Durga Puja is not just a festival but an emotion for many especially Bengalis. From meeting each other to gorging on lip-smacking dishes, wearing the finest of clothes and hopping from one pandal to another, people celebrate the five auspicious days of the festival in their own special ways.
Our celebrities also do not leave any chance to skip the celebrations. But given the COVID-19 pandemic scenario, festivities have been happening a bit differently from the past two years.
Just like 2020, popular Bengali beauties including Rani Mukerji, Mouni Roy and Tanushree Dutta are refraining from celebrating Durga Puja on a large scale this year as well.
Talking about her celebration plans this year amid the health scare, Tanushree told ANI, "I'm just going to be with myself mostly and occasionally spend time with family and friends. I feel very content, still and quiet lately and feel like a new life is beginning to dawn upon me."
On the other hand, it's a working Durga Puja for Tanushree's sister Ishita Dutta. She is busy shooting for the TV show 'Thoda Sa Badal Thoda Sa Paani'.
"I am shooting every day. No off for me..but I will try to visit a few pandals and seek blessings of the divine from outside. Also, I love dressing up for Durga Puja a lot...I have bought new sarees which I will wear," Ishita shared.
Actor Rani Mukerji, who usually celebrates Durga Puja on a grand scale with her family, is also working during the festive season. She has a packed 'Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway' schedule.
Meanwhile, Rani's cousin and actor Kajol was spotted attending Durga Puja festivities in Mumbai on Tuesday. She even got emotional over meeting her relatives after a long time. Several videos and pictures have been doing the rounds on the internet, wherein the 'Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge' star can be seen greeting her uncles at a pandal.
Kajol was all dressed up for the occasion. She chose to wear a vibrant pink saree. She tied her hair in a bun, and a beautiful necklace complimented her look. The captured moments of Kajol and her family members truly depicted how all of them missed the annual rituals.
Actor Debina Bonnerjee is also making sure to spend quality time with her relatives during Durga Puja.
"My maternal uncle and aunt from Kolkata have come to my place this time. I am enjoying each and every moment with them. I would also like to visit a few pandals and see how little bit celebrations are taking place in Mumbai. To mark the occasion special, I have bought a new red coloured kurta for Guru (Debina's husband Gurmeet Choudhary)," she said.
The pandemic has definitely struck a note of nostalgia within people, as the festive season commenced.
Recalling how she used to celebrate Durga Puja in childhood, 'Uttaran' fame actor Tina Dutta said, "When I was a kid I used to buy a lot of new outfits. In fact, we have a ritual of gifting each other new clothes, shoes and other things. This year we are not buying anything. COVID-19 has taken a toll on everything." Tanushree, too, walked down memory lane and shared her most memorable Durga Puja memories from her childhood days.
"My childhood memories of Durgo Pujo are best. That was a time of so much love, devotion and innocence. As a child, I simply loved Maa Durga and every year her arrival was something I looked forward to with much gusto and enthusiasm. I wore new clothes every day, ate like there was no tomorrow, took part in kid's stage shows and volunteered in pujo activities in my hometown Jamshedpur," she reminisced.
While keeping the festive spirit alive, people should not neglect COVID-19 safety measures. Actor Mouni Roy believes the same.
"Safety comes first. I am also not celebrating Durga Puja on a grand level. I am celebrating at home only. I am avoiding going to crowded areas. I might visit a few pandals in a day or two and will definitely follow all the safety measures. Covid has not gone away..it's still there. We have to be responsible at each stage," Mouni urged.