Article Hindi

Ganpati Bappa Morya: When the remover of obstacles arrived at the climax

Lord Ganesha has arrived once again across the country, and especially welcomed in Mumbai. Hindi cinema has often used the great elephant god as a key element of their scripts. On the occasion of the Ganesh festival, we take a look at the moments when the great god arrived at a pivotal moment in the film.

Shriram Iyengar

As the city of Mumbai welcomed Lord Ganesha and is set to host him for the next 10 days, it is important to remember that the celebration has been immortalised as much on the big screen of Hindi cinema as well. From Amitabh Bachchan to Hrithik Roshan and now, Ranveer Singh, have prostrated themselves before the great god before lurching into climactic battles.

On the eve of Ganesh Chaturthi, we take a look at five climactic moments when Ganesha made an appearance on the big screen.

1. 'Ganpati Bappa Morya' — Dard Ka Rishta (1982)

True to his image, Ganesha, in Sunil Dutt's Dard Ka Rishta (1982) arrives at the moment when Dutt's daughter in the film lapses into coma. Struggling with his own dilemma, and the fear of losing his daughter, Dutt's character turns to the one source of hope — god. The song contains some of the early sights of the craze and fervour that surrounds the Ganesh Chaturthi in Mumbai.

2. 'Ganpati Apne Gaaon Chale' — Agneepath (1990)

One of the most famous moments where Ganesha found himself caught amidst a gangwar, Agneepath's 'visarjan' sequence is a paradox in many ways. It is during this sequence that Vijay's (Amitabh Bachchan) bete noire, Kaancha Cheena, is released from prison and plots vengeance against the hero. The song also arrives as the last dance routine before the film descends into a visceral battle between Kaancha Cheena and Vijay Chauhan.

3. 'Sindoor Laala Chadhaayo' — Vaastav (1999)

Perhaps it is his reputation as the remover of obstacles that brings the anti-heroes to his door when trouble beckons. In Mahesh Manjrekar's Mumbai gangland saga, Raghu (Sanjay Dutt) celebrates the elephant god even as his enemies put into motion their revenge. Throughout the sequence, it is only Sanjay Dutt's character who is shown with a sombre, nervous look, while the world celebrates around him. Even the presence of the great god does little to assure him of survival from sure destruction.

4. 'Deva Shree Ganesha' — Agneepath (2012)

In the remake of the 1990 cult classic, Hrithik Roshan's Vijay Chauhan begins the plan of his enemies' destruction with the worship of Ganesha. The sight of a 'sindoor' covered angry Vijay halting the plan to assassinate the commissioner, by revealing his true intentions, and name, is one that stands out. Finally, the worship of Ganesha as the destroyer of evil, does come through.

5. 'Gajanana' — Bajirao Mastani (2015)

This plot sequence might as well have played out in the background of a Durga pooja, such is the ferocity of Deepika Padukone's Mastani. As the celebrations for Ganesh Chaturthi carry on in the Peshwa household, Mastani finds herself, and her little boy, surrounded by assassins. The sight of her fighting off these killers, while Kashi (Priyanka Chopra) fights the evil of her own heart to tell the Peshwa the truth makes for a very tantalising sequence. Like a good dramatist, director Sanjay Leela Bhansali plays out the sequence with aplomb, timing the increased attacks to the rising tempo of the aarti.