This year, Sankranti celebrations are special for Pranitha Subhash and the festivities have taken on a special meaning for her and her now bigger family. A festival that was once marked by distributing sweets and ellu bella (sesame and jaggery mixture) as a child, and later as making time for the family while shuffling the demands of being an actor, this year, the celebrations are more traditional.

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In a candid chat, Pranitha revealed that being mother to 7-month-old Arna has really changed the way she celebrates Sankranti. “All these years, Sankranti was a day that was celebrated just because it is a festival. I was usually busy with shoots or other work commitments. As a child, all my memories of Sankranti are of going house to house to distribute sweets. But this year, it’s more about participating in pujas, and the more traditional and religious aspects of Sankranti. This year, we are celebrating the festival the way my in-laws do, so it’s fun to explore the different rituals,” she says. 

Of course, no festival is complete without its traditional dishes, and for Pranitha, Sankranti has always meant feasting on what seemed like an unlimited amount of sakkare acchu (figurines made with sugar syrup) ever since she was a child. “I never even gave a second thought to how much sakkari acchu I used to eat before I became a mother! I realise now that it is pure sugar and I’ll probably put on weight just sniffing it. So, I’m limiting the amount of sakkare acchu I have this year,” says Pranitha with a laugh.

Pranitha, who says that she doesn’t cook regularly, ensures that she partakes in the entire cooking process during festivals. And festive food has a special place in her life, because she says that it is something that is special to each household. “Each festival revives the whole cuisine of festive food – yes, it is a cuisine in itself! These days, any kind of food is accessible on Swiggy or in hundreds of restaurants. Yet, festival food is something that is still available only in your house,” she explains.

So, what’s special in the Subhash-Raju household? “All the traditional food items, such as kosambari, puliyogare, chitranna, bajjis, and, of course, the classic ellu-bella-kadalekai mixture. I absolutely love munching on ellu bella, because it is packed with nutrients. I am also feasting guilt-free on ellu laddoos this year – they are my favourite Sankranti dish,” says Pranitha, who is celebrating the festivities with her husband, businessman Nitin Raju, and his family. 

Although her daughter is still very young, we ask Pranitha if there is a special Sankranti ritual that she wants to pass on to Arna. “As my daughter grows up, I would love to teach her how to make sakkare acchhu at home. I remember making it in different shapes at home when I was young, and it is a fond childhood memory,” Pranitha signs off.