Several years ago, a young boy of 17 had danced all the way from Bandra to Juhu beach, and into the sea, as part of a Ganpati procession. Today, that same boy is a popular Bollywood actor. But even though Arjun Kapoor no longer enjoys the anonymity he did as a teenager, his sentiments towards the festival remain intact.
at Juhu beach from over a decade ago, Arjun says, "That night, I got the best sleep of my life. There was so much peace. Whether anyone believes it or not, I believe there is a genuine power."
As a kid, Arjun says he looked forward to Ganpati because it meant getting a day off from school. "I remember travelling to south Mumbai to meet my grandparents. We used to stay in Chembur back then and I would just be mesmerised by the sight of these massive, decorated Ganpati idols on the road," says the actor, naturally channelling the excitement of his younger self.
"No one ever had to explain the importance of Ganpati
to me. I was three or four when I connected with him. As I grew older, my mom (late Mona Kapoor) started keeping an idol in our studio. She was a huge follower," he says, admitting that Ganpati was always "about seeing my mother happy".
"She always used to be in a good mood around that time. Ganpati was an event for her," he adds.
Today (August 29), on Ganesh Chaturthi, the 29-year-old — who calls himself a God-loving person — advocates the use of eco-friendly idols. "We must aim to leave behind a clean environment, so that, even in the future, people can continue celebrating Ganpati," he says.