Kantapukur Battala Sporting Club
Theme: This club has tried its best to frighten visitors at their pandal with a ghastly theme and still and living (!) ghosts. The pandal was a skull whose eyes popped out and oozed blood that collected in a small moat dug around it. If this was not enough, there were crocodiles on the bank of the moat. Inside, figures of ghosts were placed at strategic points while living models, dressed as ghosts, pranced around. A lot of trees and shrubs were used to enhance the eerie effect. A large anaconda too was placed inside. After encountering 10 living ghosts and many others, visitors finally reach the mandap where the idol was being worshipped.
Bellilious Boys Sporting Club
Theme: This pandal on Bellilious Road was a world of lights with massive candles and innumerable diya stands cut out of plywood decorating the pandal on all sides. Other items used to worship Kali like bel leaves, hibiscus flowers and so on found place on the walls of the pandal. Tridents and khanra attached to bamboo poles supported the boundary wall. Visitors to this pandal were greeted by 12 live models dressed as ghosts, who walked around the road leading to the pandal.
Balitikuri Vivekananda Palli
Theme: The lives of freedom fighters of Bengal came alive through illustrations and photographs at this pandal. The club tried to highlight their sacrifice, specially for the children. Long vinyl boards bearing illustrations of events in the lives of various personalities like Rabindranath Tagore, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and others were pasted on the walls of the pandal. Old photographs and articles on the freedom struggle were also exhibited.
Bijoli Balak Sangha
Theme: Although this club does not do themes, but every year it uses interesting items to decorate its pandal. This year, the pandal was made of straw used to make different motifs and designs. The interior has been decorated with such designs along with murals of Nava Durga, also made of straw. Outside, the pandal, made in the form of a temple, sports identical designs.
Dharsa Youth Association
Theme: Bandhs were this club’s theme. Various scenes of bandhs were shown here. Clay models were used to depict bandh supporters vandalizing a car, a pregnant woman lying on a trolley van waiting in vain to reach a hospital, bandh supporters stopping a train on the tracks and police sitting inactive at a tea stall.
Dakshin Bantra Matri Sangha
Theme: The theme here was Seven Wonders of the World, which were replicated in miniature versions in thermocol. Suitable light effects were used on the ground. Kali worshipped in traditional form was placed inside the clubhouse. The immersion is on November 16 and annakoot will be organised on November 25.
Balitikuri Netaji Balak Sangha
Theme: Meditation and yoga were highlighted at this club’s puja. After entering the pandal, which is in the shape of a cave, visitors walked through a maze of stairs to reach a place where a tantrik was meditating. He was sitting on a platform in the middle of a waterbody while an image of Kali floated on the water. The walls of the cave were decorated with old stone carvings. The Kali idol for worship was placed at the exit of the pandal.
Chhatimtala Balak Sangha
Theme: This pandal was for children with its Aladdin and The Magic Lamp theme. Aladdin’s castle was recreated here with both live and still models. The entrance to the pandal was a mouth of a 34 ft tall genie. Inside, episodes from Aladdin’s story like his search for the magic lamp, the magical mirror on the wall, Aladdin flying on the magic carpet came alive. A live genie appeared when Aladdin rubbed the magic lamp. Three magicians were tied with chains inside the castle.
Ichhapur Banga Milani
Theme: This club paid tribute to Sunil Gangopadhyay by taking up a theme from his story Sabuj Dweeper Raja based on the life of Jarowa tribals. The pandal was decorated with paintings of episodes from the story along with live models dressed as Jarowa tribals. A waterbody, depicting the sea had a canoe carrying Jarowas in it. Inside a hut of coconut leaves, tribals performed different tasks. The 20 live models at the pandal acted out their parts in the evenings.
Twinkle Shyama Sangha
Theme: Scarecrows of different sizes dressed in rags were placed on both sides of the road leading to the pandal in Bantra. The theme showed how the use of insecticides on farmland has not only reduced pests, but also the birds that come to feed on the insects. This is why scarecrows are scarce on farmland. A total of 150 scarecrows made from bamboo and earthen pots were used to decorate the pandal.
Theme: Dracula’s castle came to life at this pandal in Bally. A ghostly ambience was created inside the castle with dim lights, a coffin and other items. However, this was not all. A light-and-sound show with live models presented a story of a girl-turned-vampire after death, who sought revenge on her killers. The horrific effect was enhanced with the sound of windows and doors trembling.
Pictures by Gopal Senapati