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June 21, 2024

Kolkata Tram gets luxe makeover ahead of Durga Pujo

Payel Majumdar Upreti
The Calcutta tram is the first and only tram in the country to be operational from 1873. Now, an Asian Paints initiative has ensured a magnificent transformation of the city’s iconic tram from Tollygunge to Ballygunge into a living canvas, celebrating Kolkata tram’s 150th year, ahead of Durga Pujo. It is an attempt to capture the essence of West Bengal’s vibrant culture and traditions, which have been a constant source of inspiration for Asian Paints, claim the company. Said Mr Amit Syngle, “Asian Paints connection with Kolkata is not new. The company believes in the inclusivity and diversity which the city displays in full fervour during Durga Puja. This initiative is to add a little something to the festival.”
L-to-R: Actors Sohini Sarkar and Abir Chatterjee with Amit Syngle, CEO and MD, Asian Paints. Photo courtesy: Asian Paints
Asian Paints has a strong connection with Kolkata’s most awaited event of the calendar year, Durga Puja Mahotsav. The city celebrates the festival with utmost fervour, ever since the festival became a symbol of diverse people coming together to celebrate this festival. Every year, each para (colony) in the city, comes up with its own theme for the pandal construction. The pandal is not a mere temporary scaffolding where the festival is held. Rather, over the years, it has become an occasion to celebrate art, and a witness of the city’s local creativity and talent. There are talks this year, for instance to recreate Disney World at a Durga Puja pandal. Asian Paints has been celebrating this culture for over four decades, with its initiative Sharad Samman, where the best Dura Pujo pandals are awarded, a much-awaited occasion which is televised even for the diaspora.
This year, Asian Paints launched a new luxury paint to commemorate the occasion. In a heartfelt tribute to the vibrant culture and people of the state, Asian Paints has launched a special heritage-inspired festive pack for their luxury interior paint, Royale Glitz. The packaging, in red and white, are auspicious colours for Durga Pujo, visible in the alpana (floor decorations) custom with Bengali traditions, the red-and-white altapoure sari adorned by the women, among other things. The packaging also displays symbols which are easily identifiable with the people of West Bengal and the local ethos, the Howrah Bridge for instance, or the Royal Bengal Tiger, and alpana find its presence. The packaging features an exciting, augmented reality (AR) integration, allowing customers to immerse themselves into a cultural tapestry of West Bengal. With a scan of the Royale Glitz can, consumers can embark on a virtual journey through the state’s heritage including its art, music, cuisine, dance, and architecture come to life. The artwork in the AR features the Royal Bengal Tiger, the Howrah Bridge, the ever-famous Ilish fish, Bankura Horse, Chau Dance, Alpana Art and more can come to life.
Kolkata tram makeover


Photo courtesy: Asian Paints
The company has taken it a step further this season and decked up two bogies of Kolkata’s beloved signifier – the tram that once was the city’s highlight, and now is a continuation of its heritage.
Photo courtesy: Asian Paints
The exteriors of the first bogie capture the 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.
Photo courtesy: Asian Paints
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.
Photo courtesy: Asian Paints
Stepping into the second bogie, called the Royale Glitz bogie is a magnificent experience. It immediately transports passengers to a heritage Kolkata manor, coming forth strongly with the help of the paint. The interiors boast the ultra-sheen finish of Royale Glitz and offers a Glitz photo booth for an immersive experience. The artwork on this bogie is a continuation of the packaging. Asian Paints onboarded XXL Collective from the St+art India family as creative partners for the unique transformation of the tram. 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. Our collaboration with Asian Paints underscores our shared vision of making art more accessible and immersive. This was a milestone for us as well, transforming a simple tram ride into a cultural experience, reimagining the possibilities of public spaces in our city. As we pay homage to the past and embrace the future, we aspire for Kolkata to become a canvas where art and culture thrive, bringing this experience closer to every resident.”
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