Ganesha, screen stars and nostalgia…

Updated: Sep 18, 2012, 16:30 PM IST

As Lord Ganesha comes down on earth for his annual visit, celebrations and fervor have gripped the air. There is misty spell around all of us which beckons us to come out and rejoice and celebrate and make merry. Like the rest of us, celebrities of small screen also have plans to celebrate Ganesh Utsav. spoke to some the TV stars and asked them about the festival. Here's what they said:

Sameer Dharmadhikari

‘Raincoat’ actor and model Sameer Dharmadhikari is a stauch devotee of Lord Ganesha. Talking about what the Utsav means to him, he said, “I love Ganesh Chaturthi because I love having guests at home. Nowadays, we keep so busy that we hardly find time to spend with our friends and family. So on this auspicious day, friends and relatives come home and we celebrate this festival together.”
Dharmadhikar celebrates Ganesh Chaturthi in a unique way. “We make Ganesha’s idol at home every year. We offer our prayers to the new Ganesh and also previous years Ganesh. After one and a half days, we do the visarjan of the previous years’s Ganesh and retain the new idol,” the actor said. Sharing memories of his childhood, Sameer said, “As a kid, I loved singing Ganesh Aarti loudly. We used to have a pooja in our society with dholak players beating the dholaks in harmony. I loved accompanying them as a singer. It was all about a gala get-together.” But the actor does have an important message to convey. He said, “Please do not buy Ganesha idols made of POP and other non-eco friendly materials. It is certainly not a good idea to pollute the environment. And secondly, even the Lord wouldn’t appreciate the fact that we are making a mess of the environment. It would be nice if you could make idols of clay. One can find God even in a stone. So it is not necessary to splurge on big idols that may harm nature.”

Vineet Raina

For actor TV actor Vineet Raina Ganesh Chaturthi means new beginning. Here’s what he said: It really means a lot to me. Lord Ganesha is a symbol of new beginning, so I pray. The eleven days of Ganpati festival are magical, it’s a divine feeling, and it’s a beautiful festival. I pray and wish that Mangal-Moorti does mangal to all of us. Going down the memory lane, Raina said, “My granny used to make delicious laddoos.The baccha gang that included me, used to steal and eat them. The moment granny used to come to know that we have stolen them, she would hide them. But a notorious lot that we were, we could manage to find the secret place where she would have kept the laddoos. And then we would be caught and smacked.” However, he does feel that Ganeshotsav is extremely commercialised nowadays. He said, “Everything changes with time. I think celebrations have become more grand, loud and commercial. Simplicity is missing.” The actor, who played the lead actor in Zee TV’s ‘Maayka’ had a special message for his fans. “I would request people to opt for Eco- Friendly Ganesha idols for visarjan. We must be responsible towards the environment as well. Do not play loud music. Please do not pollute water, soil and air. Respect and protect nature. Enjoy the festival in a healthy way to the fullest,” the actor said.

Prachi Shah

Me and my husband go over to my brother in law’s place usually for the festival. Every year Ganpati puja is celebrated at his place.The festival has changed over the years though. I think it has become more commercial over the years. Besides, the traffic situation remains bad in Mumbai those ten days. But, off late I have noticed that it has become more organized. Earlier we used to avoid going out especially near Juhu beach during this period, now we can still think of venturing out.

Sandeep Soparkar

We celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi with great fervor. It is an annual celebration time for everyone in my family. I have fond memories of how we used to welcome Ganesha home and perform the puja. It used to be grand affair then and it still is in the present time for me.

My parents use to belong to Pune so I have as a child celebrated it in Pune. There it used to be a lot more cultural affair with classical dancers and musical performances. The festival is celebrated in a traditionally richer way in Pune than what it is celebrated in Mumbai.

It has changed a lot over the years. It has become more commercial and noisy as an event. The Bollywood music is being played at pandals which makes it a lot more commercial than a traditional looking festival.
I believe god is sacred and it should be celebrated in a traditional cultural way rather than commercially with Bollywood music and theme.

Have a great Ganesh Chaturthi…god bless great happiness to you all and please try to not make it noisy that is one message I would like to give for sure.

Kashmera Shah

I have grown up with Ganesh Chaturthi. We celebrate Eid and Ganesh Chaturthi with equal fervor at home. Born in Goregaon – old Mumbai, I learned dance from street celebrations. As I am half Maharashtrian, the whole family comes over to my house. On this day, we make food without onion and garlic. However, I get depressed during Ganpati visarjan. We have always treated Ganpati like the member of our family. I’d request everyone to celebrate the festival fervor and request people not to eat non-vegetarian food during Ganesh Chaturthi.

Mukesh Rishi

The festival, Ganesh Chaturthi holds a special place in my heart. By welcoming Lord Ganesha in our homes, we not only make our living place pious but also our thoughts and consciousness pure.

As kids, in our childhood we use to enjoy the procession and go to the Juhu beach for the visarjaan which is something I do not do anymore. If we bring a Ganesha at home then we do go but not otherwise as young kids, we went to the beach to see visarjaan every year.

Yes, the celebration has changed over the years it has become larger now, it is celebrated at a larger scale peoples belief in god has increased. And due to media’s coverage, the publicity of such events has increased as compared to earlier years.

I would like to wish all the people an environmentally friendly Ganesh Chaturthi. We should be good to our nature, being good to nature means being good to god. People should try and use environment friendly Ganesha so that it does to add to polluting our environment, we must preserve our environment that has been gifted to us by god.

Nupur Alankar

Ganesh Chaturthi, karwa chauth and suhaag poornima are the three fasts I have grown up seeing my mom keeping since my childhood. Many might know that here in Mumbai, the mass celebration of Ganpati festivals was started by Bal Gangadhar Tilak (for whom I have an utmost respect) to show revolt and strength of unity of Indians against Britishers’ divide and rule policy. And since then it became a trend and still is. My celebration is not a very grand scale but I have great faith in Ganpati Bappa. But over the years, the way of celebrating the festival has changed, it is more about fashion and not about religion anymore sadly.

Utkarsha Naik

Popular TV actress Utkarsha Naik is spiritually inclined and hence Ganesh Chaturthi is a very special occasion for her and her family. Talking about what the festival means to her, Naik said, “I am spiritually rooted so on Ganesh Chaturthi, I feel as if I have moved back in time to an era when Ganesha was born. Indian spirituality is the oldest and we discovered the galaxy much before any one could do with the help of scientific gadgets and machines. So, in a way Ganesh Chaturthi acts as a time machine that helps me visit the olden era.” Utkasrha works round the clock. Her work commitments keep her on her toes leaving little time to perform pooja at home. She said, “I do not find time these days to conduct Pooja at home. However, I do pray to Lord Ganesha and make modak for him. I also visit my friend’s place to take part in the Chaturthi celebrations.”
However, Utkarsha does cherish the time she had conducted a pooja at her residence for the first time. “When we did Ganesh Pooja for the first time, we decorated Ganesha’s aasan beautifully and had also made a chariot for him. We spent a lot a time thinking how we could make it more beautiful and I cherish this memory a lot,” said the actress. But Utkarsha feels it is important to be spiritually inclined because modern lifestyle leaves you exhausted. “People’s lifestyle has changed drastically. But as long as we welcome Ganesha with devotion, there is nothing that can spoil the novelty of the pious day.” “Ganesh Chturthi reminds me of Lokmanya Tilak. It was his idea to make Ganesh Pooja a community festival. His aim was make people a cohesive unit during the reign of the Britishers. We need to maintain the same spirit and have Sarvajanik Pooja so that collectively we (Indians) can fight all problems,” the actress added, laying more emphasis on the real purpose behind the collective celebrations.