Ganesh Utsav 2018: RK Studio Ganpati and the fate it awaits
Mumbai’s RK Studios. Raj Kapoor’s karm bhoomi that was once an institution for new wave cinema in India is now awaiting its fate after the crippling fire in 2017. The first family of Indian cinema has shown little interest in its resurrection or restoration since. RK was famous for three things. It’s films, it’s holi celebrations and of course the Ganesh Utsav. With the demise of its founder Raj Kapoor in 1988, the holi celebrations lost their colour. A tradition, that saw much participation from the fraternity.
Rumours of the Kapoors now looking for a worthy bidder are rife raising questions of whether like holi, the Ganesh Utsav too is now staring at an abrupt end.
One of the most famous and iconic pandal's of Mumbai, the RK Studio's Ganpati celebrations are as old as the Studio itself. Raj Kapoor founded the institution back in 1948; since then, the tradition of the elephant-nosed god has continued to play out on a massive scale for the Kapoor clan.
But would this be the last Ganesh Utsav for the residents of Chembur who have religiously made the celebrations their own over the years? We were torn for confirmation and thus travelled to Kherwadi in Bandra in search of Kiran Padmakar Patil, the man who has been supplying the studio with Ganesh idols for the past 15 years.
Kiran was busy getting the Ganesha ready for its long inaugural journey to the studio but agreed nonetheless to share a word on Mumbai’s most famous Star Ganesha.
Patil's father, Padmakar, had started the business in the 1980s. Kiran took over post his demise and has been doing so ever since. So how did Patil's father ever come to do business with the Kapoor? The story behind it is anecdotal. Raj Kapoor had called for sculptors from different locations to impress him with their craft. Patil's father was at the end of the thespian's adoration as he used the likeness of the mighty Raj Kapoor to make his Ganesh idol. Like they say, every idol has a story to tell.
While the idols were initially made at RK studios itself, over time, the sculptors had to relocate elsewhere. The idol is now made at a different location and is transported to RK Studios in Chembur.
Patil spoke with a heavy heart - He doesn't know what turn his business will take if the tradition is to be broken. Since making Ganesh idols supplied a majority of his income, supplying to RK Studios also brought in a ton of publicity.
We got in touch with one of the RK Studios worker and got the details about the cost of the Ganpati Idol and this is what he had to say, “In 1995 when I took over the management, the idol used to cost around 5000 rupees and now it costs around 18,000 to 20,000 rupees.”
Only time will tell if the tradition will continue, post the sale of the studio. Until then, Ganapati Bappa Morya!