Durga Puja Themes 2011: Ekdalia Evergreen, Kolkata
The club recently tied up with Goethe-Institut, India, to showcase the work of Schneider, one of Germany’s best-known contemporary artists, at its Puja.
According to club members, Schneider, who went pandal-hopping in the city last Durga Puja, chose Ekdalia Evergreen because he found it suitable and convenient for displaying his art.
The traditionalist Puja hesitated to take up the offer. A lot of consultations led to the eventual green light.
“We are essentially a traditional Puja and not theme oriented. So we were apprehensive about the project,” said Gautam Mukherjee.
But Schneider’s assurance that he would not interfere with the idol and the puja mandap helped put the club’s fears at rest. So those who visit the Ekdalia Evergreen Puja every year will not miss the familiar chandelier inside the pandal, shabeki idol and the Chandernagore lighting.
The organisers have informed the artist about the high court rules and regulations and have been assured of compliance.
The project — “It’s all Rheydt Kolkata 2011: Unterheydner Strasse” — is a part of the 15-month-long celebrations of the Year of Germany in India.
The pandal will be one of the “constructed rooms” that Schneider is famous for. The club is reluctant to reveal details. The organisers want the project to be a surprise till it is almost complete.
“We are supposed to get the model in a few days. It is going to be a plywood and plaster of Paris structure, which will be dismantled and carried back to Germany after Puja,” said the joint secretary.
The artisans who will execute Schneider’s concept work for Ma Mangala Decorators. Its owner Amiya Kumar Sahoo has been constructing the Ekdalia Evergreen Puja pandal for the past seven years.
The club authorities are reluctant to reveal the cost of the project but they expect their budget of around Rs 25 lakh to go up significantly.
“We are expecting a 25 per cent increase in cost this year and are looking for funds accordingly. Goethe-Institut will also bear part of the cost. They will also set up a stall at the Puja and hold cultural programmes there every day,” said another joint secretary of the club, Gautam Basu.
Work on the project is expected to start by the first week of August with Schneider supervising via video-conference. The artist himself will reach Calcutta after Mahalaya to oversee the final phase of work. Every part of the project will be documented.
“Schneider has promised to spend Puja with us. We are honoured,” said Puja convenor Asish Chaudhuri.
While club members and residents of the area are kicked about going glocal, they are also nervous about how the venture will be received.
“This is something that has not happened in the history of baroari Puja. We are very happy that our pandal was chosen and also nervous about what our regular visitors will think,” admitted Gautam Mukherjee.