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Emotional connect despite geographical distance adds to Durga puja charm & warmth

Sep 29, 2022

KOLKATA: Durga Puja has turned into a global event with Bengalis, living in different corners of the world, celebrating the festival their own way. 

Though they long for their homes and are drowned in nostalgia of pujas of their childhood, they continue to be part of the celebration—complete with idols, get-togethers, cultural programmes and feasts—in their parts of the world. 

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Priyanka Sarkar in the video.

The Times of India ‘Maa Aaschen Tumi Kothaye’ initiative captivates this feeling of belonging and of reaching out to friends and families who cannot return to Bengal for the annual celebration but are very much part of puja. 

Being together despite the distance is portrayed in the video of ‘Maa Aaschen Tumi Kothaye’ that tells the tale of two friends, who now live in two different cities—Mumbai and Kolkata. 

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Sreenanda Shankar in the video.

Actress Priyanka Sarkar and dancer-actress Sreenanda Shankar depict the roles of the two friends. Scripted by music director, singer, lyricist Anindya Chatterjee, the video talks about how we carry our festivals in our heart wherever we go, much like our loved ones. 

The film begins with the two friends remembering a promise they made each other that they would never spend Durga Puja separately. Promises are made to be broken but the unfaltering bond between the two, separated by geographical distance, remains intact. Continuing with their tradition, they send each other puja gifts—saris and jewellery. One celebrates puja in Lokhandwala and the other in north Kolkata, but in spirit, they are together as they take part in Sandhi Puja, dhunuchi naach and other rituals, wearing each other’s gifts. The film reminds us the autumn sky is the same everywhere, uniting us. 

“While shooting for the film, I was constantly thinking of my best friend, who is now in Kerala. I have innumerable memories of puja from childhood to teenage years with her,” said Sreenanda, adding she liked the film because it’s about the unconditional bond between two friends and portrays how the two of them understood each other’s circumstances despite their old promise. Sreenanda is excited about spending puja in Kolkata. “I have had tours during puja and so I could relate to the emotions portrayed in the video. This year, I will spend the puja with my loved ones at home,” she added. The film is partly shot in Mumbai, where the Bandra Worli Sea Link provides the perfect backdrop for Sreenanda and partly in Kolkata’s Kumartuli, where Priyanka is seen at a bonedi bari of ‘Badan Chandra Roy’. Durga Puja at the old mansion is being observed since 1858. 

Director Pritha Chakraborty, who created the Maa Aaschen video for the third year in a row, said the film was close to her heart. She said she wanted to keep the frames in the two cities similar to portray the connection in the friends’ emotions despite the distance between them. 

The film can be viewed on phireyeshokolkata.com. 

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