Volume 6 | Issue 21| November 10, 2012|


   Celebrating Life    Special Issue
   Lifetime Achievement    Winner
   Photography Contest    Winner
   Lyrics Contest    Winner

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Celebrating Life Special Issue

Celebrating Life 2012 Gala Night:
An Evening of Titans and Talents

On the 2nd day of November Celebrating Life hosted its fifth Gala Night. It was an event that shook the Capital. Contestants from different from Dhaka and various districts were on their eager feet to know if they were amongst the lucky winners. And, there was the added spice of Bangaldeshi song-bird Sabina Yasmin performing. Moreover, the classical music lovers gathered around Shaheed Suhrawardy Indoor Stadium well before the event could begin. It felt like the venue would erupt of excitement and energy. The young talents were there to receive their well deserved awards along the titans of music photography and film. It was an evening that will be remembered by many.

Zia Nazmul Islam

On a glorious Friday evening of November the 2nd, it was all set to have another festival just a week after the Eid. Dhaka wasn't not in its usual mode of heavy traffic and humidity. It like Dhaka was ready for the day – there was nothing that could dampen the spirit of the Event.

It was an eagerly awaited event, where thousands of participants wanted to know if they were amongst the winners. July 30th was the last date to submit their creative work to be judged by veterans of each field. Finally, there were six winners from the lyrics contest and 12 from the Photography contest – another 12 were nominated for exhibition.

There were torrents of submission from eager participants. The number of participants is growing by the hundreds each year, proving the increasing popularity of the contest. There is no doubt that, currently in Bangladesh there is no other competition that celebrates the upcoming youth talents of Bangladesh so rigorously.

Chief guest with the organizers opening the Photo Exhibition
From Left to Right: Standard Chartered acting CEO - Imtiaz Ibne Sattar, Mrs. McCabe, Abul Kalam Azad - Honourable Minter of Cultural Affairs, Mahfuz Anam - Editor & Publisher of The Daily Star

Since 2008, The Daily Star with the support from Standard Chartered Bank is organizing one of the most exciting events in Bangladesh, Celebrating Life. It is a competition inviting films, photographs and lyrics entries that showcase various aspects of life in Bangladesh. Organized jointly by Star Insight Magazine of The Daily Star and Standard Chartered Bank, this initiative is our attempt to provide participants with a massive platform for creative expression.

To creatively explore a subject, each year, a theme is given to the participants. 2012 was about 'Celebrating the Youth of Bangladesh'. Bangladesh is a young nation, in terms of both its age and its population. Therefore, the theme was rightfully chosen at a right time. With 74% of the country's population below the age of 30, the youth of Bangladesh is the country's biggest asset. On one hand they are impressionable, on the other they are powerhouses of potential energy. Their views and opinions will undoubtedly have a significant impact in shaping the future of Bangladesh.

Since its inception, the contest has grown enormously in terms of number of participants, number of entries and it has grown far more diverse. Celebrating Life 2012 will be even bigger, reaching hundreds of thousands of more people, as the organizers have planned grander events throughout the year to showcase previous and this year's winning entries. In the spirit of patronizing quality of production over the total number, the organizers had raised the prize money in all three areas significantly for 2011, and the awards will be no less prestigious or rewarding in Celebrating Life 2012 - totaling in over seven and a half lac takas. Over a dozen more will receive 'Honourable Mention' awards, along with crests and certificates. Winners will be announced at the Award Giving Gala Ceremony by the end of September 2012.

Sabina Yasmin singing with Celebrating Life 2012 winning lyrics

Before the day of the event (Thursday) there was a sudden urgency to collect invitation cards. Although, the cards were being handed over to the eager audience two weeks before the event. The eagerness was shown not only from the participants but from music, film and Photography lovers. And there were the fans of classical music lovers.

Renowned classical vocalists Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty and his daughter Kaushiki Desikan were the added attraction. Equally popular, Bangladeshi singing sensation Sabina Yasmin was there too. Sabina Yasmin opened the event with a song from the 2012 winning lyric by Ripa Sarker.

Mr. Abul Kalam Azad, the honorable minister of Cultural Affairs was the chief guest. He along with The Daily Star Editor & Publisher Mahfuz Anam and Standard Chartered Acting CEO Mr. Imtiaz Ibne Sattar opened the event by cutting ribbon for the photo exhibition that was on display outside the main venue.

By then the law enforcement officers were having hard time controlling the torrents of eager audience wanting to enter the venue. Many with invitation cards were waiting outside to get a chance get past the main gate.

Diva of Bangladeshi music Sabina Yasmin with MC Afzal Hossain

Exactly at 6:30 pm, Sabina Yasmin appeared on the stage with sweet melodious voice dazzling the audience by singing a song of the 2012 winning lyric by Ripa Sarker. Behind her, was the group-dance by Shadhona group. She had set the scene in way that it seemed like it would be hard to follow by anyone else.

Renowned actor Afzal Hossain was Master of Ceremony, who took the stage and had brief chat with the 'song-bird' Sabina Yasmin.

Afzal welcomed on the stage Mahfuz Anam and Minister Abul Kalam Azad for their brief inspirational speech to the participants and the heartfelt congratulations to award winners.

The four veterans of our creative industry were presented with 'Lifetime Achievement Award'. Firoza Begum for Nazrul Sangeet, Abdur Razzak for film, Amanul Haque for photography and Ferdausi begum for Playback singing honored for their contribution to their respective fields. Unfortunately, Nayok Raj Razzak was unable to attend the event due to his prior engagements abroad. On an on-screen biopic, he congratulated the winners and thanked the organizers.

2012 Celebrating Life Lifetime Achievement winners; from left to right- Amanul Haque in Photography, Ferdausi Rahman in music and Firoza Begum in Nazrul Sangeet. Nayok Razzak also received the award for Film, but was abroad. Faridur Reza Sagor accepted the award on his behalf.

It was the moment of truth for the participants. One-by-one Afzal Hossain called on the stage the winners of lyrics and photography contests. There were 12 winners from photography and 6 from the lyrics contest. Unfortunately, this year too, there were not any standard film entries to be considered for the award. Therefore, Celebrating Life is organizing the 2nd 'Film Making Workshop' for brewing the next young talented film makers.

A short promo video was screened to showcase the films produced last year by the film making workshop participants. Seeing the promo, the audience wanted to watch the full films. The films will be screened more in different places around the country.

After another dance routine by Shadhona Dance group, the next part of the event was the mesmerizing performance by Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty and his daughter Kaushiki Desikan. The audience was in stun silence while the duo singing. It was the first time in Bangladesh that father daughter duo preformed a duet.

The event was more than what was anticipated. The gallery was full and the participants were pleased the best ones among them win. What else is there to ask for!

Photographs by The Daily Star


Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty

Dhaka music connoisseurs were enthusiastically waiting at the entrance of Shaheed Suhrawardy National Indoor Stadium, Mirpur on November 2 as the renowned classical music maestro Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty was all set to perform at the gala ceremony of fifth “Celebrating Life”, a Standard Chartered Bank-The Daily Star tie up to award talents in the sphere of photography, lyrics and film. This year's theme was “Celebrating Youth of Bangladesh.”

Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty's sublime style of rendition has won him legions of disciples and ardent fans around the globe. Perfect diction, clarity in sur (musical notes) and gayaki (creative musical progression), command over all aspects of laya and rhythm, and an unmistakable interplay between notes and words to evoke the desired mood and emotions have created the hallmark of Pandit Chakrabarty's music.

The senior ITC-SRA scholar termed Bangladesh as the holy and opulent place of folk music, the root of classical music. Presenting a folk song "O Bish-er Banshirey, O Pora Banshirey, Ghar-er Bahir Korlirey Tui Amarey", the maestro later expounded on its resemblance with the performed folk genre with sargam.

Sandip Ghosh on tabla, Gourab Chatterjee on harmonium and Bangladeshi artistes --Haimanti Julio and Ovi Priyo on tanpura accompanied the entire performance.

Zahangir Alom


Kaushiki Desikan

Kaushiki Desikan is an accomplished Hindustani classical music vocalist who was born in 1980 in Kolkata, India. She is the daughter of Chandana Chakraborty and the legendary Indian classical music maestro Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty. At the age of seven, she started learning Indian classical music at the academy of Pandit Jnan Prakash Ghosh, later joining ITC Sangeet Research Academy.

In 2002, she graduated from the Jogamaya Devi College, an affiliated undergraduate women's college of the University of Calcutta, in Kolkata with a first degree in philosophy.

Kaushiki has participated in many major concerts, including the Dover Lane Music Conference, the ITC Sangeet Sammelan in India, the Spring Festival of Music (California, USA), and Parampara Program (Los Angeles, USA). She is married to Partha Desikan.tanpura accompanied the entire performance.

Zahangir Alom

A Dance routine by Shadhona Group

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