What Durga Puja missed till now was accomplished last year by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury – a short film. Debi was his first short film and he hit the home run.
The Bengali short film Debi has been very successful among the social media. It achieved one lakh views in Youtube within a few days of its release. Debi had become a landmark short film fin regards to the language and genre. It received critical acclaim for its short and compelling story line, amazingly detailed scenes and how well it excellently portrayed the Durga puja festivity. The film also delivers its message in subtle layers which makes it all the more watchable.
Debi – The Homecoming
The story revolves around the life of a mother and daughter who live in the United States. After two decades, they visit their ancestral home during the Durga Puja. National award winner actress Ananya Chatterjee plays Anu (Anuradha), the mother and Monali Thakur plays her daughter, Lali.
Anu’s family is a typical traditionally rich Bengali family who hold the Durga puja at their mansion every year. But there is a reason for Anu’s long absence. She married a Muslim man much against the wishes of her mother. He mother never got over the shock of her Hindu daughter marrying a Muslim, thus leading to mutual estrangement. Anu accepted her fate and settled in the US without keeping any connection with her family. However, her husband left within a few years. But strong of heart, she raised her child as a single mother.
Lali visits the ancestral house for the first time and is welcomed warmly by her relations. She sees for the first time the making up of the Durga Puja idols. She finds the home bubbling with the festive mood. As Anu keeps her tough guard up refusing to give away to her emotions, Lali takes everything in open-heartedly. She finds a friend in her cousin Anik ( played by Arjun Chakrabarty). She speaks and discovers things that have never been discussed with her mother.
Lali misses the grandmother whom she never had the chance to meet. In her cupboard, she finds her diary. The grandmother’s diary is full of lovingly written cuisines that she used to make.
While Ashtami draws near, Lali decides to cook up the grand meal with help from her cousin. She follows the recipes from her grandmother’s diary.
The climax of the short film is the grand Bengali lunch. While Lali surprises all with the food with the grandmother’s touch, Anu’s dam breaks. All the pent up emotions of her broken heart come out. Although she does not say, it is apparent that she missed her mother and family. She was too tired of being strong.
One of the beautiful things about the short film is that all the rituals of the Durga puja right from the making have been brilliantly shown. It is a fast paced story and will make you watch right till the end. What happens in the end? We leave it for you to watch.