5 Bengali films that capture the spirit of Durga Puja
It is that time of the year when the sweet fragrance of shiuli adorns the air, fluffy white clouds flock to the sky, and the joyous beats of dhak announce the arrival of Maa Durga on Earth. If you are not a fan of pandal hopping, then binge-watch these Bengali films that celebrate the spirit of Durga Puja perfectly.
'Devi' by Satyajit Ray
Directed by the mastermind storyteller Satyajit Ray, this 1960 classic is his first explicitly political film. The story revolves around Dayamoyee whose father-in-law believes that she is the incarnation of Goddess Kaali. Slowly, the whole village starts worshipping her and Dayamoyee also starts believing that she genuinely has healing powers. However, her so-called belief soon turns into a tragedy destroying everything.
'Utsab' by Rituparno Ghosh
Directed by Rituparno Ghosh, this film is set against the backdrop of Durga Puja and deals with the complicated dynamics of familial relationships. The story starts with Durga Puja celebrations in an elderly lady Bhagabati's ancestral house where her middle-aged daughters bring the joint family together to celebrate the festival. However, the family is more concerned about their personal problems than the reunion.
'Bishorjon' by Kaushik Ganguly
This partition-themed 2017 movie directed by Kaushik Ganguly has won the National Award for Best Feature Film in Bengali. It is a cross-border love story between a Muslim businessman from India and a Hindu widow from Bangladesh. Padma finds an injured man near the Ichamati River, but when she finds out he is Muslim, she decides to hide his identity from the villagers.
'Debipaksha' by Raja Sen
Directed by Raja Sen, this 2004 film revolves around the five days of Durga Puja depicting Goddess Durga as a metaphor. The story revolves around Haimanti who leads a simple life. However, a tragic incident of sexual assault forces her to migrate to Mumbai. Eventually, Haimanti decides to stand against her molester and the injustice meted out to her and fights back.
'Joy Baba Felunath' by Satyajit Ray
If you are up for binge-watching a detective film this Durga Puja, then Satyajit Ray's Joy Baba Felunath must top your list. Set against the backdrop of Varanasi, the film revolves around the mysterious disappearance of a family heirloom and a murder during Durga Puja. Detective Prodosh C Mitter learns about a lost golden idol following which he starts investigating the case.