’s a want to supply clear ingesting water to the folks, particularly in slum areas. The Tolly Nullah (canal) wants fast cleansing.”

Dwelling to the famed Technicians Studio, Indrapuri Studio and New Theatres 1 studio the place famend filmmakers Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen, Ritwik Ghatak and later administrators Rituparno Ghosh, Goutam Ghosh and others shot their movies, Tollyganj can be a examine in contrasts.

If the mushrooming of movie studios right here since earlier than Independence lends it a particular sheen, the constituency is as well-known for the extremely polluted Tolly nullah, popularly referred to as Adi Ganga, that doesn’t simply run via the center of Bengali cinema but additionally previous Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s home in Kalighat. The canal continues to obtain untreated sewage and waste, and the Nationwide Inexperienced Tribunal’s intervention up to now few years has barely made any distinction.

BJP MP and Bengali actor Locket Chatterjee campaigns in Chuchura, Hoogly district, for saffron celebration candidate Shantunu Thakur on Thursday.

When there may be excessive tide within the Hooghly river, the nullah overflows, inundating adjoining areas. Among the many worst affected are the slum dwellers, who dwell alongside the canal. Says a resident, refusing to be named, “The nullah stinks and is a breeding floor for mosquitoes. There has by no means been any critical work to wash it.”

Sitting MLA Biswas contests this, claiming there was quite a lot of improvement underneath the Trinamool, and dismissing the problem posed by Supriyo. Within the 2016 Meeting polls, Biswas had gained Tollyganj by 9,896 votes. Even through the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, when the BJP made main good points in Bengal, the TMC was forward on this section.

“From roads and electrical energy to water, all improvement works have been performed by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Folks can see it. They don’t need to take heed to leaders making false guarantees like Rs 15 lakh in financial institution accounts or 2 crore jobs per yr,” he says, speaking about a few of the BJP guarantees.

The TMC has additionally been taking part in the “outsider” card, saying the patrons of Bengali tradition in Tollyganj might by no means vote for a celebration just like the BJP.

Sanyukta Morcha’s Ghosh, who has been working as an actor for over a decade, has seen the movie trade from up shut — not like his extra illustrious rivals. His goal, he says, is to lift the usual of the movie studios to “worldwide stage”. “Numerous world-famous Bengali filmmakers labored right here. The situation of those studios doesn’t match the requirements of Bengal’s golden period of cinema. Moreover, the folks of the constituency want fundamental facilities resembling clear ingesting water, drainage system and good roads,” says Ghosh.

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