A reading of actor Barun Chanda’s Rabibar led to an interesting discussion on thrillers and translations
Books, films, the art of translations, memories of a Calcutta of a yore—these were some of the topics that were discussed at a book reading of actor, advertising professional and author, Barun Chanda’s latest novel Rabibar.
The discussion was organised by Ridhdhi Foundation, a non-profit registered, as a part of Boi-Choi, and held at Atta Galatta. Readers of every age group attended the event. Barun, who is most well-known for his role in Satyajit Ray’s Seemabaddha, introduced the book, saying: “The idea has been germinating in my mind for some time. The events in the book occur within a span of 24 hours, starting from one Saturday morning and ending the following Sunday. The book is set in the Calcutta the 1970s and 1980s, and so has an element of nostalgia to it.”
Barun has also acted in Rituparno Ghosh’s Hirer Angti, and thereafter in films such as Tolly Lights, Antaheen, Laptop and more recently, Vikramaditya Motwane’s Lootera.
As he read an extract from the book, Barun, with his baritone voice, got the audience hooked to the racy plot. The book is about the adventures of a young man and starts with a powerful description of a dream sequence. Rabibar is a fast-paced thriller. “Samaresh Majumdar, a well-known Bengali writer, praised my book at the launch in Kolkata saying, ‘he has written in a language that you feel is your own.” Barun chose to write this book because “I found a perceptible gap in crime thriller writing in Bengali. Most thrillers written in Bengali are essentially meant for children and adolescents, for example Satyajit Ray’s Feluda and even Sunil Gangopadhyay’s crime thrillers. Byomkesh Bakshi is to a certain extent written for adults. Adults read those books because of the excellent style of writing. I wanted to write a thriller which would have realistic stories, and would have darker shades in it.”
The discussion then veered towards translations and whether the essence of a work is lost in translation. While some audience members said translations don’t always do justice to the original, others said there are good translations too and that if Rabibar is translated well, then it would make for an equally good read in English.
Before the event concluded, Barun was asked of what it was like working with Satyajit Ray. To which he replied: “He is an endless ocean for me.”