Durga Puja 2018: Durga Puja festival is round the corner and preparations have begun in full swing. In Kolkata, the festive mood is prevailing already. As pandal hopping is one of the most unique features of Durga Puja, organisers as usual are leaving no stone unturned to ensure most footfall at their pandals. The Durga Puja festival sees hundreds of colourful pandals installing Goddess Durga in several forms.
Pandals that draw most crowds are usually theme-based. And when it comes to themes, Naktala Udayan Sangha remains the frontrunner in coming up with most interesting themes every year, having earned countless awards over the years.
This year’s theme for Naktala Udayan Sangha Durga Puja is ‘Kaal’, or Time.
Kolkata’s Durga Puja has seen a lot of changes over time. Modern technology has taken over a lot of aspects of the festival that oldtimers want to relive but can’t anymore.
There was a time when Durga Puja meant release of special Puja songs by celebrated artistes. Pandals would reverberate with songs of Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar, Hemanta Mukhopadhyay, Manna De and Asha Bhosle, apart from popular local singers, being played on loudspeakers. Puja songs have long got lost in the cacophony of modern music.
Banking on these sentiments and nostalgia, the Naktala Udayan Sangha is trying to recreate the magic. The group roped in legendary singer Asha Bhosle to record a Puja song. She recorded a song, “Ebar pujoy elam phire Kolkatay“, in Mumbai on September 15.
Not only Asha, but singer Amit Kumar has also recorded a song for Naktala Udayan Sangha this year. And the organisers want to give the two songs to Kolkata’s other puja committees too as a Durga Puja gift.
Naktala Puja Committee general secretary Bappaditya Dasgupta says he is hopeful the song composed by Shiladtya-Raj will bring back memories of Puja songs of the yore. The two songs have been written by Utpal Das and Sriraj Mitra.
“During gramophone era, there used to be songs on both sides of the records. This was what we had in mind when we thought of recording two songs by two artistes,” says Dasgupta.
The Naklata Udayan Sangha’s brand ambassador for Durga Puja 2018 is popular Bengali actor Rituparna Sengupta. Posters and hoardings of Naktala puja featuring Rituparna have flooded the city already.
In 2017, Naktala Udayan Sangha pandal’s theme was ‘Life & Death’. Using lighting techniques, the pandal looked like it was on fire, complete with sound effect. And you could hear heartbeats.
About Naktala Udayan Sangha
Naktala Udayan Sangha is known for its innovative and creative and distinct but simple pandal architecture. Inaugurated in 1950, the Naktala baroari Durga Puja puja in South Kolkata turned niche in 2012 when it introduced theme to its pandal. The butterfly-theme based pandal won several awards, and Naktala Udayan Sangha has continued with the trend.
This year, the Sangha will be spending Rs 60 lakh to Rs 80 lakh, and the pandal will be created by artist Sushanta Pal. It will make contributions towards the CM’s Relief Fund and distribute clothes among needy children as part of social responsibility.