Though the fusion of local flavour in Navratri celebrations in the form of Marathi songs has been a popular concept for some time, this year, fans of Marathi dandiya may run out of choices in the city when the festival begins on Tuesday.
Marathi actor Adesh Bandekar has decided not to conduct the event this year. Bandekar was one of the first to introduce Marathi dandiya on a large scale eight years ago by playing Marathi songs instead of Gujarati numbers.
“While Marathi dandiya is popular and the event would see huge crowds, I had been incurring a loss of Rs. 5 lakh on an average every year,” said Bandekar.
“I did not want to raise the entry fee from Rs. 100 per person since this is not a business for me. However, given the inflation, the expenditure would have been a lot for me. Hence, I have decided to take a break this year,” he said.
Bandekar used to conduct the event at the Kamgar Krida Mandal in Elphinstone Road and last year, as many as seven thousand revellers had visited during the last two days.
Some organisers said there was poor sponsorship for Marathi dandiya events this year. “Though we saw a big crowd at our Navratri event two years ago, financial difficulties have stopped us from organising the event again. We have not been able to get good sponsorship as well,” said Mithila Lad, one of the organisers of the Nityaratri Marathi Fusion Dandiya in Worli.
Traditionally, the festival is known as Bhondla in the Marathi culture, which is distinctively different from how Navratri is celebrated in the Gujarati culture. The dance moves differ from the steps in garba or dandiya, and women wear nauvari saris, not ghagras.
“People in villages go to each other’s aangans to play Bhondla, so in the city, we visit several housing societies where we sing traditional Marathi folk tunes and dance to dhols and tablas,” said Vidya Phadke, member of a city-based Bhondla group.