Ganesha brings B-town together

Last Updated: Sep 07, 2011, 13:52 PM IST

Shomini Sen

In a religion obsessed nation, Bollywood seems to be a secular place devoid of any caste creed or religion. Not just on silver screen but even off screens, stars celebrate festivals of different communities with much fervour. Cinema and more importantly cine stars know no caste or creed. A Muslim Salman Khan celebrates Ganesh Utsav with much aplomb every year with his entire Khan khandaan. And a Hindu Sanjay Dutt throws an iftar party for technicians and their family.

The Ganpati festival at Salman’s house is well known in the film circuit. The Khan family has been celebrating the festival for several years and almost all the industry makes it a point to visit the festival at Khan’s residence. Salman’s father, scriptwriter Salim Khan and his two wives Salma and Helen take care of the entire festival. Salma is a Hindu by birth and Helen a catholic. Slaman’s brothers, actors Arbaaz Khan and Sohail Khan have also gotten married to people belonging to other communities. In a way, Khan family truly paints a secular picture.

Industry insiders say that Ganesh Chaturthi is perhaps the only festival that is celebrated across the film fraternity. Not just Salman but stars like Shilpa Shetty, Bappi Lahiri, Akshay Kumar, Nana Patekar and Jeetendra all celebrate the festival.

The Kapoors have been famous for the Ganesh pooja. They celebrate the festival every year at RK studios and Ranbir has been spotted dancing on the streets on the visarjan day. The Kapoor brothers say that it’s a tradition that the family has been following for decades.

While a traditional Hindu festival is celebrated across the film fraternity, stars celebrate Eid with almost similar enthusiasm. Sanjay Dutt recently threw anIftar bash where he called technicians and their family to his place and distributed food packets and gifts to them. Sanjay had much to thank the almighty. The arrival of his twins earlier this year made the occasion extra special for him. Says a source close to the actor, “It was Sanju’s babies first Eid, so the entire family was extremely excited about it.” Sanjay who is married to a Muslim also celebrates Hindu festivals with similar enthusiasm.

Actor Shah Rukh Khan, who recently threw a grand party on Eid, celebrates Diwali every year with an auspicious Laxmi Puja. Married to a Hindu, the Khan family has always believed in celebrating all the important festivals of both the communities.

While a Hindu-Muslim alliance is still frowned upon in our society, in Bollywood, religion is not considered as an obstacle. Not only do actors get to celebrate all sorts of festivals in reel life, but in real life too actors make no qualms of celebrating festivals of other communities. And while we idolize our stars and impersonate what they do, one should also perhaps take a cue from these stars and rise above petty issues and celebrate humanity at large.