Sundeep Bhutoria

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ess bee

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Friday, January 17, 2014

At Jaipur's literary kumbh

With Suhel Seth and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen
Jaipur, January 17, 2014: Yesterday night I attended the spectacular Jaipur Literature Festival 2014 (JLF) pre-event dinner party at the Mughal Gardens, Rambagh Palace, hosted by the Hotel, which started from 7 pm onwards. The chilly winter night soon warmed up by the presence of heavyweights and celebs.
This year the theme was Polo and the hotel's sprawling lawn was decked up for the occasion displaying cavalry and bric-a-bracs of the regal sport with 30 horses and mashaal (torch) bearers. Captivating music by the famous “Saxophone Sisters” - S Lavanya and Subhlakshmi – made the evening magical.
Nobel Laureate, Dr Amartya Sen, was accompanied with his actress daughter Nandana Sen. Other eminent guests and authors were also present. JLF producer, Sanjoy Roy, co-festival director, William Dalrymple, Namita Gokhale, Suhel Seth, Irfan Khan, Manvendra Singh, Rajkumar Vijit Singh and others were present.
The buffet spread of “author-tails” (cocktails inspired by authors) was under the two large cavalry theme canopies with books on the table.
With Irfan Khan
Today morning the 5-day Jaipur Literature Festival 2014, as it is called this year, was flagged off at the Diggi Palace with increased space and capacity for housing a music stage. The JLF is perhaps the world's largest free literary festival with an estimated footfall of nearly two lacs spread over five days (Jan 17-21). It has all the makings of being a literary kumbh mela.
This year, the seventh edition, the Fest seemed to have increased in scale with new add ons to the main thrust. A new venue, Ford Samvaad, dedicated to the children and the young, was added. From two Nobel Laureates (Amartya Sen and Harold Varmus) to local language writers, Man Booker prize winners to debut novelists and literary superstars, the most remarkable, witty, sensitive and brilliant collection of authors from across the globe were all there speaking, debating and listening to a wide range of topics.
Over 20 languages were represented at the Fest including 14 Indian languages by 240 speakers. This time a new app allowed Festival goers to have the programme on their mobiles. The lineup included Jonathan Franzen, Javed Akhtar, Jhumpa Lahiri, Gloria Steinem, Shashi Tharoor, Ashok Vajpayee, S R Faruqi, Ved Mehta, Reza Aslan, Samantha Shannon, Ganesh Devy, MT Vasudevan Nair, Mahesh Dattani and Narendra Kohli.
The JLF Music Stage will have a line up of musical talents from Sufi to Soul, including Karsh Kale, Kiran Ahluwalia, Midival Punditz, Rajasthani musicians and dancers and Grammy Award winning band Tinariwen. The Jaipur BookMark, a new platform for the publishing industry will also be there with top names from the publishing industry like John Makinson of the newly formed Penguin Random House participating. Ford Samvaad, a new venue, is an add on to the Fest. Zee, British Airways, Ford and Mahindra Humanities Center have forged new partnerships with the Festival which is an indication of the kind of pull and popularity the Festival has acquired.
The Fest took off to a flying start with the keynote address of Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen - “A Wish a Day for a Week”. Sen`s seven wishes marked the opening of the seventh edition of Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) today. He hoped to see a strong right-wing party with a secular ideology come to power at the centre, media reporting to be more responsible and children getting quality education in a sustainable environment, among other things. The hall, as expected, was packed.
Tomorrow 6 pm I would be participating in a special session during the Fest called Dharohar: The Legacy of Rajasthani Culture along with Chavi Rajawat, K C Maloo to be moderated by historian Rima Hooja. I am looking forward to it.
ess bee

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