News Paper Article on Dakshini Durga Puja 2011
India Journal, (http://www.indiajournal.com/?p=14105 )
India Journal, By A STAFF REPORTER
Bengalis Celebrate Durga Puja in SoCal
MANHATTAN BEACH, CA – Durga Puja festival was celebrated with revelry and merriment at Mira Costa High School here by the Dakshini Bengali Association of California from Oct. 7 to 9 and Lakshmi Puja on Oct 15. This was the 27th year of the celebrations hosted by the organization. A number of overseas artists performed at this 4-day auspicious festival season and it also showcased local talent of members.
The Puja Pandal set the stage for the gracious presence of Ma Durga and her children and its display was one of the highlights of this year done by the decoration team led by Subhendu Roy and Mohua Roy. This pandal was beautifully decorated with “alpana” created by a collage of straw, rice and pulses.
On Oct.7 the cultural programs started with a classical instrumental and vocal music ensemble composed and conducted by Suman Laha. His work captured the spirit of Durga of Puja for Bengalis, an assimilation of all the passions of Bengal: emotion, culture, the warmth of being together, the joy of celebration and pride in the artistic expression and celebration of the Goddess. The musical ensemble called Brindabadan incorporated instrumental and vocal music, presenting an opportunity for participants to engage in diverse kinds of instruments as well as vocal music.The ensemble started with a Devi Vandana, invoking the divine blessings of the benevolent Goddess Durga, adding a sublime and spiritual quality to the presentation, then Guru Vandana and compositions in Raga Mishra Khambaj in Teental, followed by Tarana in an entertaining expression.
The highlight were the performances by Sa Re Ga Ma Pa 2007 winner Aneek Dhar and Dipanwita Choudhury. Chowdhury sang some very sweet and melodious Bollywood numbers to which the crowd danced. Dhar performed many popular numbers and the two also combined in duets in a rousing rendition to delight the huge gathering.
The Oct 8 events started with a Bengali Drama “Chaak Bhanga Madhu” directed by Dulal Kumar Goswami. The major attraction of the evening came when more than 30 dancers from Southern California took the stage to perform the dance drama “Tasher Desh” that let the audience witness the magic of lyrics and music by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. Directed and choreographed by Reshmi Ghosh Choudhuri, the performance was electric. The outstanding performance was greatly appreciated by the nearly 900 audience who enjoyed every minute of the dance drama. The evening rolled on with a wonderful performance by Abhijit Ghosal winner of 11 consecutive episodes of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa in 2005. He performed almost non stop for three hours in an energy-packed session , exposing his extensive repertoire of devotional songs, olden goldies and the latest dance hits in both Hindi and Bengali.
Durga Puja wound down Oct. 9 , with the stage being taken over by singer from Kolkata Jayati Chakraborty, whose performance captivated the entire audience. The festival concluded with “Sindoor Khela” in which women of the community participated. The event ended on Oct 15 with Lakshmi Puja and another enthralling performance by Sivaji Chattopdhyay and Arundhuti Holme Choudhury. Besides a number of songs from golden days of Bengali music, Sivaji sang the popular song “Yeh Safar hai” from the movie “1942 A Love Story”. The kids from Dakshini Bangla School provided an enchanting performance based on childhood fantasies.
Dr. Kali Pradip Chaudhuri was conferred ‘Dakshini 2011 Outstanding Community Leadership Award’ during the course of the celebrations. Dr. Sarnath Chattaraj thanked all for their dedication and support.
Dakshini is a Nonprofit, Non-political, Charitable, Cultural and Educational organization was formed in August 1985.