Rani Mukerji and her family host Durga Puja celebrations in the city every year. These five days are of utmost importance to her, and she looks forward to the festivities each time. However, this year, the actor will be missing out on the celebrations, as she’s going to be travelling for work.
“This is a special and important puja for me as it’s the first one after my marriage,” says Rani, who regrets not being in town for the festival this year. “It’s a huge loss for me; I thought I would really enjoy it this time since my film has also released and it has been accepted well. So, it’s a happy space to be celebrating the puja in. Nevertheless, I am happy that I got a chance to go there (to her family pandal) and at least see ‘maa’.”
For Rani Mukerji, Durga Puja always brings back childhood memories. “We would dress up and do skits based on Rabindranath Tagore’s writings. For us, Durga Puja is about all of Bengal coming together and having fun,” she reminisces.
Rani also talks about eating khichudi during the festivities, saying, “We always say this, and if you ask any other Bengali, they would say it too — the khichudi that we eat during Durga Puja never tastes as good throughout the year; that taste along with the bhaja, tomato chutney, kheer… it’s very different.”
It is experiences and memories like these that the actor says make Durga Puja special — more so for ‘probashi’ Bengalis. “It’s a term for Bengalis who live outside West Bengal. For us it’s very important, and because we are away from the state, our parents try and make sure we are exposed to everything Bengali during these five days,” she says.
Elaborating on the significance of the puja, Rani says that it’s “not a festival where you pray to God to give you something”. She adds, “It is a celebration of Maa returning to her maika (mother’s home) with her family, which includes Ganeshji, Kartik, Lakshmi and Saraswati. So for these five days, we Bengalis believe that we must only sing, dance, eat and make merry.”
Rani hopes that all those who attend the puja (at her family pandal) feel at ease and celebrate every moment. She says, “I would love to wish everyone a very happy Durga Puja and Navratri. Especially for all the Bengalis in Mumbai who don’t get to attend the celebrations in Kolkata, this is one way to make all the Bengalis in the city feel at home.”
“I’m looking forward to my next Durga Puja, which I’m really going to enjoy and I’ll make sure that I’m here and that nothing important makes me miss it again,” she says, before signing off.