Actor Amitabh Bachchan tweeted a video on September 8, 2021, as the first unveiling of this year’s Ganesh idol at Lalbaug. The Hindu deity Ganesh is worshipped with a lot of fervour in Maharashtra, with Ganesh Chaturthi being the most popular festival in the state. The Ganpati Puja pandal in Lalbaug is the largest and most popular, housing the idol known as ‘Lalbaugcha Raja’. This year Ganesh Chaturthi was celebrated on September 10. (Archive link)
T 4023 – ॐ गण गणपतये नमः .. Ganpati Bappa Morya .. पहला दर्शन , लालबागचा राजा 🙏🏼🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/JWUDw5Vs4I
— Amitabh Bachchan (@SrBachchan) September 8, 2021
The actor also shared the same visuals on Facebook.
FB 3053 – ॐ गण गणपतये नमः .. Ganpati Bappa Morya .. पहला दर्शन , लालबागचा राजा 🙏🏼🙏🏼
Posted by Amitabh Bachchan on Wednesday, September 8, 2021
The video tweeted by Bachchan has received over 2 lakh views and his post on Facebook garnered more than 4,500 shares.
The crowd seen in the video does not seem to be following COVID-19 guidelines. In fact, there was a row between the Maharashtra government and the opposition over the latter’s demand to allow places of worship to be opened. Thus, footage of a crowd of this size at a Ganpati pandal without masks raises red flags.
Alt News performed a reverse image search of the video frames and found another similar clip posted in September 2016. Upon further research, we discovered that Ganesh Chaturthi was celebrated on September 5 that year. All the other videos we found were from a few days old (since the pandals started being prepared a few days ago).
लालबाग च्या राजाच दर्शन प्रथम आपल्या करीता…
Posted by DJ Sounds and Best Dj, Videos and More on Thursday, September 1, 2016
A keyword search on Twitter took us to the original video shared on September 2, 2016.
First look at Lalbaug Cha Raja 🙏🙏🙏
Welcoming Ganpati 2016 pic.twitter.com/EyYy2C4I6V
— Manesha 🚩🚩🚩 (@Manesha76) September 2, 2016
We also found a video of the same gathering shot by news agency ANI from a different angle.
— ANI (@ANI) September 1, 2016
It is noteworthy that the Maharashtra government has not allowed any devotees to physically visit the pandal in view of COVID-19 restrictions. According to The Indian Express, the Lalbaugcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal organised an online darshan of the idol starting at 11 am on Friday, September 10.
The report also contains a picture of this year’s idol. Instead of the standard 14 feet, a 4-foot idol was installed in the pandal and looks quite different from the one seen in the video tweeted by Amitabh Bachchan.
To sum it up, the video shared by Amitabh Bachchan in his tweet numbered ‘T 4023’ and Facebook post numbered ‘FB 3053’ was shared with the false claim that it showed the first look of this year’s Ganesha idol at the Lalbaug pandal. However, this footage is actually from a five-year-old celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi.