“Bravo Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival for bringing together so many colours and nationalities to our city!” -Mimlu Sen
“I really enjoyed this Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival. It was quite a good experience and I like the organization and last but not the least I would like to thank the Director and all the staff who gave the beautiful opportunity to perform on such a big occasion.”-Pt. P.K. Mullick
“I cannot tell you how happy I am to be at this festival.”-Peter Pannke
“This was a new Kolkata- and an old one. Thank you for showcasing the city for the world; showcasing the world for the city- and bringing me home. See you next year.”-Bachi Karkaria
“A memorable event- Splendid way of ushering in the New Year.”-Kadambari Kaul
“Thank you Apeejay Litfest for giving me the opportunity to share my interest, enquiry & jouney of discovery with you and all the participants. I hope the litfest grows, is enriched over the years with participation of many more and hope we meet again.”-Rta Kapur Chishti
“Loved being here for the festival. It’s been great fun- very interesting.”-Sam Miller
“The Saree and Beyond 2010- It was such an experience to witness Rta’s enthusiasm & passion for “saris”, their weaving and the men who wore them. I don’t think anyone else can boast of as many styles of wearing the saree as she does and I hope she can inspire us and others to take her work forward and I wish her more energy more success and look forward to participating in her workshop.”-Moonmoon Sen
"And I think everyone had a lot of fun. Hopefully all the kids(+ their parents) will associate books and reading with PLEASURE- and grow up to be book-lovers for life.” -Anita Roy
“It has been a priviledge to be involved in a real Bengali ‘Adda’. Thank you for including me.”-Joanne Taylor
AKLF 2010 - DAY 1 , Jan 15th 2010
Launch - Igniting Young Minds Venue: Apeejay Anand Library and Branded Tram Time: 11.00 a.m. Partner: Apeejay Anand Library
The Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival began on 15th January at 11 AM with the inaugural event at Apeejay Anand Children's library. 100s of children gathered to see the fantastic performances by Anand Library kids including a skit presented by Apeejay School students. Bikram Ghosh, Jaya Seal, danseuse Alakananda Roy were touched by what they saw and applauded all the way. Each of them went up on the stage and spoke from their heart and wished AKLF and Anand Library kids the very best. Bikram Ghosh was so fantastic in his impromptu performance that every kid and adult in the room wanted to be who he was, to do
with their own cheeks and hands what he did with his. It was an electric atmosphere and the volunteers helping out AKLF team had a super tough time ensuring the auditorium did not become a playground. Ganesha Vandana performed by Dancer Arupa Lahiri calmed everybody down a bit and though it ended the show but another one was just ripe to begin. The Anand Library kids dug into the goodie bags full of gifts, snacks and fruit drinks and demanded what next from their Apeejay School student minders. The school had turned into a mela and with a lot of effort all kids and school staff were assembled in serpentine Qs. It isnt easy walking down the ever buzzing Park Street at mid-day but everything seemed easy on 15th . The winter sun shone down warmly and all the bystanders clapped enthusiastically urging the parade of kids marching towards nearest Kolkata Tram crossing at Mallikbazar, Park Street with AKLF flags. A surprise was in store - a CTC tram had been painted in the Festival colours and the smiling Kolkata Traffic Police was there to help the Anand Library kids, most of them from slums in and around Park Street, hop onto it. The Tram driver and conductor had not in a long time seen that much activity in their trams and kolkatans on the road stopped to watch. Suffices to say that we brought kolkata's busiest crossing to a standstill for a few minutes and the kids loved the fuss! On the tram was waiting puppeteers which even the adults in AKLF team had not seen in a long long time. The singing puppeteers kept getting down to switch cabins in the Tram to keep everybody entertained and we must add on demand from the "other" cabin. In fact we confess that the AKLF team was behaving so childishly that they were dealt wih firmly by the event management partner Showhouse. By the time it was time to reach the store for the 3 PM event, we really felt we had done justice to what we set out to do and i.e Igniting young minds
At 3 PM, at Oxford Bookstore Kolkata, Zubaan Books authors Anita Roy and Padmini Mongia conducted hand puppetry and dramatised reading for the children from various Schools in Kolkata who filled up the Store and the Gallery. The event ended over refreshments for the over 100 children and their guardians and teachers.
Reading Kolkata and the World Venue: St. John's Anglican Church Time: 07.00 p.m. Partner: Penguin Books India
At 7 pm , at St. John's Anglican Church, eminent panelists Amit Chaudhuri,Sunil Gangopadhay, Bachhi Karkaria, Sam Miller and moderator Sujata Sen discussed the topic with the audience participating enthusiastically. It was a chilly evening and audience was served with chai and samosas, RJ Arpan from Fever 104 FM, AKLF's Radio partner covered the event LIVE interviewing Festival member and Sunil Gangopadhyay. The audience enjoyed Bachhi Karkaria's humour, Sam Miller's witty statements, Sunil recitations...and much more
Sex and the City Venue: Roxy, The Park Kolkata Time: 11.30 a.m. Partner: Westland | Tranquebar
Day 2 morning was bustling and all roads led to the Park or to Oxford Bookstore both in city centre, Park Street with two radically different events going on side by side.
Westland Tranquebar was hosting this extremely ecclectic and provocative discussion at the most appropriate venue there could be,the Roxy at The Park Kolkata. It was bright morning outside and dark with blue lighting inside Roxy. Ruchir Joshi,Sonia Jabbar, Anita Roy, Rimi Chatterjee moderated by Bachi Karkaria held the audience in awe with finger food and beer from our partners, Seagrams, for company.
Telling Stories : The Graphic Novel and Original Music Venue: Oxford Bookstore Time: 11.00 a.m. Partner: Oxford Bookstore
OxfordBookstore was meanwhile hosting a completely different type of audience in thronge for Telling Stories : The Graphic Novel with Original Music by the Five Little Indians. Sarnath Banerjee, Subhadra Sengupta, Debjani Mukherjee were the panelists for the event, moderated by Dr Abhijeet Gupta. The discussion was interspersed with audio-visual presentations and engrossing performance by Five Little Indians. The refreshments served were truly kolkata, tea, sandesh, kachori and samosa which did not leave room for the Authors and Invitees Lunch at the Bridge, The Park.
Atiq Rahimi Venue: Oxford Bookstore Time: 04.00 p.m. Partner: Bonjour India, Purple Peacock Books and Arts
At 4.30 PM , a 100 invitees thronged the Oxford Bookstore to meet the French Afghan author, winner of Prix Goncourt Prize 2008, Atiq Rahimi. Our partners for the event were Bonjour India Festival & Embassy of France. The media and the attendees alike enjoyed the session wherein an interpreter was present to translate all his comments into English. At the front row was spotted Sam Miller, engrossed in the session. The refreshments served were truly Bengali along with the winter favourite notun gur sandesh.
India through Western eyes Venue: Victoria Memorial Time: 06.30 a.m. Partner: British Council
At 6.30 PM, India through Western eyes: A panel discussion presented by AKLF 2010 & British Council followed in the historic and awe inspiring venue of the Victoria Memorial. The panelists Pheroza Godrej,Shrabani Basu and Sangeeta Dutta moderated the discussion. The discussion was around the exhibition Life and Landscape by Western Artists Paintings and Drawings from the V&A 1790-1927.
Publisher of the Day Venue: Oxford Bookstore Time: 11.00 a.m. Partner: Niyogi Books
From 11 AM- 7 PM, at Oxford Bookstore, the 'Publisher of the Day' Niyogi Books was holding its own fort at the ground floor. Throughout the day, there were various authors of Niyogi Books and eminent guests who engaged in cha and adda. Our tea sponsors, Typhoo ran a live counter and churned out delicious rounds of Typhoo Fruit infusions to everybody who graced the store for the events that day.
Early morning invitees and authors began trooping into Flurys. Sarnath Banerjee, Anita Roy, Padmini Mongia, Bachhi Karkaria, Rta Kapoor Chishti, Paban Das Baul,Prem Kumar Mullik, Nishant Mullik, Mimlu Sen...and so many others ...all gathered at the breakfast table. Our partner 104 Fever FM was present to capture the environment and discussions. This breakfast was special not only to enjoy what India's oldest and best Tea Room has on offer but because the AKLF Team wanted to dedicate the gathering to the memory of Flurys Director P.N.Singh who passed away from illness a few days back. The Flurys Staff gathered round the breakfast table and shared memories and invitees listened to the memories of Bacchi Karkaria who has written a book on legendary tea room and had the most interesting insights to offer of Flurys down the decades. It was an emotional time as everybody kept a minute silence in the memory of departed and loved Flurys manager.
At noon the AKLF team had a date to keep at Nabanir- the old age home in downtown kolkata, 25 inmates were waiting for us to zip them around the city in the specially branded AKLF Tram. It was heartwarming to see how much the inmates enjoyed the tram and how long it had been for them being out on this loved kolkata transport. They were taken to the Oxford Store thereafter and were visibly nostalgic as Paban Das Baul performed for them. Peter Pannke , Prem Kumar Mullik and Nishant Mullik soon joined them along with guests from Max Mueller Bhavan and the afternoon was absolutely scintillating with the mix of audience bringing tears of joy to the AKLF team members. Everybody was treated to Cha Bar sandwiches, brownies and Typhoo tea and tired but thrilled elderly people were dropped back to Nabanir. The AKLF team and guests like Nishant Mullick and volunteers from the city colleges then settled in at the Gallery to play some good old Antakshri, a medley of songs for the next few hours much to the delight of everybody.
Saris of India Venue: Rosewood Hall, The Park Kolkata Time: 07.30 p.m. Partner: Roli Books
By 7 PM was the book launch of Sarees of India ; Tradition and Beyond by Rta Kapoor Chisti at the Rosewood Hall, The Park and a live sari wearing training for the invitees. Dancer Arupa Lahiri started the evening with the traditional Shraddhanjali in the memory of the great leader Sri Jyoti Basu who had passed away. Present in the audience were Moonmoon, Sunita Rai, Ruby Pal Chaudhuri among others. There were live original charkha that spun khadi and through a audio-visual presentation and with a model, author Rta Kapoor Chisti demonstrated various interesting ways of draping a sari. The audience was so enthused that even after the event ended, the author was seen busy with loads of enquiries and orders of purchase of saris. The event concluded over a simple dinner and all other festivities were cancelled in honour of Sri Jyoti Basu.