MUMBAI: With the festival of Navratri just a week away, organisers of Dandiya events are keeping themselves busy. Several city-based organisers have set up pandals and dance stages at venues across the city.
Navratri is the worship of goddess Durga, and the Dandiya dances are the major highlight of the celebrations. “Like every year, we have set up a wooden stage for the dancers. We are expecting a crowd of 15,000 this year,” said Ganesh Naidu, organiser of the popular Korakendra Navratri festival, Borivli. “Unlike at other places, our vocalists will only sing traditional Gujarati folk songs. We will not have Bollywood songs playing at our venue,” said Naidu.
The organisers of Carnival Raas Jalsa, Juhu, another popular Navratri venue in the city, will have a mix of both traditional and Bollywood songs. “With popular vocalists like Bhumi Trivedi and Osman Mir singing traditional and Hindi film songs for all nine days, we expect to draw a crowd of about 6,000,” said one of the organisers.
Many city-based dance groups have begun practicing the traditional Dandiya dance steps. Borivli resident Dushyant Soni is the choreographer and member of a city-based dance group. Soni, past winner at many Garba dance competitions since 1990, is now a judge of several city-based dance competitions. “We are a group of 30 people ranging from seven to 51 years old. We generally meet in the evenings after work to practice the dance steps. I try and teach steps that are different from the regular dance steps,” said Soni.
Many young girls are excited not only about dancing but also about dressing up in traditional attire. “Every year, my sister and I buy new clothes for Navratri. Not only do we enjoy the dance, but we also like dressing up in chaniya-cholis and traditional jewellery,” said Dahisar resident Deepal Soni.