It’s drizzling, and the smoke from the dhunuchi fills the air at Kamalistan Studios, Jogeshwari, as Ayushmann Khurrana and Parineeti Chopra pose for a Durga Puja shoot for HT Café. The duo, who is currently shooting for their upcoming film, Meri Pyari Bindu, is dressed to perfection for the occasion — Parineeti in a traditional pink and peach sari and Ayushmann in a blue Nehru jacket paired with a grey kurta.
Ayushmann plays a Bengali in the film. The actor seems more or less accustomed to Bengali traditions now. Even the first shot of his debut Hindi film, Vicky Donor (2012), was shot in a Durga Puja pandal. “There was a Durga Puja scene in the song ‘Pani da’. Dada (director Shoojit Sircar) wanted a shot of Durga ma on the first day of the shoot. That was the first time I had been in a pandal. It turned out to be auspicious for me,” he says.
The actor is fascinated by Bengalis and the way their community gatherings are held. “I was introduced to Bengali food during the movie’s shoot. I am a foodie. I enjoyed the delicacies, especially Sondesh (a Bengali dessert),” says Ayushmann.
Although, there are no Durga Pujas in Chandigarh, (Punjab), where Ayushmann grew up, Navaratri is celebrated with gusto. “It has been a while since I visited Chandigarh during Navaratri. My mother is religious. She used to do Kanjak Puja.
My brother Aparshakti (Khurrana) and I would join the girl gang in our vicinity for free food and gifts,” he says. Parineeti, too, loves Bengali sweets such as Rasgulla, Sondesh and Mishti Doi. “In fact, when I was shooting for the movie in Kolkata, my friends brought a variety of food for me every day,” she says.
The actor has learnt about Bengali culture through her film. “I have never visited a Durga Puja pandal. I hope to do so his year. I have only seen them in films,” she says.
Parineeti says her look (for the photo shoot) is inspired by the outfits Rani Mukerji wears during Ganpati and Durga Puja celebrations. “I have visited Rani’s house during the two festivals. She looks beautiful. Rani is my favourite actor. I was thinking of her when I was getting ready today,” says the Bollywood actor .
Parineeti: Hair and makeup: Shradha Naik; Sari: Jade; Jewellery: Anmol Jewellers; Stylist: Sanjana Batra; Ayushmann: Hair: Mohd Javed Sharafat Ali; Makeup: Rashid Sayyad