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The spirit of Durga Pujo – Asian Paints’ heart-warming tribute to Kolkata tram’s 150th year

For nearly four decades, Asian Paints has been an inseparable part of Kolkata’s vibrant Durga Pujo celebrations through its initiative, Asian Paints Sharad Shamman.

The company doesn’t just participate, it truly immerses itself in the rich culture of Bengal, embodying the essence of a ‘sholo ana Bangali’ brand. The company’s deep understanding and connection with Bengali culture has allowed it to be an integral part of the creative evolution and artistic enhancement of Durga Pujo celebrations. This time, they introduce two meaningful creative enhancements, meticulously crafted to capture the very soul of West Bengal.

In a heartfelt tribute to the vibrant culture and people of West Bengal, Asian Paints, the company has orchestrated a magnificent transformation of Kolkata’s iconic tram from Tollygunge to Ballygunge into a living canvas, celebrating Kolkata tram’s 150th year. Both these unique creations encapsulate the very essence of West Bengal’s vibrant culture and traditions.

Royale Glitz Festive Pack

West Bengal is a treasure trove of mesmerising experiences, and Asian Paints’ heritage-inspired limited edition features an exciting, augmented reality (AR) integration, allowing customers to immerse themselves in the rich cultural tapestry of West Bengal.

Royale Glitz
Royale Glitz

With a simple scan of the Royale Glitz, consumers can embark on a virtual journey through the state’s heritage, witnessing its art, music, cuisine, dance, and architecture come to life in stunning augmented reality. The artwork in the AR features the Royal Bengal Tiger, the Howrah Bridge, the ever-famous Ilish fish, the Bankura Horse, Chau Dance, Alpana Art, and more. This innovative packaging is more than just a can of paint; it’s a gateway to the soul of West Bengal.

Kolkata Tram Festive Makeover

Kolkata’s iconic tram, dating back to 1873, is a symbol of the city’s history and charm. To celebrate this milestone, Asian Paints has given the tram from Tollygunge to Ballygunge a remarkable makeover coinciding with Kolkata’s most important month of celebration. The tram on the Tollygunge route covers all the famous areas known to have historic and significant Pujo pandals, making it the ideal choice for this transformation.

Royale Glitz bogie

Two bogies of the tram have been beautified by Asian Paints. The exteriors of the first bogie capture the extraordinary 38-year journey of Asian Paints Sharad Shamman (APSS) in Kolkata. It features hand-painted artworks honouring Kumartuli – the traditional potters’ quarter in North Kolkata where Durga idols are sculpted.

It also encapsulates Sindoor khela and Dhunuchi dance. The exterior artwork showcases the first print advertisement and the first winning pandal. The bogie also highlights the unique stories featured in ‘People of Pujo’ – a documentary series capturing the lives and passions of those who make Pujo the celebration what it is! On the tram we see a visually impaired artist who has commendable skills and women dhakis who challenge the masculine stronghold of the performing arts.

Inside the bogie, the makeover includes Pujo decor with cane installations, Alpona art, and a museum-style visual narrative of APSS’ transformative journey. Interactive elements and QR codes engage visitors with “People of Pujo” stories, allowing consumers to explore the stories of the people behind Durga Pujo festivities as they enjoy the tram ride.

Sharad Shamman Bogie interior
Sharad Shamman bogie interior

Stepping into the second bogie which is the Royale Glitz bogie transports passengers to a heritage Kolkata location, mirroring the luxurious appeal of the paint. The interiors boast the ultra-sheen finish of Royale Glitz and offers a Glitz photo booth for an immersive experience. The exteriors are inspired by West Bengal’s culture and landmarks, featuring augmented reality elements. The artwork on this bogie reflects the dramatic elements of the packaging.

Speaking on this occasion, Amit Syngle, CEO and MD, Asian Paints Limited, shared, “Since 1985, Asian Paints has been an integral part of West Bengal’s Durga Puja festivities through Asian Paints Sharad Shamman. It has been able to add to infuse creativity & thematic excellence across Pujo Pandals & allowed us to be a part of the celebration in a special way. This year, we are taking our celebrations to the next level with creative initiatives that pay tribute to the culture and traditions of West Bengal.

Royale Glitz bogie
Royale Glitz bogie

“The unique packaging for Royale Glitz seamlessly blends the wonders of technology with the timeless allure of West Bengal’s beauty. We have taken inspiration from native elements of West Bengal like the Bengal Tiger, Tram, Howrah Bridge & Baul to name a few, and used it on our Pujo packaging for Glitz. We’ve also undertaken a complete transformation of the tram from Tollygunge to Ballygunge, turning it into the talk of the town just in time for Kolkata’s most revered Durga Pujo festival. We believe in making art accessible for all and we are sure that this tram beautification initiative will also add back to the legacy of Bengal in an extremely meaningful way.”

Durga Pujo - Tram
Durga Pujo – Tram

Asian Paints onboarded XXL Collective from the St+art India family as creative partners for the unique transformation of the tram. Sharing more insights into the artwork, Arjun Bahl, Founder, XXL Collective said, “As we step aboard this tram ride through the streets of Kolkata, we get a glimpse of a journey that is a tribute to the city’s rich cultural heritage. This project, creatively led by XXL Collective, is a labour of love aimed at celebrating the 40-year odyssey of Asian Paints Sharad Shamman and the unveiling of their latest creation, Royale Glitz.

Speaking on the launch of the Tribute To West Bengal initiatives, leading Bengali actor, Abir Chatterjee said, “I would like to applaud Asian Paints for their meaningful tribute to West Bengal and its vibrant culture. Asian Paints Sharad Shamman, often dubbed the ‘Oscars of Pujo,’ holds a special place in my heart. Having had the privilege of judging in 2015 and 2018, I’ve experienced the magic they bring to Durga Puja firsthand. Their tireless efforts have elevated this celebration, making it even more extraordinary and inspiring for pandals. This year, they’ve taken creativity a notch higher with the makeover of Kolkata’s quintessential tram, a truly wonderful way to celebrate the culture and the people of West Bengal.”

Sharad Shamman Bogie Exterior
Sharad Shamman bogie exterior

Sharing her views on the occasion, popular Bengali actor, Sohini Sarkar said, “I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to Asian Paints for its ‘Tribute to Bengal’ initiative. I must say that I’m absolutely in love with the concept behind the unique packaging design for Royale Glitz’s festive pack and the integration of augmented reality. It’s centred around the vibrant culture and people of West Bengal and is a brilliant way to celebrate the essence of this beautiful state.”

As styles, trends, and attitudes evolve over the decades, one thing has remained constant in West Bengal —the spirit of celebration. Throughout these years, Asian Paints Sharad Shamman has proudly maintained its status as Kolkata’s beloved Pujo Awards since 1985. It symbolizes a commitment to nurturing, inspiring, and championing creativity and aesthetic excellence in Durga Puja pandals. It has been at the forefront of transforming pandals from simple setups to vibrant hubs of art, culture, and limitless creativity.

From creative pandals, Asian Paints has also gone behind the scenes to recognize and celebrate the people who make Durga Puja memorable for all. Sharad Shamman stands tall almost four decades on, due to the efforts of every artisan, artist, sculptor, and committee members who work tirelessly behind the scenes. In tribute to these remarkable people and the pandals that have been a part of the Asian Paints Sharad Shamman journey over the last four decades, Asian Paints has released a short video.

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