What are the reasons that drive the zeal of organizers of Durga Puja in Kolkata like nowhere else? They are the name, the fame, and of course the lure of money. And who doesn’t know that all of those are directly proportional to the number of footfalls and awards won?
Oldtimers may shake their heads in disgust because they never thought Durga Puja in Kolkata would come to such a pass that a community puja would be modeled solely on the basis of a theme. Now what is that, you may wonder!
Well, the likes of Ekdalia Evergreen or College Square may never go for themes, for in any case they draw crowds in large numbers. But what about the pujas, that are tucked away in remote corners of Behala or Dum Dum? Or in some obscure lanes of Nimtala or New Alipore?
For them the lifeblood is theme-based arrangement. And people do like to see them as the recent preferences indicate.
But there is an irony as well. Unless a theme is closely guarded, chance is it will be replicated elsewhere. Which is why it is not strange to find the thememakers and the themes ensconced in complete secrecy lest the plans leak out to larger audience.
So, where are the big names headed this year? Here is a concise list.
Bhabatosh Sutar: 25 Pally, Kidderpore
Amar Sarkar: Darpanarayan Thakur Street, Nimtala
Prosanto Pal: Pradeep Sangha, Lake Town
Dipak Ghosh: Jodhpur Park
Subodh Roy: Suruchi Sangha, New Alipore
There is an addition to this elite list this year. Painter Jogen Chowdhury has consented to be the thememaker for the Selimpur Road Durga Puja that celebrates 25 years this year.
Kolkattans are singularly lucky that there are pujas here that thrive on themes that in turn bring out the creative best from the makers. This is one among many reasons why Kolkata pujas continue to lure visitors from far and wide.