Folk songs, songs of scroll painters (patachitra gan) and Tagore dance dramas will be among the offerings to Durga at a “puja with a difference” at a north Kolkata mansion, organisers told a news conference on Wednesday.
The Telegraph had earlier reported on the Thakurbarir Sarodotsav, billed as an autumnal performing arts festival, which will be held at a palatial house on Prasanna Kumar Tagore Street in Natunbajar.
The house was built by Jatindra Mohan Tagore in 1884. Jatindra Mohan was a descendant of Darpanarayan Tagore.
The Tagores of Jorasanko are descendants of Darpanarayan’s brother Nilmani.
Thakurbarir Sarodotsav is the brainchild of Souraja Tagore, a Bharatanatyam dancer and the great-granddaughter of Jatindra Mohan.
The home had a long history of Durga Puja that continued till 2006.
“More than the rituals, I enjoyed the union of so many people during the Puja. The curbs triggered by the pandemic made us realise the importance of interpersonal connection, which we had been taking for granted. I am an artiste. The absence of audience reciprocation over the past two years has also been very painful,” Souraja, 38, said on Wednesday.
Anjan Mitra, an architect and heritage conservationist who has researched on Durga Puja, was a guest speaker at Wednesday’s programme.
He talked of Durga Puja as a public art festival where “even marginal neighbourhoods invite people from all over. They have one message — see me through my art”.
The festival at Thakurbari will keep traditional rituals at bay, offering shilpanjali (artistic offerings) instead of pushpanjali (floral offerings). The festival is being curated by Daakghar, a music platform headed by Rabindrasangeet singer Manoj Murali Nair.
Bengal Jewellery, a 99-year-old institution, is partnering the festival.
On Wednesday, the organisers shared the itinerary of the festival, which is going to be “open for all”.
Patachitra gaan by Rani Chitrakar, a performance by Uttam Das Baul and Tagore’sdance drama, Chandalika, will be among the top draws.
“The distinct Bengali identity, which owes a lot to the cultural renaissance, is somewhat endangered now.
This festival is hopefully a step in the reverse direction,” said Nair.
“We have a long association with Thakurbari and are honoured to be part of the festival,” said Shubadip Roy of Bengal Jewellery.