Singer Gainsbourg's house: Provocative, philosophic entertainment

French performing arts fascinate Sen. Century after century, music, theatre and drama were patronized by French Kings. In the 17th century came Molière who employed most of the traditional forms of French comedy, but invented a new style based on a double vision of normal and abnormal seen in relation to each other.

He would visualize a situation by animating and dramatizing it, so a comedy of the true was opposed to the false, the intelligent was seen alongside the obscure. The freshness Moliere’s vision, his provocative theatrical drama which incorporated both sides of the story has since influenced French songwriting, songs, theatre, mime, stand-up comedy and cinema. This profound culture which can swing from poetry to vulgarity to outstanding romanticism is reflected in all contemporary French performing artists. 

Serge Gainsbourg was one of them. A prolific songwriter and singer, he brought very French style provocation from sex to anti racism to love to social rupture, and French people adored that. In a 1980s TV programme with Whitney Houston in Paris he said, “I want to fuck you” in a very innocent way. The singer was indeed surprised, but excused him as his freedom of artistic outburst. From sophisticated literature to basic slang, he could convey outstanding poetry and singing style, creating a very new style of French songs. Sen is a big fan of Gainsbourg.


When India was partitioned 1947 to create Pakistan, a new country for Muslims, about 20 million people of Bengal and Punjab were displaced and brutally victimized. Sen’s wealthy, literate family had huge landed property in erstwhile East Bengal, the present Bangladesh, which was carved out to be East Pakistan for Muslims. So for being Hindus Sen’s family was overnight evicted from their home. Without taking any possessions, they fled for their lives amidst people warring over religion, and so became squatted refugees in West Bengal.