Poking fun at oneself is a risky business, but it has been known to disarm detractors. Poking fun at the entire community, though, is a much riskier proposition. However, singer-songwriter Sawan Dutta has done just that, and Bengalis are simply lapping up her "Macher Jhol" which is going viral on social media.
"Singer-songwriter" is just a small portion of what Dutta, a former member of the band Indian Ocean, does. Her repertoire extends far beyond these two roles, and not without reason! The talent she packs is evident from the latest post on her vlog, which is called Metronome.
The true-blue Bengali macher jhol is not just fish curry, but soul food, a staple and chicken soup for the Bengali soul, all rolled into one. Fish being a quintessential source of protein in Bengal, it is considered as much vegetarian as a vegetable, and Dutta does a good job of presenting this simple yet elegant dish in a manner that it makes her video delectable as well.
Singing in "Banglish" — a portmanteau of Bangla and English, where words of one language are interspersed with words from another — Dutta does a delicious job of both explaining the recipe and extolling the virtues of the dish. And Bengalis around the world can't seem to get enough, be it her video, her make-believe neku pushu [overtly effeminate] attitude or her pouty lips, which this correspondent has heard being described as resembling those of a "katla mach" — a carp.
Watch the video here:
Who is Sawan Dutta?
An architect by education, Dutta has been part of the audio-visual industry for quite some time. Having started off as a singer and instrumentalist, she has since graduated to various media, even composing jingles for the likes of KFC, UNICEF, Mastercard, Samsung, Nestle and Maruti Suzuki.
However, she is probably best recognised as the keyboard-player in the first three concerts the band Indian Ocean played, something the band-members have also acknowledged. She has also composed music for films, TV programmes and even channel IDs. She also has a number of albums to her credit.
The choir-ish tone of the song could well be a result of Dutta's stint as both a soprano and a soloist in choirs like the Capital City Minstrels.