Exclusive! Amrita Rao: This year we were excited to introduce our son Veer to Ganpati Bappa | Hindi Movie News
From the moment you got married, Anmol and you have been bringing Bappa home during the festival. Who takes the initiative in preparing the festival and planning the other details?
Even before we were married, we talked about bringing Ganesha home. It was a mutual wish that came true in 2016 and since then it has been a day and a half of celebration that we look forward to annually. Between the two of us, I am the one who organizes the decoration and the prasad. Anmol does his part by getting fresh flowers early in the morning, preparing the diya baatis for the aarti thali, and doing all the puja rituals with me.
This was his son Veer’s first Ganpati celebration. How did you react to the festive atmosphere at home?
This year we were excited to introduce Veer to Ganu Bappa. His little eyes were very excited seeing all the decorative distractions around the idol. Veer was already familiar with the concept of praying, as we took him to the altar every morning and every night to light the lamp and say a little prayer.
Tell us more about how the festivities at home unfolded.
Like any other festival, I see this one as a reason to express gratitude to the Lord and celebrate not only the divine, but also family, food, togetherness, and a general bonhomie in society. I enjoy spending time in the kitchen, taking care of preparing the bhog myself. I make gajar ka halwa and sheera like sweets. But the modak ukadiche my mom cooks makes each Ganesh Chaturthi special. When we took Bappa home, we entered the house with the high energy song Deva Shree Ganesha (Agneepath, 2012) playing in the background. We then took him to the puja room and began the puja with my parents and family present, followed by a home-cooked lunch. Everything we eat, including tea and snacks, is offered to Ganpati Bappa. Farewell is the most emotional part of the celebrations. This year I prayed to God to free me from the pandemic and the freedom to live normally again. The times of COVID have taught us the importance of good health and valuing family like never before.
What are your childhood memories of the Ganpati celebrations? Have you ever pandal jumped through Mumbai?
I have very special childhood memories of celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi at my grandparents’ home. Along with community bidding, the community center used to host a variety of entertainment programs and we actively participated in performing dance performances, dramas, and even costume contests. Go visit the
The GSB Pandal community in Matunga has been an ongoing children’s tradition. I am so proud that the murti is organic!
You have always talked about celebrating the festival in an ecological way. Personally, what measures do you and your family take during these days?
For starters, we keep the decorations simple and organic, mainly flowers, fruits, and bid items only. Our idol Ganpati is a silver murti that we have been using every year. The idol was a gift to me from the owners of a school that I visited in Delhi. What makes it special is the time of year I received it, coinciding with the year of my marriage and our first Ganpati puja. We make the visarjan in a bucket of water in our house and the water is offered to the plants. The statue is then wiped dry and stored in a secluded area of the altar only to come out the next year.
I am a fan of celebrating festivals in an eco-friendly way. In 2019, I worked on an initiative, Eco Bappa Morya. I made a five-minute preconscious movie, in which I interacted with murtikars, beach activists, and an oceanography scientist to understand the flip side of some of the neglect observed during the celebration. I believe that festivals should be sensitive and kind to babies, the elderly, animals, birds and the environment in general. I look forward to continuing all possible efforts in the future to promote an environmentally friendly Ganesh Chaturthi celebration.
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