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Lost but not defeated: Bengali actor Rudranil Ghosh is taking on the Mamata regime, one poem at a time

At a time, when Mamata Banerjee wants journalists and the film industry to crawl, the actor with a spine is standing up to the regime

Tollywood actor Rudranil Ghosh, who contested against the Trinamool Congress (TMC) from the party’s bastion of Bhabanipur in the 2021 Vidhan Sabha elections, is taking the internet by storm through his poems.

Although he lost out to his rival Sovandeb Chattopadhyay by over 28,000 votes, the seasoned actor has not stopped holding Mamata Banerjee and her party leaders accountable to the public. Ghosh has been sidelined by the TMC-controlled Bengali film industry after he joined hands with the BJP in January last year ahead of the assembly elections in the state.

Despite facing all the odds, the poet in him has not died. Rudranil Ghosh is now taking the Mamata Banerjee government head-on, using satire and his excellent oratory skills. Such has been the impact of his masterful satire that his videos are now being widely shared to mock and question the TMC regime.

Mamata Banerjee and her attempt to intimidate the media

On April 11 this year,  West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee threatened the media for allegedly defaming her government through ‘consistent’ coverage of negative stories. She made the contentious remarks during the inauguration of the revamped Milan Mela in Kolkata.

Mamata Banerjee asked people to watch TV serials instead of news channels. “Watch Star Jalsa, Zee TV serials. People are anyway in a state of mental pollution. Do not spend too much time watching, listening to the news (given that they cover only negative things about the government),” she said.

She further blamed the ‘irresponsible’ media for supposedly distorting the image and perception of the State of West Bengal. “I will not allow this to happen and even sacrifice my life for it,” she announced.

The West Bengal Chief Minister warned, “Agun lagale kintu aagun sobar ghore lageAmi agun chai na shanti chai (When you light a fire, it will burn down every house including yours. I don’t want fire but peace).” She also claimed that source-based reporting by journalists is illegal.

Banerjee further said, “In Bengal, we tolerate things but it doesn’t mean that you will cross all limits. Bengal is soft, TMC is soft, isn’t it?” She then went on to threaten companies against providing ads to non-friendly media companies. “With your ad money, they increase their TRP and show negative things such as murders all the time”, the West Bengal CM added.

Rudranil Ghosh exposes the state of journalism in West Bengal

A day later on April 12, Bengali actor Rudranil Ghosh took potshots at Mamata Banerjee and the Trinamool Congress government over its attempt to censor the press. In a satirical poem published on his Facebook page, the BJP leader tore into the high-handedness of the State government, and its attempts to impose curbs on the media.

“Khobor dekho na tumi sob jene jabe, serial dekho tumi shanti toh pabe. Bhalo Bhalo joto kichu khobor dekhao, bodole bigappan anudan pao (Do not watch the news, else you will get to know everything. Watch serials instead, it will give you peace. Highlight good news stories on your channels and get ads in return), the actor took a dig at Banerjee’s comments.

He continued, “Tini mane sob thik, tini mane bhalo… tini jodi bole din, sada hoi kalo (She is fine, she is great…If she commands, then white becomes black).

Ghosh also pointed out how coverage of critical news stories might take journalists to their graves. “Youtuber joto rajjo charo…mitha news kore shanti karo…news channel jude kharap khobor…shimana chariya gela, samne kobor (All Youtubers, leave the State immediately. You have been usurping peace through fake stories. All news channels are covering bad news. Stay in limits or your end will be near).

He added, “Mobile haatha niye sajo reporter, sotti ta dekhano ki khub dorkar (You pretend to be a reporter by just carrying a mobile phone in your hand. Is it necessary to show the truth?)

Rudranil Ghosh then made references to the murder of anti-TMC activist Anish Khan, and the alleged rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl by a TMC leader’s son in Hanskhali, and the arson attack in Bogtui village in Birbhum that claimed 8 lives. “Pure jak Anish era, houk Hanskhali, pure jak Bogtui, houk koul khali,” he stated.

Tini jodi bole den choto ghotona, meina nao, chepa jao, sob rotona…Mukh khulai ora kere neba kaaj, chup kore sobai, nai toh awaaz….(If she trivializes an incident by labeling it as ‘small’, then, concede that it is the truth. Everything else is a rumor. If you open your mouth, then, they will snatch away your job. This is why everyone is silent and there is no cry of protest),” he lamented.

Rudranil Ghosh pointed out how criticism of the Mamata regime can impact your livelihood and existence in the State of West Bengal. “Sob kichu valo aacha ai Banglai, kharap ta kuje pela tika thaka dai(Everything is perfect in Bengal. If you discover something bad, then, it will be difficult for you to survive here).”

In the concluding sentence, “Kharap ja hoi kichu North Korea ai, bolo sobe Kim Jong-un er jai“, the BJP leader conceded that there is nothing wrong in Bengal but in North Korea. While adding that once can’t criticise the Supreme leader, Ghosh hailed dictator Kim Jong-Un as a ‘hero.’

Taking on Anubrata Mandal after he evaded CBI summon citing health concerns

Earlier on April 7 this year, Ghosh took potshots at TMC leader and Chairman of West Bengal State Rural Development Authority, Anubrata Mandal. He was summoned by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with a cattle smuggling case.

However, Mandal had cited ill-health to defer in-person summons and had instead asked the central agency officials to meet him at the SSKM hospital in Kolkata. The TMC leader complained about numbness in the chest and shortness of breath, after landing in Birbhum on April 5.

Mandal is also accused in a coal smuggling case. Rudranil Ghosh, therefore, created a parody version of the famous poem ‘Benimadhab’ by Joy Goswami. Titled ‘Anumadhab’ after Anubrata Mandal, the actor mocked the TMC leader for making ‘lame excuses’ to evade investigation.

He recited,“Anumadab haspatal e tomar buke betha, oxygen e tann porecha ukrhe gecho neta (Anumadhab, I learnt that you are in hospital. There is a pain in your chest. Heard that you are suffering from a deficit of oxygen)

“Ami ekhon Nizam palace, ekhon CBI, Anumadhab aaj o ami sudhu tomai chai,” the BJP leader narrated the poem from the perspective of a woman, madly in love with Anubrata Mandal despite all the cases pending against him.

Palliya berao amar thaka keno baron baar, amar thaka priyo tomar Gorur karbar (Why do you run away from me like this? Is it because the cattle ‘smuggling’ business is dearer to you than me?), Ghosh took potshots again at Mandal.

He inquired, “Jani tumi buk pocket e bhore rakho police, goru, koila, Anumadhob Punjabi te daag lagena, hoi na keno moila? (Although you keep the police, cow, and coal in your picket, why doesn’t your kurta get stained or dirty?)”

Rudranil Ghosh took a dig at Mamata Banerjee and accused her of laundering the ‘dirty linen’ (covering up cases) of Anubrata Mandal. “Jani tomar kapor kacha tomar kacher didi, daag na lagar guru saban ghosche nirobodhi (I know your favorite. ‘Didi’ washes your dirty linen. She continuously rubs your clothes with washing powder to ensure that they do not appear dirty.)”

While slamming Mamata Banerjee yet again, he added, “Tumar didi shilpi manush, sobai taka chine, ek phone e te aagun, fagun, jibon , mritu, kene (Your sister is a well-known artist, who can buy fire, life and death with just one call.)

Towards the end of his satirical poem, Rudranil Ghosh impersonating the lover of Anubrata Mandal, inquires, “Daktar aar ukil keno tumai ghire rakhe, diba ratro police keno paharate thake (Why are you always surrounded by doctors and lawyers ( referring to his recent hospitalization) Why do police guard you at all times?

Screengrab of a newspaper cutting about Rudranil Ghosh not being ‘apologetic’

Anubrata Mandal, who was once a star campaigner for TMC, spoke out against the party in public in 2019 over the collection of ‘cut money’ by its functionaries. He had declined to speak against dubious allegations of BJP’s black money, as touted by the high command of the TMC, in July of that year.

“She (Mamata Banerjee) brought to the fore the word ‘cut-money’ following which people (read TMC functionaries and public representatives) are returning some amount. It is creating a perception that the party runs on cut money. I also didn’t like countering the cut-money issue with black money,” Mandal had remarked.

Rudranil Ghosh was once a student leader and was affiliated with the Left parties before defecting to the TMC. He joined the BJP in January 2021 and contested the Vidhan Sabha polls from the Bhabanipur constituency but with no success.

Despite this, Rudranil Ghosh is making a mark for himself in the Bengal for being outspoken against the incumbent government in West Bengal. His videos are gaining traction and are being widely shared on Facebook and Whatsapp. At a time, when Mamata Banerjee wants journalists and the film industry to crawl, the actor with a spine is standing up to the regime, one poem at a time.

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Dibakar Dutta
Dibakar Dutta
Fascinated by Indian politics

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