Pratik Gandhi: 'I have some crazy childhood memories of Uttarayan, mostly related to my friends in Surat'

Pratik Gandhi talks about his love for the festival of kites, Makar Sankranti

Manasi Y MastakarUpdated: Sunday, January 15, 2023, 08:35 PM IST
article-image

Pratik Gandhi became an overnight national sensation with his turn as the infamous stockbroker Harshad Mehta in the web series, Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story.

A popular face on the Gujarati stage, the actor has also dabbled in Bollywood and has his hands full with quite a few projects. The Surat-born actor takes a trip down memory lane as he shares his childhood memories of Makar Sankranti and more.

Excerpts from the interview: 

What does Makar Sankranti / Uttarayan mean to you?

Makar Sankranti is a festival of kites, fun, friends, family, and a lot of Gujarati delicacies. Being a Gujarati, this festival holds a special place in my heart and life. Makar Sankranti, a kite-flying festival, is celebrated only in Gujarat.

What are your childhood memories of the festival?

I’ve always celebrated the festival with friends and family, especially in Surat. I had a good huge group of friends and many of them owned bungalows or houses. We would all gather on the terrace of one of my friend’s houses and have crazy fun eating together and flying kites the whole day. Preparing for the festival was the best part. A few days before the festival, we would buy the manjha and kites of different kinds.

I have some crazy childhood memories of Uttarayan, mostly related to my friends in Surat. I, along with 23-25 of my friends, would gather together and celebrate it together. Even in my village, Karod near Surat, the whole Gandhi family gathered on the terrace of our ancestral house. We did not have big speakers then so we played songs on small radio sets or tapes for the whole day. It was music, food, and kites... That’s the only way to celebrate the festival.

How do you celebrate it now? Do you fly kites?

Yes, I love flying kites. But after moving to Mumbai, I did not get enough opportunities to fly kites. Here, the festival is not celebrated on the actual day, which is January 14 (mostly). Only if it falls on a Sunday then people celebrate it. Also, most of the buildings have restrictions on the use of the terrace. So, I could not celebrate the festival in Mumbai much. In Surat, however, or any part of Gujarat, we celebrate it with a lot of enthusiasm.

The festival has a different vibe in Gujarat. How would you explain it to someone who’s never visited the state during this time?

This is the best time to visit Gujarat and experience the festival. The whole sky is covered with hundreds of kites of different kinds and I think happens only in this part of India. Of late, people have started bursting firecrackers, which is a little crazy, if you ask me (laughs). In the evening, you can see kandeels in the sky. Apart from that, you get to indulge in delicious Gujarati delicacies. This is the season of undhiyu and til gud chikkis and laddoos. 

Is there any family tradition that you follow while celebrating the festival? Any favourite Sankranti delicacies?

As far as family traditions are concerned, during Uttarayan, we make and eat different chikkis like til-gud chikki and peanut chikki. Since I am from Surat, so Surati undhiyu and phonk. The whole family and extended family would get together on Uttarayan and the next day (January 15) and have the feast.

The International Kite festival was held this year after a hiatus of two years. Have you ever participated in the festival? 

Unfortunately, I could never be a part of the International Kite Festival, which happens in Gujarat. Next year, I’ll make plans to visit… I want to take my daughter there.

What’s your work diary looking like for 2023?

My work diary for 2023 is pretty packed and I’m very happy. I am doing three films and a big web series, which is Gandhi. So, I am looking forward to recreating this character. I’ll be playing two Mahatmas this year — Jyotiba Phule and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. This can’t happen unless you are really, really lucky.

(If you have a story in and around Mumbai, you have our ears, be a citizen journalist and send us your story here. )

(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here.  To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

RECENT STORIES

From search and rescue ops to guarding the longest and busiest coastline in the world, meet the...

From search and rescue ops to guarding the longest and busiest coastline in the world, meet the...

Joy Bimal Roy: "I had to be careful not to hurt anyone’s sentiments since the saris had...

Joy Bimal Roy:

Here's why vitamin D3 and B12 deficiencies are called silent epidemics

Here's why vitamin D3 and B12 deficiencies are called silent epidemics

Meera Gandhi says, "Idea is to make more and more people happy"

Meera Gandhi says,

Mumbai's The Burrow offers delectable dishes along with solitude for a good time

Mumbai's The Burrow offers delectable dishes along with solitude for a good time