Kolkata Literature Festival, A Confluence Of Ideas

Literature Festival, the phenomenon instantly reminds of an event dealing with authors and readers. Isn’t it? So when you hear about yet another literature festival happening in the City of Joy, Calcutta – you will probably shrug it off. But Wait! There is a catch. It isn’t just another literature festival. It is a confluence of many paths and many ideas.

As the festival director Sujata Sen pointed out in her inaugural address

“Kolkata has 3 different literary festivals but The Kolkata Literature Festival is one of a kind as it happens in one of the largest international book fairs”.

A literature festival in a book fair and that one of the best book fair. It can’t get any better than that.

The Diversity

The International Kolkata Book Fair as we know it is a confluence ground of people. Much like the sangam of rivers, it is the sangam of people. People of all kinds, from different strata of lives – the artisans showcasing their colourful works, the local small scale bookshops, big merchandise, independent little magazines, painters, sculptors, potters and of course authors and readers. Thus, it is natural when such a place is chosen as the venue for a literature festival it got to be a confluence of diverged paths. The Kolkata Literature Festival is just that.

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 The Inauguration

In its 4th year, this year, the Kolkata Literature Festival started with a bang. The inaugural session was graced by luminaries like the renowned Bengali poet Shankha Ghosh, Scotland writer Jenny Hall, Egyptian author Khaled AlKhamissi and many others. The session was followed by an ethereal performance by the Calcutta Chamber Orchestra, playing a plethora of western classics and also an instrumental rendition of a Tagore song.

The panelists further stressed the importance of watching different films and resort to any kind of films which speaks to them. Like Nitya Mehra said, one of her most favorite films was “Jane Bhi Do Yaaro” and how it depicts the frustration of the general public with regard to corruption, in the most comical yet sensitive way. The panelists stressed the need for films being realistic as well as aesthetic. In the end, there are no good films or bad films it is the films which speaks to us, those are the good films. As the moderator of the session, Shubhra Gupta said that she has included many popular films like Sultan as well as critically acclaimed films like The Bandit Queen in her book “50 Films that changed Bollywood”.

Thus we see, “there are no good films or bad films. There are only good stories”. Quite similar to books, right? There are indeed no good books or bad books. There are only good stories. Stories that speak. So that, my friend is the connecting link between films and books. The Author is the director of his book and the director is the writer of his film. In the end, both are storytellers. Both are creators and that is what performing arts all about.

The Future Ahead

In the next 2 days, we are going to witness many such ideas which bridge the gap in our thought process and unite all of us. So hurry up and don’t miss  The Sangam Of Ideas and while you are at it take a peek at the confluence of people, the people at the Book Fairgrounds. Don’t miss the most awaited session of the Kolkata Literature Festival, “The Valley, The City and The Village” a unique project where writers of Scotland and Bengal will be land each other’s land.

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