Durga Puja Celebration in Tollywood and Bollywood movies
Sudden squall is frustrating; still we can sense the festive flavor and fervor in the air. When the sky is not covered with thick blanket of cloud, we have the shower of sun drops over the City of Joy, Kolkata. The tattered clouds sail peacefully on the hanging blue ocean and very mood of festivity is hard to miss. Nobody needs to remind that our beloved Durga puja is just at the door.
Durga puja is the much awaited festival in Bengal. It has a heavy impact on monotonous tone of our real life and is a subject of greater interest on reel life too. For a good number of Indian cinemas from Pather Panchali to Kahani, Durgapuja has been a favorite subject for the Indian classics on celluloid. The director maestros either weaved the plot around this festival or just used a slice of it to lend a new treatment.
Remember the celluloid portrayal of Pather Panchali by celebrity Indian director Satyajit Ray? The festival brought colors in the bleak life of Durga and Apu who were born and brought up in poverty without their being very much aware of this reality in true essence. They were happy with their life and looked forward to the coming of Devi Ma for more enjoyment in their routine-bound going. Ray’s brilliant craftsmanship finely balanced the celebration and irony of fate (death of Durga) in the celluloid adoption of the Bengali classic novel by the same name.
In Devi, Ray used Durga Puja to unveil the prevalent superstition among the illiterate and even the educated people. Ray voiced his strong condemnation against such practices through the protagonist of the movie, played by Soumitra Chatterjee. In Jai Baba Felunath, we see the Durga idol at the very heart of the entire story and mystery that baffled even Feluda, played by Soumitra Chatterjee.
In modern time, famous Bengali Director Rituparno Ghosh made two of his films Utsav and Antarmahal on the background of Durga festival. In Utsav, the large joint family shakes off their differences, animosity and layered complexities of urban life temporarily only to come closer for harmony and bonhomie. Antarmahal had all the makings of sparking off controversy as Rituparno Ghosh used Durga idol to represent sex, seduction and sensuality of women.
In Parineeta, the director Pradip Sarkar excellently captured the moment of dhunuchi naach (a traditional dance with small hot earthen pot in hand) on 72mm screen. The union of two lovers was also finely captured with rhythm of rituals streaming in. In Aparna Sen’s Paroma, Rakhee looked her best in ethnic attire red saree while offering puja to Devi. It was the same scene where Rakhee was spotted by the ace photographer with whom she got involved in a steamy extramarital affair.
Durga Puja was used as the backdrop of several Hindi Movies from Barsat ki Raat (Hindi version of Bengali movie Anusandhan), Devdas to a more recent blockbuster Kahani. In Kahani, sindoor khela, a ritual for the married women brilliantly comes alive on screen. Worth to notice that while the possession is going on for the idol immersion, Vidya, the central character in the movie incarnates the mythological goodness of goddess to destroy the demon and to demonstrate how the good always triumphs over the evil. The victory of good and destruction of evil are also portrayed, though in a different way in Devipaksha by Raja Sen.