Sundeep Bhutoria

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Monday, January 25, 2016

Where is the Jaipur in JLF?

At the Vintage Car Exhibition
January 25, 2016, Jaipur: In the morning I went for the Vintage Car Exhibition and in the evening I hosted a dinner at the ITC Rajputana poolside to celebrate “January in Jaipur”.
With Shatrughan Sinha and Ila Arun
For the past few year January is dotted with events in Jaipur. Cultural and literary events like Jaipur Literature Festival, polo season, Rajasthan International Film Festival, Vintage Car Rally, Kite Festival and so on. So, I thought of celebrating January in Jaipur as a get-together format.
With author Anuja Chauhan
Held at the ITC Rajputana poolside, the event was attended by film stars, politicians, eminent writers, JLF delegates and the select few from the Pink City. Needless to say, ITC Rajputana did a fantastic job. Scrumptious spread of food and drinks that was much relished by one and all. What added to the charm of the evening was the mesmerizing Sufi music of the famous Sabri brothers.
With Kiran Shaw Mazumdar
The event was attended by Shatrughan Sinha, industrialist Kiran Shaw Mazumdar, MP and writer Shashi Tharoor, brand consultant Suhel Seth, former Union Minister and industrialist, Praful Patel, singer and cine actress Ila Arun, transgender activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, producer of JLF Sanjoy Roy and many other prominent authors.
With Maharani Divya Singh of Bharatpur and Shashi Tharoor
I am thankful to Mr Raghunathan Murali who went out of his way for first time ever not only to give whole Rajputana Poolside but also to allow the Sabri brothers to perform from Jharoka Bar.
With Kazam Ali Khan of Rampur
One question that comes to my mind often is that - Where is the 'Jaipur' in the Jaipur Literature Festival?
The city of Jaipur is conspicuous by its absence in the mega literary event. The city's culture is missing even as JLF becomes a global event.
Under pressure from the local writers and artists – some representation, of course, is being given to them at the JLF since past three years. However, their representation remains minimal.
With Praful Patel
At another level, there are many writers from Jaipur and Rajasthan who avoid attending the JLF. Their grouse is that Rajasthani literature is not aptly represented. A couple of years ago, on a request from the JLF team, I had approached few eminent Rajasthani writers requesting their resume to be forwarded to the festival team. The writers refused. They told me that they do not get appropriate respect and recognition from the JLF management. The local society of writers feel that they do not belong to the festival in any way.
For the Pink City, JLF means commerce. On the positive side, JLF has made Jaipur into a super brand. People from all over the world converge on to the Pink City to attend this Festival. Today, the rooms of all hotels are sold out; eateries have people waiting outside; the cabs have all been hired and the retail outlets are happy.
Another happier side to the Festival is that at the same time there are parallel events going on in the five star hotels, heritage properties and resorts in and around the city. For instance, I had four invites last evening to attend a dinner at Amer Fort's restaurant 1135 AD. Another one at the Fort, a dinner at Rambagh Palace and not to forget the evening dinner at Hotel Clarks Amer while I was hosting a dinner for Hindi, Urdu and Jaipur authors in Rajputana.
I was surprised to find that as many as 34 students had come to the JLF from a University in Sonepat to do a course on Jaipur Literature Festival: A Critical Analysis. The festival management decided to use all the students who had opted for the course to become volunteers at the event so that they get a firsthand knowledge of how the festival is run. There is no denying that the format of the festival is a huge success. I am sure, very soon a full-fledged study would be done by the famed Universities of the world.
Meanwhile, the Director of the Festival, Sanjoy Roy, said that a father and son have come all the way from the USA in their private jet to attend the event. They were complaining about the lack of parking facilities at the Jaipur airport for their private jet and had to park it at Udaipur.
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