Ganesh Chaturthi, or what is commonly called Ganpati in Maharashtra, is a festival that is celebrated across the nation. But the passion and fervour with which the annual event is observed in Mumbai is unmatched. When Sushant Singh Rajput moved to the city around a decade back, he, too, was “taken aback” by the “intensity” of the celebrations in Mumbai. As Ganesh Chaturthi starts today (September 5), Hindustan Times catches up with the Bollywood actor for an exclusive photo shoot and a quick chat.
What are your earliest memories of Ganesh Chaturthi, especially since you moved to Mumbai?
I saw the processions for the first time around 10 years back. I had an idea of how it was going to be because of the Bollywood films I had seen (smiles). But watching it happen in front of my eyes was surreal, especially the visarjan. There is a lot of passion and happiness on the streets, and it really is infectious.
Would you call yourself a religious person?
I am more spiritual than religious. But, at the same time, it can’t be denied that my religion has conditioned my life strongly.
Since you don’t belong to Maharashtra, were you surprised by the fervour with which the festival is celebrated?
Yes, I was surprised to see the passion and love [people have] for Ganpati. I had seen Durga Puja celebrations before, so I had a slight idea of how passionate it could be. But nothing comes close to Ganpati celebrations.
What does this festival mean to you?
It signifies many things. Every time you seek blessings, especially when you start something new, you pray to the lord. Ganpati symbolises prosperity and success. However, now that I live in Mumbai, the festival also signifies heavy rains and a lot of traffic (laughs).
Is the festival more special for you as your movie is releasing this month?
Absolutely, the release of my most important film in the same month could only be a good sign. I pray to Lord Ganesha that during this festive season, the ‘reel’ Dhoni, too, hits a century and wins everyone’s hearts.
How do you plan to celebrate the festival this year?
A lot of my friends will be bringing Ganpati home, so I will probably visit them. It is a great way to catch up with them. I visit different pandals every year. This year too, I will visit Lalbaugcha Raja and other places across the city. A friend’s mother prepares amazing modaks. I am patiently waiting for those (smiles).