Dasara and Durga in Bollywood

Dasara and Durga in Bollywood

This is time for Dasara and most of us citizens are busy exchanging the positive vibes and hopping from one garba venue to other durgabaadi. It is one of our most positive, passionate and respectful celebration of women. 

This is time for Dasara and most of us citizens are busy exchanging the positive vibes and hopping from one garba venue to other durgabaadi. It is one of our most positive, passionate and respectful celebration of women.

Bollywood obviously has never been short of celebrating this festival. The celebrations of Dasara and the pre-connected navratris or Durgabaadis have formed iconic screen moments for us.

For me the most memorable moment dedicated to Durga is the first movie that I saw in the theater in which Amitabh was the hero and was directed by the big daddy of masala emotions –‘Suhaag’ directed by Manmohan Desai.

In one of the most well written scenes woven around the dance of Garba, the ever vivacious Rekha and cool dude Amitabh dance in front of Maa Bhavani and sing “hai naam re sabse bada tera naam sheronwaali”. A ruthless gangster plans the death of his nemesis a young inspector, unknown to him, he is his son - so is the man who is dancing with his lady love.

A true Manmohan Desai moment-son, which ensured the song for Durga or Sheronwaali has been played a zillion time in all Dussera festivities.

The second most impactful scene from a film that made news not too long ago - the surprise smash hit ‘Kahani’. The climax is masterfully woven around celebrations of Durgapooja, a twist in the tale unfolds and Vidya Balan, who until then is shown as the victim reveals her true identity.

A true goosebumps evoking scene, where like the unforgiving Durga she completes her act of retribution and kills the man who has killed her husband. A master thriller reaches its climax as Vidya Balan is symbolised as another form of Durga.

Karan Arjun had a masala plot of reincarnation with smashing dialogues and legendary over the top performance from Raakhi. But, if there is one smash hit which had Durga or Kaali as an integral part of the plot it is Karan Arjun.

The good guys and the villain both in this movie are Kaali worshippers. Most key moments of the movie take place in the temple of the goddess placed on a high mountain.

Karan Arjun’s plot does not have a Dasara moment. But this movie has ensured that the generation of movie audience in 1990s understood ‘maa durga’ or ‘maa kaali’.

Among the other latest movies where Dasara is an integral part of the movie plot is ‘Rawdy Rathore’ where Vikram Singh Rathore is stabbed by the evil Titla. An important plot turning point is when the look alike Akshay takes place of the upright cop.

However, as is the penchant with Bollywood - to use the same festival for different moments; in this one the bad guys actually win the round and the good side takes the beating.

In one of the under rated movies of the 1990s, ‘Prem Granth’, the climax is actually filmed at the time of Dasara. The traumatised heroine hangs her rapist right up with the effigy of Ravana and burns him to his death.

In a climax, which has very well thought out lines, justice is delivered on screen through the well known tradition of burning Ravana effigy as is done on every Dasara festival.

In Raj Kumar Santoshi’s epic ‘Damini’, which has found its place in cinematic history for “tareekh pe tareekh” dialogue of Sunny Deol, one of the key moments was actually woven around Durga Puja celebrations.

A down and out Damini played by Meenakshi Sheshadri finds her energy and grit to fight back her tormentors when she is trapped in an asylum.

The grit comes back when she witnesses a Durga statue moving out in a procession - the scene, which was executed by Santoshi in his prime brought out beautifully how the heroine understands the Durga like power within her and escapes from Asylum and eventually wins her fight.

My other favourite Durga maa song is once again from the master emotion displayer Manmohan Desai – ‘Mard’. As Amitabh sings “maa sherowaali” on screen, begging her to unite him with his lost mother; Durga maa ensures that the mother reaches him safely.

A tiger escorts his mother all the way to a boat after fighting with the villains. A scene, which could have been delivered only by Desai, remains etched in my memory for a zealous Amitabh lighting a diya on his hand and continuously singing.

Show Full Article
Print Article
Next Story
More Stories