Offer prayers from the bottom of your heart: Jackie Shroff

Updated: Sep 04, 2011, 15:25 PM IST

He made his debut in Subhash Ghai’s blockbuster `Hero` and then went on to become one of the most sought after actors in the 1980s and 90s. With films like `Parinda`, `Ram Lakhan`, `Kaala Baazar`, `Tridev`, `Khalnayak`, `1942:A Love Story`, `Rangeela` and `Mission Kashmir` to his credit, this self-made personality has completed almost three decades in the Indian film industry and has acted in over 150 films.

Lovingly called Jaggu Dada, Jackie Shroff, who is also known for making his style statements shared his way of celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi with Gayatri Sankar of

What does Ganesh Chaturthi mean to you?

As a child, I used to wait for the Ganpati festival as this was the only time when I could watch free movies with my friends in the theatre. It was an event that gave me an opportunity to hang out with my friends at night. We used to hog on the street food and make merry. Then we had very little idea about what this festival means. However, eventually I realised Ganesha’s power and the importance of Ganesh Chaturthi. He is the remover of all obstacles; hence he is also called Vighnaharta. Without offering prayers to him, no work is complete. So everything begins with taking his name.

How do you celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi?

We keep Ganesha at home for one and a half days. We buy his idol that is made of maati (clay). We do not believe in buying huge idols of Ganesha and celebrating it with pomp and show. It is more of a quiet and a devotional celebration at our home. After a day and a half of the pooja, we immerse the idol in a vessel. The idol that we have is so tiny that it dissolves in water kept in the vessel and we then pour the water in to the Tulsi plant.

Any fond childhood memory related to Ganesh Chaturthi?

I and my friends used to accompany our area’s Ganpati visarjan team up till Chaupati. We used to dance like crazy on the roads as Ganesha used to follow us. That was hilarious.

Has the method of celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi changed over years?

Yes, of course. It’s more commercial now. Moreover, the kind of music that people play at the pandals are meaningless. There is less of devotion and more of glamour. Hindi and English songs that have no relevance to the Pooja are being played through out that leaves little scope for serenity. There is also a sense of competition amongst various groups who in a bid to make the best pandal and the biggest Ganpati destroy the basic essence of the festival. No matter how modest your approach is, you must do it with sincerity and devotion. The size of the idol does not matter, your dedication does. Most importantly, idols are being made of substances that are extremely harmful to the environment. Everything is adulterated and there is no purity. So when these idols are immersed, they tend to pollute the sea. One must go and see the plight of the partly dissolved idols - it’s a sorry sight to see. On one hand it unethical to pollute the environment and on the other an agonizing farewell to the Lord.

Finally, what would your message to our readers?

Offer prayers from the bottom of your heart and do not do it to show off.

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