People Of Pujo

Durga Pujo is a People’s carnival and having said so, it is about the spirit of millions of people who give this festival a carnival status. The grandeur and glory of this festival is a larger than life experience. During the festivity days, the entire City of Joy becomes an exhibition of creative excellence beyond imagination. But amongst all the fun and frenzy, what we tend to miss out or forget is that, this splendor and magnificence is backed by relentless efforts and contributions of People who come from different walks of life and make Pujo even more special for all of us

From the man who helps us drive around in his taxi at midnight to visit the pujo-pandals to the Traffic Sergeant who keeps the traffic flowing through the busy city roads, a food stall owner who is up and running all through the night to keep up with our hunger pangs every now and then and a flower seller who waits throughout the year to adorn Durga Ma with his bouquets and garlands, unmentioned as they are, Durga Pujo is unfathomable without all of them.

Thus began the journey of Asian Paints Sharad Shamman with #PeopleOfPujo. It is a tribute from Asian Paints Sharad Shamman to the People of Kolkata & beyond, for whom Pujo is just not another festival, it is a significant part of their lives, a large part actually!

#PeopleOfPujo is a series of micro-tales, spinning around the lives of all these city dwellers including the ones who hail from Kolkata but professions took them out of the city, leaving behind their heart & soul with the City of Joy. It narrates the stories of all these unsung heroes which we rarely come across. Without the collective efforts of all these individual tales, the grandeur of Durga Puja would have been lost somewhere.

Through the series this year, we tried capturing real life stories of people from different cross sections of lives, from Doctors to Celebrity Chefs, from a Kumartuli Artisan to a Dhaki, a Pata Chitrakar to a legendary author.

Soham Paul - Child Activist

Soham Paul, the small framed guy in his early twenties with a boy next door look, has been silently doing some exceptional work at Muktakash with the street children of North Kolkata off Vivekananda Road, for last two and half years now know more

Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay - Novelist & an Iconic Literary Person

For the Kolkatans & Bengalis around the world, Pujo Sankhya (Pujo editions of Magazines) have been one of the star attractions during Pujo. Land mark novels, short stories and poems by Sunil Gangopadhyay to Satyajit Ray and many more, published in these Puja Magazines have enriched Bengali literature over the decades know more

Dr Sugata Dasgupta, In Charge –CCU, R.G. Kar Medical College & Hospital

‘’We celebrated Durga Pujo in our house at Kapasdanga-Hooghly, waiting eagerly for those five days of Pujo. It was truly a magic realism with the gathering of all our family members & friends.The smell of new dresses, beats of dhak, bhog, rehearsals for cultural programs & plays - Pujo was always larger than life a charm for me’’, says Dr Sugata Dasgupta, who has been happily spending most of the Pujo days at the 7th floor of CCU at RG Kar Hospital ever since he took charge of the critical care unit there in 2011 know more

Iyakub Chitrakar & Family - Poto Chitrakar, Pingla

Naya, a small village of Pingla in West Midnapore district, is the habitat of 70 odd families whose livelihood runs through age old colourful folk art of Poto Chitra & Poter Gaan. The Poto Chitra themes & songs range from traditional mythological tales and tribal rituals to modern Indian history and contemporary issues. Iyakub Chitrakar is one such leading Patua from Pingla who is 4th generation Patua & successfully could disseminate the art through his next generations as well know more

Dr. Saptarshi Basu - Pujo Organizer

Despite his busy & highly demanding schedule as a Medical Practitioner, Intensivist & In Charge, CCU – Institute of Neuro Sciences, Kolkata, Dr Saptarshi Basu manages both ends happily & successfully during Pujo. This year, one of the visitors suffered a cardiac attack in the Pandal during Aarati, Dr Saptarshi’s professional skills as a Intensivist came handy to revive her from a near fatal consequence know more

Pinaki Ray - Chef de Cuisine, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Chef Pinaki Ray is a diehard Kolkatan by heart and like every other Kolkatan, he too is obsessed with pujo. An ex Xaverian & graduate from The IHM Taratola-Kolkata, Pinaki has been staying abroad due to his professional demands for over a decade & half now. Staying away from his home town, more so during Pujo, always used to pinch him somewhere deep in his heart. But ever since he settled down in Singapore in 2003, it became a ritual for him to be a part the Pujo celebrations in the Bengali Associations Singapore know more

China Pal - Artisan, Kumortuli

‘I love to create Debi Pratimas & my love for my job has intensified over the years’, says China Pal, a woman artisan from Kumortuli – the Land of God Makers in the City of Joy China Pal, aged 45, invokes life in her idol creations with simplicity and perfection. Talking about her childhood days, she recalls how the regular visits to her father’s studio got her intrigued towards the art of creating idols know more

Toton Das - Traditional Dhak Player

Banschator, a remote village of Murshidabad, where Toton stays has nothing very exceptional to mention about except the fact that about 70 odd families in his village have dhaks in their houses and the male members go out & play dhak in Pujo & other rituals. Dhak runs in his family as well and Toton is the 4th generation to try hands on dhak know more