Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival 2016 14th Jan to 17th Jan, #Aklf2016
From the house of Apeejay came yet another social event for the 7th time which brought the society at a platform for effluent discussions and intimate understanding of the current scene of Literature and world issues, keeping focus in India specially related to Bengal.
The Celebrated People of this country and her neighbours were guests, honored by Apeejay group and the honor was to the name Kolkata, Calcutta whatever we wish to call this place ,synonymous to Literature and Art and its ever active voracious preachers and performers.
BEN OKRI – one of a kind of person with a mammoth proportion of empathy towards life, from Nijeria living in london,a poet and novelist inaugurated the festival along with Aparna Sen, Neena Pathak, and Anjum Katyal .The inauguration had the launch of the book by Anjum on Badal Sircar’s ‘Towards a Theater of Conscience ‘and the special screening of a Film Saari raat by Aparna sen.First time ever that cinema is taken at the same stance as literature .Thus started the dream sequence of following events which had most wonderfully saw an overwhelming participation of women through out, goes on to be instrumental indicators in actual betterment of society where woman is as intellectually active as any other person and participating in discussions on stage.
The First event ,discussion session on Crime writing and the participation of Writers who had varied professions starting from being an attorney to publisher to lovestory writers now exploring crime ,equally thrilling us with anticipation from different countries .Barun Chanda one the famous Bengali, coming from the advertising industry considered to be the toughest of all art forms to be an actor to be reckoned, a crime writer with his book recently released ‘The Coke’ was also a panelist.He says ”crime writing is fun”.In Italy crime stories are written by investigative journalists ,interestingly, forming an association to safeguard themselves and bringing out compulsive stories which are buried with force and power.’ I use crimes(writing) to talk about any irregularity in the world ‘– Pier Giorgio Pulixi of Italy Said.How crime has moved the writers to pursue a full fledged way of life in crime writing was stunning too.”My books are about gender involving gang rapes and surrogacy” Kamaleshwar said while describing his characters of the books. Barun expressed concerns in minimal crime thrillers written by Indians and most books are festival sale oriented and targeted for children.The dignitaries also talked about the rising crimes around the world.
“ The secret of a bore is it tells every thing” Voltaire quoted by Aman Nath was the perfect sum up to how covers are to be designed.How his book cover, on terracottah color of Jaipur,pushed the myth of pink city, as said by some British for king Edward was soo very important in proving his point .The book ‘Jaipur’ was overwhelmingly accepted by the west and gave a new identity to the city. The Book cover competition by the Apeejay was a wonderful platform of visual artists, to explore the language of a Cover Pictures.The Desiging of book covers though ages were discussed to show a generic understanding of the art behind them.
The panel discussion on relationship with our neighbours brought together writers from Nepal Pakistan and Bangladesh .Farah Guznavi from Bangladesh said ‘We don’t get an honest sense of each other because of the political fixation on Pakistan’ and Reema Abbasi responded with ‘Pakistan owes apologies to Bangladesh and it’s citizens’.With Farah being exceptionally frank said ‘We have been raised on lies’ spot onn is the reply from Reema saying ‘The history vis a vis we dont tell our kids bcz we are not ready to face ourselves ‘.The session truly crossed the line of our virtual understanding of the sociopolitical situation and the history of the land and was perfectly termed ‘Crossing the line’.Reema went on to sum up the exuberating discussion stating ” The antiquities we have should unite us. ”
Griffits review anthology saw the expression of new Asian writing where Jane Camens supported the idea of translators should be paid more to bring world literature to Asia and vis a vis.
The intense sessions were mixed with chats with Durjoy dutta and Ravinder Singh about love stories and fans were gaga all through out.
‘A is for Arsenic-Poisons of Agatha Christie’ celebrarting 125 yrs of Her was written by Katharyn Harkup. The Most loved writer, was unique in using 14 poisons to bring climax to her novels was the driving force for her to write a investigative book on her .” It was very very rewarding to go back to her books and find out there is so much chemistry “- Katharyn added “There is certainly enough material to bring out another book but but i have exhausted the alphabetic order of the poisons”.
A big ticket release of Vir Sangvi’s ‘The Mandate’ saw likes of Saba Naqvi noted Political journalist and Ashish Nandy Famous social scientist tore apart the politics played by the parties of India since independence in the center but praised the one and only Atal bihari Vajpayee as a true leader of our democracy.On being asked about the implications of growing intolerance of the minorities in the form of malda riots and burial procession of lacs of people for a terrorist Yakub Memon, The panel accepted the rise of radicalization of the minorities and the need to education, being the solution.
The Book Release by Anderw Duff on the Last king of Sikkim shed some informative highlights surrounding the most beautiful state and the international politics being played and India’s role in the past.The dagger land, Tibet,China,the last queen an American, and Duff’s family history associated with Sikkim made the book even more interesting. Sunanda Dutta wrote a book on Sikkim years ago and it was pulled out of publication siting court orders for trivial matter but the actual reason was to hide the sensitive information made public was one of the panelists for the release .
The Most inspiring session for me was the release of book by Keya a sonagacchi leader called ‘River of Flesh: The Prostituded Women in Indian fiction ‘, followed by the Reading session by Aparna Sen ,a story of Dumb girl being forced to prostitution was moving and the audience was totally moved by it.On being asked the AKLF’s part in contributing back to this society Anjum responded with witty overtones saying ‘the Awareness by Literature and a platform for discussion’.
The book release of the Biography of Shatrughna Singa “Anything but Khamosh” saw the likes of Goutam Ghosh Share stage with the man himself and they share the life story of Shotgun .Contemplating the birth of the now famous actress Sonakshi’s birth and the concurrence of Goutam’s film shooting at that time.The contrasting characterization of Chandal in Ghosh’s film and he visiting the hospital with the unkept beard and hair shivered his wife to think he was not happy with a daughter just like the general mindset of this country and Shotgun later reassuring of how happy he was.A progressive person who has come to politics to serve the people from the core of his heart ,a wonderful human ,Father,Actor,Political activist he won the hearts of all the audience.
The Book Release of ‘the Historic temples of Pakistan’ written by investigative journalist Reema Abbasi in Kolkata by Krishna Bose on the heart of Victoria memorial was an ecstatic blend of moment, sitting in an imperial building truly merged to the point of greatness of this nation in pursuit of relearning history and fighting for a better world together.Aman Nath a Hotelier by profession who believes in saving history by turning unmanageable forts and Palaces with a moto ‘We don’t let history gone by’, Atheist,being a Hindu ,did run through his childhood days in Lahore. The 10000 yrs old Kali temple in Peshwar, the Hinglaj temple are the highlights of the book.The construction of Temples and the architecture was heavily discussed as well.the Hanuman temple build in Pakistan by a Muslim was such a lovely story to hear. Another cracker of a session, ‘Undivided Legacies’ was moderated by saba naqvi.
The Release of The book by Meera Sayal on Surrogacy “The House of Hidden Mothers” discussion with Sobha Dey was a run away hit.
The world renowned Australian shef ,food and travel writer Christine Manfield known for her love of india released her second book on Indian and Bhutanese cuisines.The Panel of Nondon Bagchi the famous Musician and Food blogger ,Sharad Dewan the Head Shef of The Park and Vir Sangvi extensively discussed the uniqueness of Indian cuisines and Sharad quoted vedas and shared his pursuit for reviving the vedic style of food making enthralled the packed house of Kolkata Food Bloggers which was followed by a wonderful snacks , sweet toothing in the brilliant hall of the Park was enjoyed by all.The special display of magic by Christiene and preparing a dish on the spot was a sure dose of amazement for the avid bloggers and food lovers savoring the delicacies of time.
The Gand Ending of the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival 2016 in the most iconic building in Kolkata,Bengal,India the 200 yr old Indian museum the biggest and 1st museum of the country saw the Presence of Booker Prize winner Ben Okri reading his dreamlike poems and his confession of being a twitter poet astounded the audience present .The Recitation of ‘The Rhino’ for the Saving the Rhinos of Africa for a German Organisations for a group of Children was one such moving short poem.
The Last session of the whole intellectually packed enlightening 3 days ended with panel for discussion on Media on Social Change. And a mesmerizing performance of baley as a tribute to the event by Charlotte Jarvis with a poem Recitation by Ben Okri.
“baley is Dying’
The were numerous other wonderful sessions worth mentioning and praising till the year ends.With this I would specially like to thank the Social Bong team for making me part of this amazing experience, not to mention Atreyi Ghosh one of the Event Consultant on behalf of #aklf2016 and Kolkata for hoisting this mindblowing extravaganza of Film,Music and Literature .