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Star Mommy Turns Jatra Boudi : Raveena Tandon to make over Rs 1 crore for jatra act

Posted in  India Today by PARTHA DASGUPTA on Jan 7, 2012 , Read Full Post

A woman in a sequinned, snuff-coloured, body-hugging dress shimmies on the stage at a school playground in Bhagabangola, a nondescript block in Murshidabad district of West Bengal, late on a November night. She gyrates to Tu cheez badi hai mast mast and the audience can’t get enough.
Meet Raveena Tandon, the new jatra queen of Bengal. The 37-year-old actor is part of a play, Rupshagorer Rupashi (Mermaid from the ocean of beauty), this season. The play by Ratnadeep Opera, one of 54 troupes in Kolkata that produce jatra, a folk theatre form that is more than 500 years old, will be staged till April in Bengal and neighbouring states.

Think Tank, a media company from Mumbai, brought Tandon and Ratnadeep Opera, a relatively new entrant to the Rs 120-crore industry that employs over 1.5 lakh people, together. Tandon is the latest entrant to an arena that has seen Jaya Prada, Zeenat Aman and Shakti Kapoor perform live.

“It is all about the excitement of performing live in front of thousands of people, a fabulous experience. More so when it is in front of a domestic audience,” says Tandon. Haradhan Roy, 52, the group’s manager, explains the rush of Bollywood actors to jatra: “Life as an actor in Mumbai is mundane and stifling. These actors find a new lease of life in jatra.” Utpal Roy, 62, a celebrated playwright and director in the industry, who has written the script for the play, has a different take. “It is all about the money. These actors have no currency in Mumbai, but still have to maintain a lifestyle. What better place than a Bangla jatra?” he says.


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