Sundeep Bhutoria

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

A poetic evening with Gulzar


Gulzar

I returned from Delhi to Kolkata for two days on Friday evening to attend a two-day Poetry Festival organised by Viswa Bharti, Abrittilok and Prabha Khaitan Foundation with the support of Sahitya Akademi and Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Government of India, as a part of the Sesquicentennial anniversary of Gurudev.
Neelanjana, Gulzar and Arjun
The two-day poetry festival was held at Santiniketan. I was planning to go there this morning but the plan did not materialise and I had to stay back and at home.
Poet-lyricist Gulzar was in Kolkata on Saturday night to attend the next day's festivities at Santiniketan. Gulzar will speak on My feelings on Tagore and Translation of Tagore and Sunil  Gangopadhyay will recite a poem on Tagore. Soumitra Chatterjee, Martin Kempchen, Police Commissioner Gautam Mohan Chakraborty and Soumitra Mitra too would recite from Tagore's works. Mohon Singh and Tripti Chakraborty will sing Rabindrasangeet on the occasion.
I hosted a dinner at the ITC Sonar Bangla Sheraton & Towers poolside in honour of Gulzar (picture), and also to meet him and greet him personally. I was surprised to see his popularity. It was a packed house with not only cent per cent attendance but also celebs and others making a beeline to his dinner table to get autographs. There is something about Gulzar's countenance that is striking and his demeanour appeals to one and all.
Indronil and Barkha
Everybody congratulated him for his recent Filmfare Awards for Dil to Baccha Hai Ji as his poetry was being played in the background. Poolside view, tasty kebabs, biryani, specially-prepared lentils and the aroma of cigars created a perfect ambience. Thanks to ITC Sonar for the good show.
In fact, while selecting the menu, I decided I shall not keep any main course apart from biryani, dal and raitas, though I was a little apprehensive about how well it would go down with the guests. 
But my fears were put to rest when, one after the other, guests came up to tell me about the excellent menu. Some of them even told me that it was a welcome change from the hackneyed paneer, aloo, chana and pasta counter that has become so frequent in parties and dinners.
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