Actress Jaya Ahsan is popular in both Kolkata and Bangladesh with her traditional Bengali look and a knack for the diverse role. This year, this actress, who is turning into a producer by making Devi-based on Humayun Ahmed’s popular eccentric character Misir Ali, has spent her first Bengali New Year in Kolkata. In a recent interview, she talked about her experience of celebrating Pahela Baishakh in Dhaka and in Kolkata.“This is my first Nabobarsho in Kolkata and yes, I am missing my home in Bangladesh. I don’t really know how Kolkata celebrates the Bengali New Year, but in Bangladesh, it is nothing less than the Durga Puja festivities. The Mongol Sobhajatra procession from Dhaka’s Charukala Institute is something everyone should see once in their lives – it is so colorful! I think nowhere in the world is New Year celebrated this way: everyone, irrespective of their socio-economic conditions and religion, takes part in it. Nabobarsho in Bangladesh proves how secular we are,” said Jaya.
Every year she receives countless gifts, but what of this year? With a question like that, she answered with smile, “I lose count of the gifts I get every year – saris, spices, sweets to ilish maachh… As I am not there this year, I have told my domestic help to keep all my gifts!”
About celebrating Pahela Baishakh with attires and the general tradition, the actress said, “On this day, everyone wears traditional clothes in Bangladesh. So even a small girl will be in a sari, or boys will wear dhoti-panjabi. There have been times when I haven’t worn new clothes on Eid, but on Poila Boishakh, it is a must.
We still have the tradition of hal khata in Bangladesh. I remember how I used to visit all the shops with nanu (grandfather) so that my sister and I could collect sweet boxes and calendars. Finally, Nabobarsho is all about good food back home.”