With Diwali festivities taking over the country, we had a chat with the young scion of the Bera family to know about how the family celebrates the festival in the Jawai region of Jodhpur. From there we travelled to Indore, in the heartland of India, to talk to the zamindars and the oldest royal family of the city. Then on to Odisha, where Meenal Singh Deo shared how their puja centres on Goddess Kali.
YADUVEER SINGH BERA
Diwali is an extremely auspicious time of the year for us, as we prepare by deep cleaning and decorating our heritage home, which we also run as a home stay. Hence, it makes our role as conservationists even more essential. We are responsibly impacting the community and our guests, simply so that they can value and understand the special connection that Rajput families like us create between the past and the present. We illuminate the interior and exterior of our Rawla (castle) with diyas and beautify with rangolis, and perform Lakshmi Puja for the goddess of prosperity and wealth.
For us, it is typically a five-day-long festival, with Dhanteras marking the first day. Bringing in the New Year, we partake in family feasts, where mithai (sweets) and gifts are shared with friends, family and locals. Diwali is also a major cultural event for us as we are devotees of Shri Ramji Bavji and Bhavan Shri Krishna and Radha Raniji. On Dhanteras, it is customary to purchase gold and utensils.
The second day is Naraka Chaturdashi. But the main day of Diwali is on the third day, the day of Lakshmi Puja and the darkest night of the month of Kartik. The family Brahmin performs the puja according to the auspicious time. Daan punya (charity) in the form of food grains and clothes is also done. The day of Lakshmi Puja is a day to be home with family. The day after is marked as the last. For us, it is the day of “Rama Shyama”. The male members of the family wear turbans and are seated in a baithak, waiting to personally receive each person from the village who comes to wish us a happy new year.
Gowardhan Puja is done by first worshipping and then holding the tail of a cow and crossing a little customary river made only for this puja. Annakut occurs on the first lunar day (bright fortnight) of our Hindu calendar month of Kartik, which is the next day of Deepawali.
It is a very big celebration for us as we offer a huge variety of vegetarian delights to Shri Ramji Bavji and Bhavan Krishna and Radha Raniji. We have a large gathering as it is a special day and a tribute to our gods (masters).
We also celebrate Bhai Dooj on this auspicious day. We perform the Vishwakarma Puja by carrying out maintenance work in our workspaces and offering prayers. As you are aware of our safaris, equipment like cameras, jeeps and binoculars all bring home a fortune, hence, maintenance and care are important. On this day, we fix things and prepare for the season.
The history of Bera begins with the worship of Lord Vishnu followed by Krishna Bhavan and then Ramji Bavji. There have been different eras of incarnation worship. Culture, religion, faith and warm hospitality are natural for us and they are at a peak during Diwali. Maa Lakshmiji blesses our home with loads of happiness, wealth, good health and new connections.
Traditionally, we have Diwali celebrations starting from Dhanteras. We have a small room in the Rawala, which is only opened for Diwali pujan. We worship a Shri Yantra, which is taken out only on Dhanteras. Two chowmukhi diyas are placed for the puja. The older couple in the Rawala performs puja. No kapur puja is done as the puja starts on this day and continues till Diwali. Diyas are lit and their numbers keep on increasing till Bhai Dooj. Sweets are made by the ladies of the house to propitiate Goddess Lakshmi. Every day, new sweets and savouries are offered, especially on Nark Chaturdashi. On Diwali, we do puja in the Radha Krishna Mandir in the Rawala.
Ghee diyas are lit after the puja performed by the Rao Sahab. Diyas are then placed in a straw ‘supdi’. These diyas are carried around and placed at special places in the Rawala by the Rani Sahiba. The Lakshmi Pujan is then performed by the Rao Sahab at the Gadi in the Darbar Hall.
The next day is Annakoot. On this day, the ladies of the house make chhappan bhog for the deity and the entire food is carried to the mandir after sprinkling water on the way to make it shuddha (pure). Meanwhile, the cattle in our village are decorated with mor-pankha and mehndi designs. After bhog is offered to the lord, the gopujan is done. The cows are given poori and imarti, and the cowherds are also fed. The Rawala gate has traditional gowardhan made outside by ladies, who come especially for this purpose every year and to do leepan with cow dung. Since this day is also suhag padwa, younger people come to take blessings.
The festival is completed by observing Bhai Dooj the next day.
MEENAL SINGH DEO
Our Diwali has three important rituals. We invite our ancestors down to bless us on Mahalaya before Dusshera. It is on Diwali evening, and we have a havan to pay homage to them and see them off. It is ritualistically done by lighting jute stalks as mashaals and holding it up towards the sky.
On Diwali, we also perform a Kali puja, which is common in Eastern India (especially in Bengal), to destroy evil and egoism and pray that justice may prevail.
We also perform the ‘Alakshmi’ puja, in which misfortune, bad luck and evil are removed from the house symbolically by throwing out broken earthenware, worn out baskets and other broken utensils and objects. After that, a cracker or two are burst with a bang. This is done on the day after Diwali to ward any other evil.
Our Diwali celebrations, like most other places, also have a rangoli or chiita, which is made using rice flour batter. The house is lit with lights and oil lamps. Odisha is also famous for its crackers, made locally using palm leaves and terracotta.
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RITHVIK DHANJANI SHARES HIS EXPERIENCE WORKING IN CARTEL
MUMBAI: The show Cartel is an action drama with its core set in a family. The show primarily revolves around The Angre family and four other Crime Lords based in the different areas of the city. The trailer starts showing us “The Family”, with us getting introduced to Rani Mai, played by the versatile Supriya Pathak.
Dressed in a nauvari saree, Rani Mai is fierce. We are then introduced to her three sons – Major Bhau, Madhu Bhau, and Abhay – played by Tanuj Virwani, Jeetendra Joshi, and Rithvik Dhanjani. When one character asks Major Bhau how he killed the soldier inside him, his reply – “Mara nahi hai wo, Pehle wo desh ke liye ladta tha, aur ab apni family ke liye” – we can’t help but whistle.
With a humongous cast of around 137 talented actors, this highly ambitious show is all set to enthral the audiences with its action-packed trailer. Produced by Balaji Telefilms, the show has a stellar cast comprising Supriya Pathak, Tanuj Virwani, Jitendra Joshi, Rithvik Dhanjani, Pranati Rai Prakash, Divya Agarwal, Girija Oak Godbole, Amey Wagh, Monica Dogra, Vikram Kochhar, Vibhav Roy, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Sanaya Pithawala, Mayur More, Mrinal Dutt, Krishna Kaul, Aditi Vasudev, Keval Dasani, Kannan Arunachalam, Sushrii Mishra amongst the 137 actors in the show.
The Daily Guardian spoke to Rithvik Dhanjani about the series Cartel and experience working on a character totally different from him in real life. Cartel is your first web series, how excited are you for it? I am on the 19th cloud. Finally the series is going to be out after almost three years of preparing for it. Excited for the series to see it come alive and hope the audience loves it too. Blood, sweat, heart and soul has gone in making the series and wish the audience reciprocates it with love.
What does your character look like in web series Cartel, any preparations made for the same? How relatable is it in real life? My character in the web series Cartel is Abhay Angre. Rithvik and Abhay are totally different from each other in real life. Abhay is maniac, a child , he is like a ticking bomb nobody would know what is he going to do in the show. It is a lot of preparation gone in making Abhay. My team who has been there with me during the making of the series and Abhay helped me in order to achieve the mannerism and accent of Abhay. I secretly recorded the conversation so that I could imitate and implement what he says to get my character of Abhay to perfection. I am very excited to play Abhay as I am not what he is and that is what is more exciting.
TAAPSEE TO GO ON THE PITCH FOR HER NEXT SHABAASH MITHU
MUMBAI: Taapsee Pannu is devoting her complete focus to her first film, Blurr, which is being shot in Nainital as any first-time producer would. But, before heading to the high station, the actor met with Srijit Mukherji to discuss Shabaash Mithu’s future. In June, the noted Bengali filmmaker took over as director of the biopic on Indian women’s cricket team captain Mithali Raj, replacing Rahul Dholakia. Pannu is said to have detailed her preparation and notes for the part she has been playing for the past year at length during the recent meeting. She’ll start shooting for the sports drama in early September when Blurr wraps.
According to the news, the biopic was supposed to start filming in April, but the second wave of the pandemic forced the team to put it on hold. Srijit is currently in Mumbai, where he is laying the groundwork for the big film. The film will begin shooting as soon as Taapsee returns to the city, followed by a worldwide release. Mithali is expected to meet with the director soon. Taapsee was last seen in Haseen Dilruba, which received positive reviews.
SUNNY DEOL CELEBRATES 38 YEARS OF HIS DEBUT FILM ‘BETAAB’
MUMBAI: Bollywood actor Sunny Deol celebrated 38 years of his debut film ‘Betaab’ by taking a trip down the memory lane. The ‘Border’ star took to his Instagram account and shared a throwback picture featuring him from ‘Betaab’. He captioned the post, “Betaab 1983 4th aug.” In the priceless old photograph shared by the ‘Gadar’ star, the then 27-year-old actor can be seen sitting on a wooden fence with a scenic landscape in the background.
Released on August 5, 1983, the film featured Sunny and fellow debutante Amrita Singh as two youngsters who fall in love despite the class difference between their families. Sunny received a Filmfare Best Actor Award nomination for his performance.
The film was a box-office success and its songs ‘Jab Hum Jawan Honge’, ‘Tumne Dee Awaaz’ and ‘Badal Yun Garajta Hai’ were chartbusters. As per reports, the actor-turned-politician has been roped in to star in R Balki’s upcoming psychological thriller.
RANVEER SINGH SIGNED FOR BHANSALI’S BAIJU BAWRA
NEW DELHI: There were reports that Ranbir Kapoor has said no to Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s proposed musical love story Baiju Bawra. Sources close to Bhansali denied stating, “Ranbir has not been offered Baiju Bawra. The only time Ranbir turned down a role in a Bhansali film was when he was offered Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai starrer Guzaarish. Bhansali offered him the role that was eventually played by Aditya Roy Kapur.”
About the casting of Baiju Bawra, the source close to Bhansali productions says, “It is Ranveer Singh who was being seriously considered for the part. Bhansali’s focus was on the casting of Heera Mandi. But now since erroneous information on the male casting of Baiju Bawra was being leaked out, Bhansali has decided to announce Ranveer Singh in the ambitious grand musical’s title role.”
BELL BOTTOM STARS SPOTTED IN DELHI
It was raining stars in the national capital after a long hiatus as the star cast of the film Bell Bottom were spotted launching the trailer of their film. Actor Akshay Kumar also officially unlocked Delhi cinemas at the event. The actor was quick to encourage cinema lovers to make the trip back to theatres after their vaccinations but to do so while following all protocols so that cinemas are not forced to close again due to another wave. Bell Bottom will be the first Bollywood release after the second wave and reopening of cinemas which the team is hoping will encourage other filmmakers to announce the theatrical release of several pending projects.
The film interestingly was shot after the first lockdown abroad and is now ready for release much before other films which were shot earlier but still not released including Akshay Kumar’s Sooryavanshi.
The film is based on true events and the trailer has already started getting rave reviews. The film has an ensemble cast and stars Lara Dutta, Huma Qureshi, Vaani Kapoor & Adil Hussain apart from Kumar. Lara who plays Indira Gandhi in the film has also generated a lot of buzz on social media due to her transformation & prosthetics for the role. Here’s hoping that this film’s release brings much needed relief to cinemas & the film industry.
BECOMING SHERSHAAH WAS A DREAM COME TRUE MOMENT: SIDHARTH
MUMBAI: Ahead of the release of ‘Shershaah’, actor Sidharth Malhotra opened up about his experience of working on the war drama. “For me becoming Shershaah was like a dream come true moment… I think the biggest obstacles all of us face is fear, and Capt. Vikram Batra broke that and said it with style and confidence by saying ‘Yeh Dil Maange More, sir’,” Sidharth said in the film’s BTS video. Directed by Vishnu Varadhan, ‘Shershaah’ is based on the life of Param Vir Chakra awardee Captain Vikram Batra, who laid down his life in the service of the nation while recapturing Indian territories from Pakistani intruders during the Kargil War in 1999. Actor Kiara Advani, who is also a part of the upcoming film, recalled how Capt Vikram Batra’s parents were keen for Sidharth to play their son’s character. Jointly produced by Dharma Productions and Kaash Entertainment, ‘Shershaah’ will stream on Amazon Prime Video on 12 August 2021.
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