BH CORRESPONDENT, Kolkata: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and other BJP leaders have skipped Holi celebrations given the coronavirus outbreak. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has also announced not to celebrate Holi after communal violence ripped the national capital.
Even Visva Bharati’s had decided to cancel Basanta Utsav as a precautionary measure to prevent a coronavirus outbreak. And though Kolkata did celebrate the festival of colours on Monday, the enthusiasm wasn’t as high as the other years. Of course, we found people gathering on the road and smearing each other with colours, but then there were some people, who did take some precautions too. People used sanitizers and some of the enthusiasts were seen wearing masks and joining in the festivities.
While there are some Bengali celebrities like Ritabhari Chakraborty, Priyanka, Yash Dasgupta, Raj Chakraborty, and Subhashree, who celebrated Holi, there were some who skipped the festival due to coronavirus outbreak. Actors Ankush, Vikram Chatterjee and Oindrila Sen also took part in the festival. However, Vikram believes that a large part of the coronavirus outbreak is also overhyped. “Let’s not unnecessarily panic. We should maintain proper hygiene and wash our hands and keep ourselves clean. But if we create an atmosphere of panic, it won’t really help,” said Vikram.
Aparajita Ghosh, whose directorial debut feature Mystic Memoir was screened at Kolkata International Film Festival last year, avoided a large gathering this Holi. “Coronavirus is, of course, a threat. So it is better to be cautious and try to protect ourselves. I am sad that for the first time we are not having Basanta Utsav in Shantiniketan, so I am in Kolkata. I spent my time with friends, utilised it as a holiday to catch up with them and avoided a large gathering,” she said.
Ahaa Re filmmaker Ranjan Ghosh, however, was in no mood to celebrate the festival after the Delhi violence. “I am in no mood to celebrate Holi this year after the recent Delhi massacre in which more than 50 were killed and bodies are still being recovered. The coronavirus scare has added fuel to fire. So, maybe just a token celebration with my close friends is all I am doing,” he said.
Choreographer Sudarshan Chakravorty, who will be seen as an actor in Arjunn Dutta’s Bengali film Shrimati, said it is only sad that a virus has barred the society to gather in large number. “A virus has crippled the entire society and we are scared today to participate in a community festival. Imagine Visva-Bharati’s had to cancel Basanta Utsav due to coronavirus scare. So, this Holi, I have kept myself indoors,” said Sudarshan.
Actor Mainak Banerjee is glad that this type of coronavirus didn’t exist during childhood. “At least we could enjoy all festivals without any worry in our childhood but now, the way coronavirus is spreading, it’s better to take some precaution,” he said.