This is Shashikant Bagwe’s favourite part of the Ganesh festival — when the work is done and the praise starts coming in.
The idol-maker, like most of them in the city, has been working over-time to give the idols finishing touches and ready them for their glitzy pandals in homes or with big mandals.
As Ganesh Chaturthi, the first day of the festival, draws nearer these artists are waiting with equal enthusiasm for a few days of rest and a heap of compliments for their work.
“An artist always needs appreciation,” said Shashikant Bagwe of the Bagwe Brothers from Parel. They run an idol-making workshop where artists usually work for 12 hours a day. “We’re looking forward to it more this year since we have been doing 16-hour shifts to complete idols on time,” Bagwe said.
Several idol-makers in the city were suffering from malaria and, to add to that, three days of heavy rain last week delayed work forcing many workshops to pump in more time.
“The first few days of the Ganesh festival are definitely rest time for us, once our job is done,” said Santosh Kambli, whose team from Kambli Arts is busy crafting the city’s most popular Ganpati, Lalbaugcha Raja, to perfection.
Once idol-makers have caught up on sleep and rest, they spend the 10-day festival enjoying the success of their efforts. “Mandals invite us as guests of honour for pujas. People, who come for darshan, also come up to us and appreciate our work,” said Ramesh Rawle, another well-known idol maker from Parel, who is working despite suffering from chikungunya to meet his Thursday deadline for delivering idols.
Public praise is the biggest motivation for set designers such as Kishore Mankar to create elaborate Ganesh pandals. “We usually do sets for films and theme parties, but this is the one platform in the city where our work is publicly recognised,” said Mankar, whose RED Designs is creating a huge Shivling-theme pandal at Sewri this year.
For most artists, appreciating the work of others in their profession is an important part of the festival, and they spend several days touring Ganesh pandals throughout the city.
“You can get new ideas and expand your creativity only by seeing the work of your peers,” Mankar said.