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Navratri Memories & Moments

Navratri Memories & Moments
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Navratri Memories & Moments. For the last so many years, Navratri festival has been very special for the film fraternity because for nine days the...

As the countdown for navratri begins a quick look at some memorable navratri moments on the big screen...

For the last so many years, Navratri festival has been very special for the film fraternity because for nine days the garba pandals dance to Bollywood tunes. Producers nearing October releases make sure to distribute audios of their forthcoming films to these venues so the soundtracks become popular with the audience

Not any longer because in the last few years copyright has become a major issue and organisers can no more afford to play film songs and therefore star performers like Phalguni Pathak have gone back to singing original Gujarati garbas. In a way it is a blessing in disguise because the new law has made it possible for the festival to return to roots.

Looking back it was Viju Shah who started the trend of playing a band for nine days at prime pandal in Mumbai often visited by big stars like Amitabh Bachchan in the 90s and gradually the trend caught on. In coming years younger composers like Adesh Srivastav and Himesh Reshamiyya also made most of the celebratory mood on the dandiya nights.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali who portrayed vibrant garbas in ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’ is a much in demand director during navratri time and it is because he travels all over Gujarat during these nine days to appreciate and enjoy different dance forms of India. Bhansali believes that if we can travel across continents to attend international film festivals, we must make an effort to enrich our life with navratri magic of Baroda, Rajkot and Ahmedabad. “I have decided to spend every navratri in the interiors of Gujarat. The masti, the magic and the sound of dhol is enough to get the adrenaline flowing.”

The first time the audience was introduced to Gujarat’s traditional garba was in Govind Saraiya’s ‘Saraswati Chandra’ in 68 and even ‘Main to bhool chali …’ was not exactly an ode to the Goddess but a musical moment to present a turning point in the film.

Almost a decade later it needed another Gujarati director to convert the household folklore ‘Hey rang lo…’ into ‘Hey ram re…’ featuring Rekha and Amitabh clicking to dandiyaas in Manmohan K Desai’s ‘Suhaag’.

Ketan Mehta revealed glimpses of the authentic art form in ‘Bhavni Bhavai’ and a few years later in ‘Mirch Masala’ where garba was portrayed in its purest form with magical visuals of the village belles bending and twirling in mirror work skirts, clapping and racing in circles.

In the 80s Aamir Khan and Juhi Chawla comfortably converted the folk dance in to the universally accepted disco dandiya for ‘Love Love Love’ and in the 90s filmmaker Vinay Shukla celebrated Shabana Azmi’s victory as a political leader with a beautiful dance in ‘Godmother’.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Dholi taro…’ in ‘Hum Dil de Chuke Sanam’ ushered a new era of magnificence in music, costumes and choreography representing Gujarat and the audience was mesmerised. Bhansali promises to engage his audience in the vibrant colours again in his forthcoming ‘Ram Leela’ also based in Gujarat.

Bengal’s Durga Puja has been a recurrent motif in the parallel cinema be it Satyajit Ray’s Devi or Aparna Sen’s ‘Paroma.’ Hindi mainstream cinema has portrayed myriad moments in different decades be it Shakti Samanta’s ‘Barsaat Ek Raat Ki’, Rakesh Roshan’s ‘Karan Arjun,’ Kalpana Lajmi’s ‘Daman’, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Devdas’ or recently Vidya Balan’s ‘Kahani’. Senior actress Hema Malini has played almost all the Goddesses in her dance ballets on stage; she enacted Amba in a tele-serial and Goddess Kali in a South remake that was a blockbuster in all the languages.

Down South navratri is celebrated as Golu when the Goddess comes home and friends and family are invited to seek her blessings. The custom was beautifully portrayed in ‘Naya Din Nayi Raat’ where the heroine Jaya Bhaduri meets Sanjeev Kumar as nine remarkable characters on one single night. In the climax all the eight characters reappear to bless Jaya and Sanjeev Kumar at their wedding while Jaya sitting before the fire discreetly briefs her groom about all of them.

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