The Times of India

Culture brings home the flavour of Puja season in Chennai

CHENNAI: What is a Bengali gathering without some intellectual exercise, and what better time to showcase talent other than the few days of Durga puja festivity. Months before the dhak (drum) beats herald the arrival of goddess Durga, Bengalis across the city gear up to hone their skills in dance, music and theatre.

True to this ritual, members of Bengali associations come together to spot their in-house talent and pool in resources to put up a music, drama and drama performance. “Culture is an indelible part of our being and defines us. So we ensure that these four days is as much about food, rituals, and new clothes as it is promoting talent,” says Ardhendu Chakraborty of Dakshin Chennai Prabasi Cultural Association on Old Mahabalipuram Road. In its second year, the new puja on the block is trying to capture the cosmopolitan flavour of the celebrations in the city by inviting an amateur Tamil band on Tuesday, Chennai vocalists Jaya Rajagopalan and Pramod Nair on Wednesday apart from a traditional Odissi performance and Bengali plays scripted, directed and acted by the members. “Since many of the members are Tamil and Punjabi who also take part in the celebrations, we want the programmes to have a variety that represents our diversity,” says Chakraborty.

The star performer for the Bengalis in the city this time would be Bratati Bandyopadhyay, the famous elocutionist from Kolkata, who would be reciting poems from her album ‘Ami-Sei Meye’ on Wednesday at the Bengal Association in T Nagar. “We Bengalis are fond of recitation and that is where the idea of getting someone like Bratati came up,” says Soumya Guhathakurta of the puja committee. Apart from the T Nagar puja will have a few members putting up a play and a few musical programmes.

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The Bengal Association was registered as a society on 1st March’ 1929 in Chennai, formerly known as Madras. It is the first Association of Bengalees in Chennai. The founder members started the Association with the objective of pursuing cultural...

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