Durga Puja is now more than just a local festival. It is getting a lot of attention nationally, as well as internationally. Cashing in on this, the department of tourism of the government of West Bengal asked Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (SRFTI) to make a documentary on the greatest festival of Bengal (and indeed on of the greatest in the world), to be exhibited at road shows, exhibitions and seminars across the globe to attract international tourists. Now residents of Paris, Melbourne, London, Johannesburg or San Francisco would get a taste of the greatest festival of Bengal.
The SRFT team has focused on the artworks and creativity seen across pandals in Kolkata, the biggest centre of Durga Puja, as the rich world of Indian art and culture is a special point of interest to international tourists keen on India. The 8-minutes short film also contains footage showcasing the different rituals and interviews of people closely associated with the organization of many of the Pujas. Sudeshna Bose has directed the film, with camerawork by Basab Mullick and editing by Tamal Chakroborty.
While the team shot the multitudes and the themes of different Pujas in the first two days, it shifted focus to the rituals on the third day. On the last day it recorded sindur khela and the immersion of the idols. The film would be edited with a voice-over, and a few subtitles as well.
The film is a great initiative by the state government to create international awareness about this much-awaited festival. Among other places, the film is scheduled to be shown at the International Tourism and Travel Show in Montreal from October 24-26, the World Travel Market in London from November 3-6 and the Asta Destination Expo in Marrakech, Morocco from February 26-March 1, 2015.
Previous attempts by the state to draw in tourists by showcasing folk art and culture,rural artists, and archaeological and heritage sites have been largely successful. Now this latest attempt, by showcasing the greatest festival of Bengal, would hopefully bring in more international tourists to savour the rich culture of the state.
Feature Image: Soudip’s Photoblog