From a music programme that traced 100 years of Bollywood and Odissi performances to bauls and Bengali drama – the festive fervour for Durga Puja in Chennai matched the native Kolu fiesta in all its pomp and splendour. But it was not just the Bengalis who were in for a cultural treat.
Thirty-five-year-old South Madras Cultural Association (SMCA) saw a footfall of over 15,000 during the celebration this year. On Saptami (the seventh day), the association had an Odissi dance programme by Chennai-based Konark Dance Academy interspersed with the holy chants and live orchestra. The show was followed by Gotipua, a native dance of Odisha performed by boys, by a group from the State.
The T Nagar Bengal Association staged a show comprising baul singers from Kolkata. Anjan Prasad Chakraborty, president of the association said, “We had a line-up of cultural programmes every day from Shashthi (sixth day). Since it is the 100th year of Bollywood, we also had a show that covered the journey from the fifties till the present.” Chakraborty added that the celebrations this year saw around 25,000 visitors.
Roping in purohits from Kolkata, Dakshini Society involved its members in the city for all its cultural programmes. Abhijit Sett, president of the society said that while they ensured that the celebrations had an ethnic flavour, the programmes were an attempt to nurture the talent of the members. “Since we are in Chennai, we chose to make Dadar Kriti, a popular Bengali film, with characters from Chennai,” he added.
However, Durga Puja was not without a social cause for the associations. Sudip Mitra, secretary of SMCA added that the ultimate aim of the association was always to give back to the society. “Whatever sponsors or donations we get during the puja is given to the society,” he added.
Every year Durga Puja is celebrated with a different element exclusive for that year, said Chakraborty, adding that the immersion would take place at Palavakkam beach on Monday evening.