Durga Puja 2018: It is the time of the year when the skies are flecked with cotton candy clouds, the fragrance of shiuli flowers hangs heavy in the air, and the familiar beats of the dhak announce Durga’s arrival into our homes and hearts. It is the time to dress up in new clothes and go pandal-hopping till the wee hours of the morning. It is the time to celebrate the victory of good over evil and worship goddess Durga in a five-day-long festival. To add to the excitement, it is also springtime for cinegoers. We take a look at some films which had Durga Puja weaved into the narrative.

While there have been limited depiction of the festival in Hindi films, in Bengali films the festival has played an integral part in several films including many of Satyajit Ray’s films. In Pather Panchali, the festival brought colours in the bleak life of Durga and Apu who were born and brought up in poverty.

From Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali and Joy Baba Felunath, Shakti Samanta’s Amar Prem, Aparna Sen’s Paroma, Pradeep Sarkar’s Parineeta to Rituparno Ghosh’s Utsab and Antarmahal, Durga Puja has enticed directors in Bollywood and Tollywood alike.

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Sujoy Ghosh’s Kahaani is one such film that took the country by storm. By his own admission, Sujoy conceived the plot of Kahaani keeping Ma Durga in mind. No wonder director Sandip Ray is all praise for Sujoy. He said, “Pather Panchali and Joy Baba Felunath are landmarks. But among contemporary films, the way Sujoy has blended the Durga Puja scene with the plot is worth a mention.”

From Antarmahal, that had Abhishek Bachchan using the idol to depict the sensuality of the female form to Hirer Angti dealing with a missing ring in a household during Pujas, filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh’s love for divinity cannot be missed. Reminiscing her stint in Ghosh’s Utsaband Raja Sen’s Devipaksha, actor Rituparna pointed out, “Durga Puja has played very significant roles in two of my films Utsab and Devipaksha. The festival celebrates womanhood and power. Whenever Puja is depicted in films, it brings forth a new dimension of Ma Durga.”

Durga Puja 2018 releases, Puja 2018 releases, Puja releases, Byomkesh Gowtro, Manojder Advut Bari
Durga Puja had been part of the main plot for Rituparno Ghosh’s film Antarmahal and Sujoy Ghosh’s Kahaani

 

Talking about music, how can we forget Dev and Subhasree’s hit song Dhaker tale komor dole from Ravi Kinagi’s Poran Jaye Jolia Re? With Durga Puja as its backdrop, the song became an anthem of sorts for the young. We did not expect it to become such a rage. Only when Durga Puja is properly incorporated in the story and presented in an effective manner, it grabs eyeballs, most directors believe. As many as six films are going to hit the theatres during the Durga Puja this year.

Srijit Mukherji’s Ek Je Chilo Raja starring Jisshu Sengupta, and Byomkesh Gowtro which has Abir Chatterjee in the titular role, deserve special mention.

Apart from these films, Abir has another film in the queue, Anindya Chatterjee’s Manojder Advut Bariwhich is slated for a Puja release. To double the excitement, Kaushik Ganguly’s Kishore Kumar Junior featuring none other than Prosenjit Chatterjee and Dev’s comedy venture Hoichoi Unlimited are also locked for Durga Puja release this year.

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The musical drama Kishore Kumar Junior narrates the story of a ‘Kishore Kanthi’ (one who sings and performs popular hits of Kishore Kumar), and many believe it draws inspiration from popular singer Goutam Ghosh’s life. As per the narrative, a singer from middle-class backdrop is proud of his present status and creates a museum of photos, news clips and cassettes, audio cds of Kishore Kumar at his home. The interesting part, as per sneak-peek of the trailer, is the father-son duo. The latter cannot understand his passion, and hence feels embarrassed to speak about his father just because he imitates someone else’s voice.

An Indo-Pak layer into the narrative along with the mesmerising rendering of some of the evergreen Kishore Kumar songs by Kumar Sanu will surely entice audience of all age-groups. Ek Je Chilo Raja is based on the Bhawal case of 1921, a 16-year-long court case about the mysterious return of Ramendra Narayan Ray, the second prince of the Bhawal estate, 12 years after his supposed death. Ray had been declared dead in 1909.

In 1921, a holy man resembling the dead prince arrived at the estate, sparking off rumours that the prince had indeed returned. As per trailer inputs, an overwhelming aura of a lost, decaying heritage of a oncegrand kingdom is conjured up so engagingly. Manojder Advut Bari is a comedy drama, based on the same name novel of Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay.

This is a story of a crazy joint family living in a house in small town. Manoj with elder siblings Saroj and Putul go through a bizarre adventure. Durga Puja sans a thrilling, pulsating movie is practically bland.

Keeping this ‘mantra’ in mind and following the successful track record of all his recent Byomkesh flicks, Arindam Sil announced Byomkesh Gowtro to be a Puja release. It is touted by many as the most appalling and complex of all the Byomkesh tales.

Durga Puja is coming with a lot of offerings to make it a festival of celebration and joy. A bouquet of films will surely cater to the tastes of all cinegoers: “swift! spring to your places”…

(The author is Associate Professor of English, Munshi Premchand Mahavidyalaya, Siliguri)