Kolkata Soundscapes

Conversations and Interviews

Conversation with Rahul

Rahul studying post graduation in Bangla Literature in Jadavpur University comes from a village in Burdwan located over 100 km from Kolkata. He is completely blind and depends on his aural and other senses to travel in Kolkata. For him, Kolkata is a picture made of multifarious sounds, smells and touches, a map chiefly defined by sounds. 

English transcription

Conversation with Manas Pal

Mr Manas Pal, aged about 44, works as a mechanic in the on-going Metro Rail project in the Eastern Bypass. He comes from a village in Howrah district. He now resides in a rented flat at Salt Lake sharing it with his coworkers. We interviewed him in the casting yard located in Salt Lake where gigantic concrete structures were being made.He talked amidst loud machine sounds about his experiences of city sounds including shrill and deafening sounds of sandblasting and metal tearing of his work-sites. He also recollects rural sounds of his own village as a backdrop of his encounter of city sounds.

English transcription

Conversation with Md. Akram and Irfan

Md. Akram and Irfan have come to Kolkata from Bihar, an adjacent state of West Bengal, situated over 600 km. away from Kolkata. They are two members of a fixed group who migrate to different parts of the country whenever they are called for doing heavy menial jobs. We met them in the casting yard of Kolkata Metro Rail project in Salt Lake. They were then shifting a heavy structure manually chanting rhythmic ‘bols‘ intermittently to enhance their physical power. About such rhythmic chants which helped them to maximize their muscular strength they told us a strange story of its origin.

English transcription

Conversation with Basudev Banerjee and Subir 

Basudev Banerjee and Subir talk about their not-so-common profession as a ‘Horbola’, who mimic sounds as performers. They listen to sounds in order to grasp them and reproduce them in their performances. The sounds often form small stories that they tell to their audience. In the early days of radio and films, ‘Harbolas’ played important roles to provide background sound ambiences, but now this profession is facing challenges from technology and an indifferent society.

English transcription

Interview of Shri Hiren Mullick

Hiren Mullick is a trustee of Marble Palace, a historic residence in North Calcutta. She Mullick has also, for years worked o the history of sound and its effects on the daily lives of citizens. He has regularly participated in radio dramas and voice productions and has a history of effectively engaging with different forms of audio. Apart from his usual duties as trustee, he maintains a beautiful heritage museum, a private zoo and, lush gardens in and around his residence. A part of the old Calcutta elite, Shri Mullick also has interests in music and reading.  


Interview with Arun Nag



Interview with Professor Pratap Bandyopadhyay