Art & Culture

It’s Pandal Hopping time!

Durga Pujo is here and for the many Bengalis in town, it is pandal hopping time. The almost week long festivity starts this Wednesday

Durga Pujo is here and for the many Bengalis in town, it is pandal hopping time. The almost week long festivity starts this Wednesday and keeping up with the zest the puja committees across the cities have brought down artistes from Kolkata so that Bengalis spending their puja away from their hometown do not feel left out.

It is time for all play and no work. Savoring every other delicacy at the food stalls, being busy with puja work, making tough decisions on what to wear when, bhog distribution, catching up with friends throughout the city, phew the list is long. And when it comes to Bengalis and Pujo, music is synonymous as is the dhaaker-drumbeats. Every year as bands and several artistes from Kolkata flock down to the city, it surely is tough scheduling oneself among the scores of pujas and cultural programmes in the city. No matter what the pujos here gives every Bengali an opportunity to return to his or her roots and celebrate the community’s cultural identity. Mybangalore sums up a few not to be missed cultural programmes during Durga Puja.

Even before the Devi gets to rest feet in her father’s abode, the Ulsoor Pujo at the RBANMS grounds is all set to welcome her with a few renditions by noted Bengali singer Nachiketa Chakraborty. He is attributed with the popularity of 'Jiban Mukhi' songs (taking a close look into the traditional/established values of life) with some songs like 'Nilanjana' topping the charts. On Saptami night, Bengali Association brings to you kids of the Sa Re Ga Ma Lil Champs fame. That evening Kabir Suman is set to take stage at Sun City SORBA pujo on Sarjapur Road. Among Bengali music aficionados he needs no introduction. His contemporary urban, socially conscious songs draw upon both Bengali adhunik (modern) and Western folk and protest music and he boasts of a considerable fan following. This is not the first time he is playing in Bangalore and every time it does remain a treat for the masses. On Ashtami night, Salil Chowdhury’s daughter, Antara Chowdhury performs at Sarathi, Koramangala. Antara is a performing artist and is better known for her nursery rhyme renditions. She is a singer in her own accord and she will be taking us through the world of Salil da this pujo. On Nabami night, the dynamic Lopamudra Mitra will take stage at Sarathi, Koramangala. Her rare blend of poetry and song and a magnificent command in overall rendition, Lopamudra is effortlessly expressionistic in her ways.

Surprisingly, this year Bengali bands are off the list of cultural programmes. But city based Bengali bands are not lagging behind either. Bands like Kohal, Bheeje Mati and PS are all set to enthrall the pandal hoppers. Bangla Band music, is in keeping with this character of Bengali culture and not merely an act of 'aping the West'. It has more to do with asserting changed identity, perhaps, rather than simplistic "aping of an alien culture". A sub-culture that sprang up in the mid-Nineties, after its first aborted spurt in the Seventies, Bangla bands are a name to reckon with in the Indian rock music scene today.

As the sound of tolling brass bell and mantras render the air coupled with dhak-dhol, men clad in crisp silk kurtas and dhotis, and the women in colourful saris will be flocking to the pandals. It is time for food, fun and frolic. It is Pujo after all!  


23rd September : Ulsoor : Nachiketa

23rd September : Suncity -SORBA pujo : P.S.

25th September  : Sarathi : Kohal

25th September : Ulsoor: Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Lil Champs

25th September : Sun City, Sarjapur Road : Kabir Suman

26th September : Ulsoor : Bheeje mati - yet to be confirmed

26th September : Sarathi : Antara

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