The City of Joy played host to veteran Bollywood actor Om Puri as he returned to Kolkata after 24 years to relive his iconic role in Roland Joffe’s The City of Joy. The actor, along with actress Swastika Mukherjee, CEO and President of Apollo Hospitals Dr Rupali Basu and internationally renowned photographer Kounteya Sinha hosted 50 rickshaw walas at The Harrington Street Arts Centre in the photographer’s latest show Stone – Being and Becoming. The evening was also attended by writer Anjum Katyal, actress Shreya Pandey, and director of Oxford Bookstore Maina Bhagat.
Adorning himself with a chequered gamcha, the actor went on to speak about his experiences playing the iconic part of farmer Hasari Pal who moves his family to Kolkata to start a new life and then becomes a rickshaw walah in The City of Joy. The actor went on to add, “Rickshaw is an intrinsic part of the history of Kolkata’s. It should never die. It can be a massive tourist draw if Bengal markets them. They can take tourists to the most interesting by-lanes of Kolkata. Look at what Hong Kong has done with their rickshaws. Even in Kolkata they should be allowed to function in areas where they are not a hindrance.”
The actor also recounted how he feels that the government should provide an alternate plan to rickshaw wallas of the city for their survival.
Actress Swastika Mukherjee said “I think it is a wonderful idea of Kounteya to pay tribute to the rickshaw wallas of Kolkata. They are an intrinsic part of the city.”
Stone – Being and Becoming will continue till July 6.
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