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Call for local focus, literally

There should be a focus on local languages, said governor M.K. Narayanan while inaugurating the 2013 edition of the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival on Wednesday.

The five-day festival from January 9 to 13 promises to be a book lover’s delight, with a host of the Indian culturati scheduled to engage in conversations on a variety of topics — from Indie films to food and the Indian Constitution.

The governor also felt the need to highlight the importance of a multicultural society. There should also be a separate segment for children at such festivals, he added. “The festivals must showcase outstanding writings found around us. They must also come up with a separate segment for only children’s literature,” Narayanan said.

Veteran film-maker Shyam Benegal delivered the keynote address, speaking on ‘A Century of Indian Cinema’. He said the literary festival was not just confined to books and authors and outlined the evolution and various aspects of Indian cinema down the ages.

“When Indian cinema started its journey, no one would have thought it would become this big in the country. It is incredible to think that we produce films in 22 different languages today and that Indian cinema has grown up to have its own distinguished character,” he said.

The governor also unveiled a patachitra scroll, highlighting the literary meet’s journey since its inception in 2010.

The scroll depicted the objective of the festival — that of weaving artistic, literary and cultural strands seamlessly within the intellectual fabric of the city.

The festival was inaugurated in the presence of Shobhaa De, Krishna Bose and Anjum Katyal, among others.

Some of the highlights of the next five days are a panel discussion featuring Goutam Ghose, Kaushik Ganguly and Onir on ‘India’s Indie Film Future — Questions & Concerns’; a discussion with journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown on ‘Food Stories: Stirring Memories’; the launch of Shobhaa De’s book Sethji; and a talk by Leila Seth on the Indian Constitution.

There will also be a tribute to poet Sunil Gangopadhyay.