Thursday, October 23, 2014

Theme Artists of a Kali Puja Pandal in Bardhaman

Theme Artists of a Kali Puja Pandal in Bardhaman
The team of five artists 'Bharti Art' with its main artist Debashis Khan at the middle.
Hi folks, are you enjoying your Diwali? You're glowing but not cracking right? I'll buy 'yes' from your side. If you have read my yesterday's post you must be knowing a bit about "Kali Puja". Yes, we Bengalis worship Goddess Kali instead of Lakshmi on Diwali night. Today's photo story was supposed to be on simple Kali Puja pandal hopping but She seemed to have better plans for this photo blog. This is a photo tale of five theme artists who spent eight days and few sleepless nights to set up and ornament the pandal cum theme for the Kali Puja organized by Millennium Club! It all started yesterday night when I ventured out post-dinner to capture glimpses of Kali Puja in Bardhaman, my hometown. Unlike Durga Puja, pandals and themes of Kali Puja 2014 were not ready one day in advance. All I could see were pandals and idols in their raw forms, hard to believe that those would be ready within next fifteen hours or so.
Theme Artists of a Kali Puja Pandal in Bardhaman
Idol of Goddess Kali looks kinda gory, doesn't she? Why to rate violence level in video games then!
Unless you're from press or you're a sponsor, Puja Organizers usually don't give you any special treatment, especially so when they're busy in their last minute charting. When I tried to peep through the curtained ongoing pandal works of Millennium Club, some member cautioned me not to enter and interfere with artists' works. I tried to take few shots from far away just to console my initiative. They turned out to be poor but a good thing happened (so, determination pays!). One of the artists invited me inside to photograph them. He was the head of the 'five-members' artist team, Mr. Debashis Khan. It was voila for me! Other than these seasonal decorative and craft works he is a full time drawing teacher in his village. He has been in that world of sketching and painting since last nine years and yet to open his small drawing school which he aspires for!
Theme Artists of a Kali Puja Pandal in Bardhaman
The main attraction of Millennium Club Kali Puja, design with pieces of vegetables!
The main Puja pandal is fully built and designed with hay. Designs are good enough to be mistaken as jute works! Debashis' gang of five artists took eight days to complete the assignment for which they were commissioned. Apart from the total contract amount (which is quite low for the task but can't blame the club too. I really don't know who's the culprit behind these starving artists in India and their meager valuation!), they were provided cost of five (out of total eight) days of food and accommodation. Last night Debashis requested me to give them another visit in the late hours of morning when they'll be ready with the vegetable decoration. I was not sure whether I could make it. I gave my contact number so that they could collect their photos from my home. But, today morning he called again and asked if I would be able to pay them a visit with my camera. I can avoid human beings... I keep my set of excuses always ready if I have to say 'No'... but it was an artist's call... the creative kid inside me longed to indulge.

Theme Artists of a Kali Puja Pandal in Bardhaman
Everything you see in this photo has been designed with hay. From a distance it looks like jute though!

Theme Artists of a Kali Puja Pandal in Bardhaman
Fresh vegetables are not just for chefs, or to put it in another way, cooking truly an art!
All five of them were busy slicing and placing vegetables in the right place of the large whorl-like decoration outside the club. At four o' clock in the morning vegetable purchase was done. They were quite tired but satisfied as their work was about to be over in another hour. Too much work and too little gain, I thought. Dedication and hunger for appreciation/recognition were all I saw in all of them. For the vegetable design they had asked for some extra bucks but the club couldn't afford that. So, it didn't go at all profitable, in Debashis' elder brother's words. Only hope is- this work would grab someone's attention and they would be hired for a better sum in near future!
Theme Artists of a Kali Puja Pandal in Bardhaman
Theme artists are almost done with their vegetable design... a sigh of relief indeed!

Theme Artists of a Kali Puja Pandal in Bardhaman
The theme of the main Kali Puja pandal is 'tribal village'. I wish they had more time!
Now, the question is why am I promoting a group of artists? No, no penny attached here. Answers are all 'may be' but they are many. May be their art is awesome. May be I pitied their struggle for recognition. May be I was simply obliging myself with an easy "doing good thing" thingy to keep up with what I preached in social media. May be I was looking for a good topic for my photo blog. May be I wanted to get noticed so that I can lie myself that I was born to be a photo journalist. Yes, I said before, there are too many 'may be' to play philosophical! But something is very clear from this photo story- this group of artists is willing to render their artistic service whole heartedly. If you have a project I think it won't be stupid to remember Debashis and his team at 9679219067. That's all for the day... keep enjoying your Diwali... Joy (We Bengalis utter 'Jai' as 'joy' due to our obsession with 'o') Ma Kali!
Theme Artists of a Kali Puja Pandal in Bardhaman
Joy Ma Kali!

14 comments:

  1. Wow...lovely. Sadly , artists have to struggle to get recognition.

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  2. The vegetable design and the hay work on the door are just mindblowing yeti :-) . But why is Ma Kali's face painted black ? And you are so right Anunoy , it's such a pity that those who are actually blessed have to strive so hard in life , maybe they aren't lucky enough :-(

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    1. They paint it either grayish blue or black... that's how we visualize Ma Kali :-D
      Yup later part is sad indeed :-(

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  3. Wow! What an amazing photo blog straight from Bardhman this Diwali. I loved that pic with concentric circles of veggies. Neat work and it must not have been an easy task for the 5 artists. Thank you for bringing to us such lovely stories and pictures.

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    1. It was my pleasure to bring forth the talent of 5 artists... I wish I could do more to market such undervalued folks :-)

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  4. No words ! really creative, a right gesture !

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  5. Superb take. And artists are really blessed talented ones. Kudos.

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  6. I hope one day all deserving artists get appreciation and success they deserve. :)

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    1. Totally agree... but hoping is a 'no-no' for pessimists... so, can't hope like you do :(

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  7. can i get any contact details of this artis bcz this year we have 50 years kali puja so

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    1. Artist is Debasis Khan, Mobile number - 9679219067
      All the best!

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