For many Kolkata celebs, home is where Durga Puja is

By Pradipta Tapadar, IANS
Monday, October 11, 2010

KOLKATA - Most people in Kolkata love to go hopping from marquee to marquee to witness Durga Puja festivities. But for Bengali celebrities like Ananya Chatterjee, Ranjit Mullick and Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay, it is the time to catch up with family and celebrate at home.

With the five-day festival beginning Wednesday, National Award winning actress Ananya Chatterjee will stay put in the city to soak up the festive mood. Giant ‘pandals’ or marquees have come up where idols of the goddess and her four children will be worshipped amid much community fanfare and celebration.

“I will be in Kolkata. I will stay at home and spend time with my family and friends. I won’t even go pandal hopping,” Ananya, who won the national honour for her performance in Rituparno Ghosh’s “Abohoman”, told IANS over phone.

Pandal hopping is a popular activity during the festival as people love to see the artistic decorations and idols, leading to massive crowds. Kolkata police sources said the puja will be celebrated at more than 3,000 venues.

Renowned actor Ranjit Mullick, who gave hits like “Mouchak”, “Devi Chaudharani”, “Raag Anuraag” and “Sayang Siddha”, is kicked up about celebrations.

“We organise Durga Puja in our house and during the five days I stay at home because relatives and friends come and we have a grand get-together. We enjoy a lot. During puja, relatives from abroad also come down to Kolkata and stay at our house to celebrate,” said the 66-year-old.

Renowned actor Soumitro Chatterjee said: “I will be in Kolkata only during Pujas and I will stay at home.”

Kolkata is abuzz with the festive spirit and people from different parts of the country and abroad come down to taste the cultural and religious gala.

“I will stay in Kolkata during the puja. I have to judge a few Durga Pujas and have some other work too. But I will spend some time with family and friends. After puja gets over, I will go out of Kolkata for a few days,” said Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay, a renowned writer.

Celebrities are often roped in to judge award functions like the best Durga Puja, best pandal, best electrical lighting and best decoration. These activities are organised by various local clubs and groups.

Actress Paoli Dam said: “I will stay in Kolkata during Durga Puja. I will be busy with my shooting but I also have to judge a few Durga Pujas. Amid my busy schedule I have plans to offer prayers to the goddess on ashtami.

“I have kept the ashtami and navami evenings free for my family,” said the actress who made it big in filmdom with her performance in director Gautam Ghose’s 2009 film “Kaalbela”.

Celebrities who will have to stay away from the city say they will make it a point to come back on the last day at least. It is on Dashami that the idols of the goddess and her children are immersed in waterbodies in a symbolic farewell.

“Till navami I will stay out of Kolkata. I have some outstation shows. But on Bijoya Dashami I will be back in town and spend time with my family,” said percussionist Bikram Ghosh.

Said a wistful Raima Sen said: “I will be out of station during puja and will return after Bijoya Dashmai. I will miss Durga Puja in Kolkata…”

(Pradipta Tapadar can be contacted at

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