For the second consecutive year, the North Bombay Sarbojanin Durga Puja is all set to go virtual as a safeguard against the Covid-19 pandemic. This Durga Puja grabs much media attention because Bollywood's celebrated Mukherjee family has been organising it for many years.
Every year, members of the family, including yesteryear's star Tanuja, her daughters Kajol and Tanish Mukherjee, niece Rani Mukherjee and nephew, the filmmaker Ayan Mukherjee, among others, join the festivities. The extended family includes Ajay Devgn and Bollywood and TV actor Mohnish Bahl.
The North Bombay Sarbojanin Durga Puja Samiti members have chosen to take their festivities to the people through live streaming and social media. Their concern is that crowded pandals may turn out to be super spreaders in a city that has just officially opened up its public spaces and events.
A senior member of the family, Deb Mukherjee, erstwhile actor and father of Ayan Mukherjee, said: "This is the second year we are doing a virtual Durga Puja. We have to maintain social distancing and wear masks, so we are not letting a lot of people come in. It is only for members. Keeping everyone's safety in mind, we thought going virtual was the best decision to make. Even the members are allotted a specific time slot when they can visit the pandal." Ashutosh Gowarik
The Samiti has also scaled down the idol to 4ft and 6ft with the 'mukut'. Elderly members have been requested to stay at home. Members, in fact, are allowed to visit the pandal in small batches adhering to social distancing norms. Outsiders, the daily 'bhog' and flowers are being strictly prohibited to ensure minimum physical contact. Only two hours have been allotted for the morning 'anjali' without flowers and another two hours for the 'sandhya aarti' -- for members only.