One would not know whether it is on account of the fact that the film city is located in Mumbai or otherwise, but the towering presence of Lord Ganeshji echoes in all walks of life in the world of filmdom, in the same manner or rather in a much more intensified manner in the world of filmdom, probably owing to the fact that at times interventions from the superpowers are required to make a killing at the box office.
No wonder we have even distribution houses and production houses that take their names from various names attributed to the elephant God. After all Lord Ganesha is the icon that symbolized friendship, strength and is the helping hand in the times of distress and so it holds a high esteem in the film industry.
For the city of Mumbai, Ganesh Chaturthi (Festival) is its finest public exposition that a city could aspire for, where whole of city congregates in their own way to celebrate the coming home of the Lord Ganesha. The festival holds the same esteem in Mumbai as do the parades that happen in New York on their Independence Day or the Samba dances that dot the landscape of Brazil, because on the final day of immersion when it feels as if the whole of Mumbai has congregated at Juhu Beach and at Girgaon Chuapati.
While the influence of Lord Ganesha is profound in the world of cinema, the cinematic representation of Lord Ganesha is not that frequent as it ought to be in the world of Hindi cinema, though it needs to be underlined that in the Marathi cinema Lord Ganesha forms an integral part of cinematic exposition. As the festival unfolds from tomorrow and the city of Mumbai would be in a festive mood, it would be a perfect occasion to go down memory lane and list out some films where the festival has been given eminence:
AGNEEPATH: The latest version starring Hrithik Roshan had a complete song, or sort of an Aarti devoted to the lord and it was a major turning point for the film, incidentally the occasion of celebration of Ganesh Utsav in cinema has been chosen to give a point of departure to the story.
AGNEEPATH: In the original AGNEEPATH it was Big B who celebrated the coming of Lord Ganesha along with Mithun Chakravarty with the song- Ganpati apne gaon chale. Indeed, for the local Maharastrians who live in Mumbai to make a living, Ganesh Utsav is the occasion which they still like to celebrate at the native place, and so the song perhaps was a tribute to this ethos.
DON-THE CHASE BEGINS: If the Big B has done it then how would Shah Rukh Khan not do it! So, he also bowed in reverence to this God in the thriller, DON-THE CHASE BEGINS. Here it needs to be mentioned that in the world of Hindi cinema irrespective of religious feelings, this festival is celebrated by all and sundry and the family of Salman Khan is a shining example of celebrating this occasion. Farhan Akhtar using the metaphor in his film could also be his tribute to the city where he has grown up, and the same could have been the case with Shahrukh Khan as well.
WANTED: Salman Khan's super hit film WANTED had the famous song, Yaha Bhee hoga wahan bhee hoga, Mera hee jalwa, obviously his family has been celebrating the festival for years, so he is aware about the Jalwa of Lord Ganesha.
HUM PAANCH: After Mohammed Rafi sang the song, 'Deva ho Deva Ganpati Deva', for this modern version of Mahabharata in HUM PAANCH this song has become a signature song associated with the Ganeshotsav in all the pandals that are set up on the eve of this festival in Mumbai and across Maharashtra and other parts of the country.
ANKUSH: The street festivities and the romantic liaisons, as also the fights between various mandals during the time of festivity to assert the supremacy, a sine quo non of the festival in Mumbai was for the first time shown in stark reality by N Chandra in ANKUSH. He also subtly had pointed out how the occasion also is a platform for blossoming of various love affairs all across the city.
BAL GANESHA: It took quite a long time to make a movie underlining the relationship between Lord Ganesha and children, but when it did come out, it was a super hit and therefore was followed with a sequel as well.
Were Bal Gangadhar Tilak to be alive today, he may feel proud that the festival that he started as a symbol of protest against the British Raj and to unite people has now become a festival that identifies the ethos, the pulse, the buzz and the vibrancy of city called Mumbai.