Durga Puja 2018 Special: Celebrities and actors in Bengal share their festive plans
Some work, some play, some eat, some laze around, some sleep in the car at night and yet some others do all the above. As the Pujas come knocking on our doors, Indulge asks a few Bengali movie stars, filmmakers and celebrities how they will be spending the five days. Excerpts.
Dona Ganguly (Odissi dancer) and Sourav Ganguly (former Indian cricket captain): Usually Maharaj (Sourav Ganguly) and I stay back at home, offer Pushpanjali to the Goddess and have a good time with relatives who pour in. Most of the times we go to our local Puja pandal, Barisha Sporting Club, but at times when Sana and I feel bored we accompany Sourav to some of the Puja invites that he gets. Besides, it’s also the time to buy new clothes for near and dear ones and eat good food. Mainly it’s vegetarian on Ashtami and Tuesdays, but on Navami we have non vegetarian dishes.
Prosenjit Chatterjee, filmmaker, actor, producer:
For the past seven-eight years now, most of the Durga Puja days are just spent gathering information about how my films are faring in the Box Office. Since morning phone calls keep pouring regarding the collections and how my fans and audience are reacting to my movies. Amidst all this, the days just slip away even before I can realise. But even then, I try to remain at home and enjoy with close friends and family, since it’s also the time to catch up with your close ones.
Shoojit Sircar, Bollywood filmmaker, producer:
I am going to spend my Puja with my wife and daughters, they are my Durgas. I don’t go for too many pandal hopping, but will drive my family around to a few pandals. I wish all the Indulge readers a happy Puja, too.
Shiboprosad Mukherjee, filmmaker, actor, producer:
Monojder Odbhut Bari, my second movie as a producer will be released this Puja and since Anindya Chatterjee, the director of the film will be in the US during the Pujas, I have to take charge as the captain of the ship and go for hall visits and other associated things. In fact, it is the only Puja release that can be watched with children. Besides, I will also be busy with finalising the script of my next film, which will go on floors from end November. I am not much of a pandal hopper, but one can find me in the Tridhara Sammilani or Naktala Udayan Sangha pandals, where I usually hang around with my friends. My prayers this year? I hope like all other films of ours, the audience likes Monojder Odbhut Bari.
Srijit Mukherji, filmmaker, producer:
My Puja days will be spent promoting my Puja release, Ek Je Chhilo Raja, an epic court room drama based on Bhawal Sanyasi’s life and times. And promotions during the Pujas are a part of my life for the past nine-ten years, now. But I never let anything come in the way of pandal hopping. I love to go around hopping pandals till well past midnight with friends and have an extendedadda with close ones over good food during the Pujas.
Ananya Chatterjee, actor:
It’s the time to have fun, wear new clothes, it’s time for the eternal sounds of dhaak (drums). But Pujas is also about women empowerment and Stree Shakti. So, apart from all the revelry, I will also take out time and deliberate on how strong I have emerged as a woman.
Jaya Ahsan, actor:
This year I will be a bit tensed since my production house C For Cinema’s first film, Debi, will be released around this time in Bangladesh. The film’s story is based on Humayun Ahmed’s eponymous novel and I will be playing Ranu to Chanchal Chowdhury’s Misir Ali. So, most of my days will be spent promoting the film and checking collections and audience feedback.
Churni Ganguly, filmmaker, actor:
It’s always family time during the Pujas. Many Bengali films will be releasing during the Puja’s including my husband’s (Kaushik Ganguly) Kishore Kumar Junior. I plan to watch them. I never work during the five days of Puja. If Kishore Kumar Junior works well in the Box Office, that will be another good reason to celebrate. I never wish anything from God as such, but if I were to wish I would wish for a fine balance that is essential to the smooth functioning of any society and may we derive strength to fight against all odds. Let peace reign supreme.
Aparajita Auddy, actor:
My family is a religious one and all the year round many pujas take place are held in our home. So you well imagine what happens during the Durga Pujas. I had to buy another flat adjacent to ours to accommodate all our relatives. During the five days we have great fun and I get no respite from pandal hopping. Though I don’t get out of the car, I have to stay at the car as my family hops from one pandal to the other (laughs).
Tanusree Chakraborty, actor:
These four days I forget that I am a celeb or an actor. The first couple of days before the Pujas formally begin on October 15, I go for some pandal inaugurations and I am also one of the committees, which judge Pujas. I love that since I get to see almost all the pandals in Kolkata, which otherwise wouldn’t have been possible. Nusrat (Jahan) and I also cook a lot of food at home and have great fun together.
Nusrat Jahan, actor:
All year round we wait with bated breath and make plans for the four days, but believe me, in the end nothing gets executed as per plans and we go with the flow. Mostly, I will be chilling with my actor friends Tanushree, Mimi Chakraborty and others all five days of the Puja. We go mad eating, especially street food. I love the roadside chowmein with the onions and cucumbers on top of them and chicken and egg rolls. That’s also nostalgic for me, since as a child when I used to go for pandal hopping with dad whole night, we used to eat all those foods.
Abir Chatterjee, actor: As a judge I get to see some of the best pandals and so, for the rest of the Puja, I prefer to stay at home and relax with friends and family. My little daughter loves to go out with my wife, Nandini and my parents. We don’t eat out that much during the Pujas. For us, it’s a time to bond with friends and family. I wish everyone a very happy Puja and I hope, everyone will like our Byomkesh Gowtro this Puja.
Arindam Sil, filmmaker: This year, Byomkesh Gowtro (Sil’s film) will have a Puja release. It’s our gift to all our Bengali moviegoers. I hope everyone will like the movie. During the Puajs, I will be in my residential complex, Urbana, since I play a major role in organising the Puja there. We all have loads of fun together. There is nothing special that I eat during the Pujas, but I prefer to have bhog with everyone. I do not go for pandal hopping but get to see all the best pandals by the virtue of being a judge in the various Puja competitions.
Anjan Dutt, filmmaker, actor, musician:
I usually stay at home and don’t venture out much. But since I sing, there are a lot of concerts during this time and I have to tour extensively. This year, I have shows in Delhi, Bangalore, Dubai and Pune. Also, Ek Je Chilo Raja and Byomkesh Gotro, where I have acted, will be releasing during the Pujas.
Anirban Bhattacharya, actor:
I will be in Midnapore, my home town, for the five days and eat lip smacking food prepared by my mother. My favourites are bhaat (rice), daal (pulses), aloo posto (potato cooked with poppy seeds) and maach bhaja (fried fish). Meeting old friends and neighbours and celebrat
Jisshu Sengupta, actor: For the five days I am stationed at the pandal in my old neighbourhood in Lake Terrace and celebrate Durga Puja with my family and friends. We all have bhog together and have a great time being together. I am not much of a pandal hopper and prefer catching up with old friend and having a good adda (chat).