True to the spirit of the Jaipur Literature Festival, the Mumbai curtain raiser of one of the biggest literary conclaves of the world packed in music, song and poetry on Wednesday evening. Held at Essar House in Mahalaxmi, the event’s high point was an informal discussion between poet-lyricist filmmaker Gulzar and actor-poet-songwriter Swanand Kirkire on the former’s lasting influence on India’s literary landscape.
The four-day jamboree at Jaipur, beginning on January 19, will feature over 400 writers, musicians and artistes who will debate and discuss on issues ranging from gender identity and Bollywood to politics, Brexit, China and digital economy. This is the 10th year of the festival, and in keeping with that milestone, the scale of festivities will be bigger than the previous editions. “Jaipur Lit Fest is a riot of colour, ideas and moods,” says festival producer Sanjoy K Roy, MD of the entertainment company Teamwork, which has been associated with the carnival since inception.
“This time, we are commemorating 70 years of India’s independence. There is an entire series devoted to the Constitution of India, the ideals and principles enshrined in the incredible document and the freedom to dream. We will also display a facsimile of the Magna Carta, the 13th century Charter of Rights, which has been the cornerstone of many democracies around the world. It has been loaned to us by the British Library,” says Roy. Another crowd-puller will be a literary quiz by Siddharth Basu of the Kaun Banega Crorepati fame, informs Roy, adding that there will be an entire package on travel-writing and a series titled ‘Uninterrupted Women’.
Like its previous editions, this time, too, JLF will see an impressive congregation of regional language writers for whom the festival is a wonderful platform to showcase their works. “Thanks to JLF, there are now so many lit fests in the country. When established names in the literary world talk about their books and creative processes, new writers not only receive encouragement, but also learn from their seniors. It creates an ambience, an ecosystem,” says Kirkire who will release his book of poems Baap Kamaie at JLF.
The audience will also get a generous glimpse into Gulzar’s mammoth project of translating 300 regional poets from all over the country. “It’s what I call a poet a day for 365 days,” says the versatile genius whose translations of Rabindranath Tagore’s poetry have been widely acclaimed.
Speaking at the event, Shreyasi Goenka, Content Advisor of DNA, congratulated JLF for its stupendous success. “Zee Group is happy to be closely associated with the festival, which has grown from strength to strength,” she says.