Dhunuchi naach has become a prominent symbol of Durga Puja celebrations . The trans-like dance, performed to the beats of the dhaak, is a crowd favorite at community puja events around the world .
In recent years, the Dhunuchi naach has become a prominent symbol of Durga Puja celebrations.The trans-like dance, performed to the beats of the dhaak, is a crowd favorite at community puja events around the world, with the purifying smoke emanating from the dhuno and coir burning in the burner.Although dhunuchi naach was performed solely by men, more women have stepped forward and cherished this custom as their own.Celebrities such as Sushmita Sen and Paoli Dam have been performing in dhunuchi naach with a tremendous grace and passion, enabling more women to participate in this visually stunning performance.According to Madhoboni, dhunuchi naach has no structure; one simply lets the body move to the hypnotic beats of the dhaak and the rhythm begins to pick up speed.One goes into a trance-like state and just goes with the flow, she says, admiring how women in this dance, dressed in traditional finery and vermilion streaks on their face, are all about breaking barriers, asserting their dignity, their wealth, and their beauty.And as maa durga watches on, she says, she is laughing.Chitrangada Satarupa, a singer, agrees. I've seen my very close friends mothers do dhunuchi naach with such grace, effectively owning the space.My conditioning has thus been very different from the norms.Women in the household are not eligible for the dhunuchi naach, according to Pronota Banik, whose maternal family hosts the centuries-old Jorasanko Daw Bari Durga Pujo.According to her, this has been a relatively recent phenomenon, as a result of celebrities embracing this dance form in films and at various venues. It is not part of the Pujo rituals.There's nothing particular about it.She says the movement is only common among young people, although she stresses that it is typically performed during the evening arati, where the dhaakis perform longer segments.Bengali women were discouraged from dancing in formal and festive settings, which was significant. Although female dhaakis and priests have been rewriting the script for this festival, it is also a turning point for women who join in the reimagining, dancing away their fetters to the dhaak's beats.And before a few years back, dhunuchi naach was a man's field.But you will see many women doing it at pandals today.It's all about women's empowerment, to me.