Choreographer Avirup Sengupta has just finished making a video on the theme of Durga Puja, titled Amar Durga. This video celebrates Durga Puja as a form of women empowerment. The video will be launched in a few days.
Last year, Avirup and actress Rituparna Sengupta had distributed food among the sex workers at Kalighat and that is where he came across the concept of involving these socially marginalised women in something related to Durga Puja. Since it’s difficult to organise a performance now in the wake of Covid, he thought of shooting a music video. The video includes performances by Rituparna, Richa Sharma and Devlina Kumar.
However, the real stars of the video are sex workers, acid attack victims and transgenders. Avirup believes many from these groups have an inherent knack towards the arts especially, music and dance. When he approached Rituparna for the shoot, she said yes even before knowing the details.
“Rituparna plays Goddess Durga, Richa plays Goddess Saraswati and Devlina plays Goddess Lakshmi in the video. On vocals were Deepabali Dutta and Chandrabali Rudra Dutta. Deepabali also composed the music. The chandipath is by Korak Basu and Mohua Roy. The camerawork is by Sayan Arjo,” Avirup told The Telegraph. He added that the Acid Survivors and Women Welfare Foundation helped them a lot in this initiative.
Talking about the video that Avirup has directed, choreographed and conceptualised, he said: “This is a music video with dance, music and culture and about Puja, but it is not merely a form of entertainment. The Ballygunge Shiksha Sadan was used as the venue of the shoot. It celebrates women and women empowerment from all sections of society — that is the message we want to give out. At the end of the video, all these marginalised women are shown wearing masks, which is symbolic of each woman being a part of the Mother Goddess.”
He added: “Devi Durga resides in every woman, and we should respect women from all walks and strata of society. Just as we respect women who are doctors, lawyers or other professionals, sex workers, acid attack victims or transgenders too have a right to a decent life. These people have to struggle a lot, a lot more than others, to eke out a livelihood. However, they are not weak, in fact they have a firm resolve to live life on their own terms.”
Rituparna Sengupta said: “Presenting this unique idea is a wonderful feeling… Avirup’s organisation Prayas does a lot of noble work like supporting special children. I have always supported his causes. When he came up with this cause to support acid victims and transgender communities, I was really happy. We all need to stand up for causes, especially for women and children.”
Richa Sharma said: “I am not a trained dancer but I always get appreciated working with Avirup. He gets the best out of me. It was a good experience and it’s such a noble cause that one likes to be associated with it. It’s a great message of naari shakti.”
Devlina Kumar said: “It was nice playing the role of Goddess Lakshmi. I liked the concept.”