This year marks Satyajit Ray’s hundredth birth anniversary and with Durga Puja being just a couple of months away, in October, three committees have collaborated to not only choose Apu Trilogy as the theme for the three marquees but also found an alternative to COVID-19 social distancing norms. Badamtala Ashar Sangha, 66 Palli and Kalighat Nepal Bhattacharjee Street Club are offering a drive-in darshan for Durga Puja this year in Kolkata for the event titled ‘Bhooter Raja Dilo Bor’.
The idea originates from a song featured in Satyajit Ray’s Goopi Gyne Bagha Byne and translates to ‘The King of Ghosts has Given Boons’. Texas resident Mridul Pathak, a patron of Badamtala Ashar Sangha, came up with this innovative idea of a drive-in darshan amid COVID-19.
Pathak’s non-profit organisation International Foundation for Sustainable Development (IFSD) is in charge of the event. The three Durga puja committees are situated within a 1 km stretch in south Kolkata and will be conceptualized on drive-in darshan to avoid mass crowding near the pandals.
Devotees will be required to slow down their vehicles when they enter the pandal, first of which will be Badamtala with scenes from Pather Panchali. Without stepping out of their cars, people can view the idols facing the lane and proceed to the next pandal which will be by 66 Palli with Aparajito.
The last in line will be the pandal by Nepal Bhattacharjee which will illustrate scenes of Apur Sansar. Since the drive-in route has been chalked out in a certain way, all cars will be sanitised via a pipe shower before entering each puja pandal.
With thermal checking and hand sanitisation installation in place, a separate lane will be set up for pedestrians adhering to the norms of social distancing. No visitor will be allowed to go near the deities.