At three pujas for a few hours on Mahasashthi, a matinee idol ruled. Metro was witness to the Prosenjit effect
The morning after the Mumbai premiere of Mishawr Rawhoshyo, he took an early flight back to lead the True Spirit Puja charge on Sashthi before heading off to get into Kakababu gear for the Calcutta premiere of the Srijit Mukherji film.
“Just one hour of sleep and I’ll be good,” smiles Prosenjit, donning the bandana of superstar TSP judge, green tea in a flask and dry fruits in a jar tucked by the side of his Land Rover front seat.
As his car nears Hatibagan Sarbojanin and rolls past Star Theatre, Prosenjit goes into flashback mode: “There was a time when I used to do plays at Star Theatre and all four Puja days were spent here, acting from 3pm to 9pm. I was really young then, around 16 or 17…”
As the white Land Rover rolls into Hatibagan and the loudspeakers blare “Proooosenjiiiiiiit”, every man-woman-child within listening distance makes a dash for the pandal. All they want is to get close to their hero. “I think this puja has an interesting concept,” is his verdict, impressed by some of the facilities on offer.
At Santoshpur Lake Pally, the entry and exit to the pandal have been buffered but there’s no buffering the craze of his fandom. The whole of Santoshpur seems to descend on the man, smothering his car and bringing traffic to a halt.
Prosenjit’s last word on what is soon to be crowned the Model Puja? “The Lake Pally puja paid really good attention to crowd control. Also, the greenish tinge to the surroundings and the idol made it look very beautiful.”
The Shibmandir Sarbojanin in Mudiali has been buttressed with a dozen bodyguards, local police and crowd control barriers to provide a smooth passage for Prosenjit. Screaming fans from six to 60 have gathered outside the pandal, jostling for a glimpse of their idol. Hundreds of hands go up in the air for a click. One middle-aged lady with sweat trickling down her face manages to break through the human barricade and reach Prosenjit, begging him for a photograph. The man of the moment smiles and obliges.
On the drive back to his Ballygunge home, Prosenjit rewinds, plays and fast-forwards. “The last time I went pandal-hopping was around 10 years ago. We went out as a team after 11pm yet the crowd was unmanageable and I’ve stayed away after that. I lock myself up at home on Sashthi and come out on Dashami…. So this True Spirit Puja outing has turned out to be quite enjoyable for me. Getting to visit pandals and seeing Pujas after a long time…. It has been my dream to create an industry puja — by all the actors, musicians, technicians. I think it would be great fun….”
Text: Mohua Das