Hundred years after the first Bengali film Bilwamangal was made, a Durga Puja pandal in Ghaziabad’s Indirapuram promises to take its visitors down the memory lane with hand-painted photographs and 3D flexes of some of the best-known faces from Bengali cinema.
From the iconic scene featuring Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen singing Ei path jadi na sesh hoi and riding a BMW bike in the movie Saptapadi to Satyajit Ray’s landmark debut movie Pather Panchali, Prantic Cultural Society’s ‘Bengal Talkies’ is attracting maximum eyeballs with visitors coming from all over Delhi-NCR.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, Niladree Deb Chowdhury, Vice President, Prantik Cultural Society said, “This is our eleventh year since the society started setting up pandals during the Durga Puja. From 2016, we started getting artists and raw material from Kolkata to enhance our pandal’s authenticity. Our objective was to bring the unique art of pandal making from Kolkata for the people of Delhi-NCR”.
The pandal, which looks like an old cineplex building from outside, has been created by a Kolkata-based artist Taposh Maity and his team comprising of nearly 20 artisans.
Chowdhury said that the artisans from Kolkata worked day and night for about a month and a half to complete the pandal on Shipra Mall Grounds, beside the NH24 underpass in Indirapuram.
Apart from flexes of Utpal Dutt, Simi Garewal, Rituparna Ghosh, Aparna Sen and many other artistes, an original 16-mm projector has also been kept on display to give an antique look to the entire setup.
“Capturing 100 years of Bengali cinema within this frame and scale is difficult but our artist Taposh Maity has done an excellent job,” Joyesh Sinha, General Secretary of Prantic Cultural Society said.
“Taposh and his team created a 3-D effect by putting the background painting first and then putting the cut-outs in the foreground with a gap. When lit, it gives some kind of surreal effect bringing out the actors as if they are part of the whole frame here,” Sinha added.
While going through the hand-painted movie posters of Bengali movies, pictures of directors, music directors, playback singers and actors, visitors will also be explained the whole history of Bengali cinema in a 14-minute voiceover. This will be played on loop every evening.
“I have been visiting the pandal of this society since they won the first prize amongst pandals of Delhi-NCR. They are known to bring Kolkata’s authenticity here,” a visitor Shubha Banerjee said.
Like every year, the society has kept the pandal environment-friendly and has gone green by eliminating single-use plastic and using biodegradable material instead.
“This has increased costs for us but it is good for everyone in the longer run. We hope to continue this in the coming years as well,” Chowdhury told.