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Lit fest goes beyond boundary of words

- Cultural evenings help audience unwind, say organisers

The logo of the Patna Literature Festival is a stylised pen, poised at the correct angle with Hindi and Urdu alphabets brimming at its nib and ready to spill out any moment.

However, the schedule summary states that besides five languages and 17 sessions, delegates and audience would also enjoy three cultural evenings. While discussions and debates about literature continued enthusiastically through the day, the evenings were reserved for theatre and music.

On Sunday, the delegates and the audience hurried from the last session at the planetarium to Premchand Rangshala to watch Gulzar’s play Kharaashein. On Saturday, there had been another theatre performance, of Gulzar — Paansa. On Friday, Pakistani poet Farhat Shahzad and folk singer Kumud Jha Diwan entertained the audience with recitation of poems and performance of chaita, kajri and thumri, respectively.

Dr Ajit Pradhan said: “After the hectic schedule of the day, the cultural evenings allow people to unwind.”

“Literature is not just about sitting and reading, is it?” asked Anupama Sharma, an employee of a private firm who had come to Premchand Rangshala on Sunday. “Watching a play can also be a part of literature.”

Asked if she had attended any of the sessions, Sharma said she had not. Had she come for “Between the Words: Yudhisthir and Draupadi”, where Gulzar and Varma, the cultural adviser to the chief minister, discussed the politics of adaptation and translation from one art form to another (poetry to drama, in this case), Sharma might have agreed that literature does not exist in a vacuum.

As Gulzar said: “Constant interaction with other art forms enriches literature.”

Chief minister Nitish Kumar thanked Gulzar for his three-day visit to Patna.


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