Kolkata to organise drive-in Durga Puja during the pandemic, around the theme of some of Satyajit Ray’s greatest hits to honour the late filmmaker on his birth centenary. By Tanvi Jain

 

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This year, Kolkata is giving every reason to celebrate Durga Puja with much more enthusiasm than ever before. But how so during the pandemic, you may think. Don’t worry! The city is organising drive-in darshans, which means you can easily view the famous pandals from the comfort of your car, without any fear of contracting the virus in a crowded space.  

The city that otherwise witnesses long queues of devotees willing to wait for hours just to catch a glimpse of the pandal, will this year see three major pujas of South Kolkata — Badamtala Ashar Sangha, 66 Palli and Kalighat Nepal Bhattacharjee Street Club – located at a distance of just one kilometre from each other. The trio are coming together to organise the event titled — Bhooter Raja Dilo Bor’ (The King of Ghosts has Given Boons) — along with a song featured in late filmmaker Satyajit Ray’s famous Bengali comedy — Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne. 

 

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In order to mark Ray’s 100th birth anniversary, which started from May 2020, the three pujas have been themed after the Apu Trilogy. The first drive-in will start from Badamtala Ashar Sangha showing scenes from Pather Panchali, then to 66 Palli showing Aparajito and lastly Kalighat Nepal Bhattacharjee Street Club portraying Apur Sansar — three of Ray’s greatest films of all times. 

Upon entering the pandal, you will have to slow down your car, take a look at the Durga idol and move on. All the cars will be sanitised, and no visitors will be allowed to go near the idol. Moreover, there will also be a separate lane only for pedestrians, with mandatory thermal checking, hand sanitisation and social distancing norms to be followed. 

 

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The whole idea is reportedly the brainchild of Mridul Pathak from Texas who is not only a patron of Badamtala Ashar Sangha, but his non-profit organisation — International Foundation for Sustainable Development (IFSD) — is also in charge of the event.

Related: By Durga Puja 2020, Kolkata May Get Dakshineswar Metro Station Ready