Lit fest to return to Victoria Memorial from March 22 to March 27

Javed Akhtar to unveil Kalam 2022 on Tuesday

Our Bureau Kolkata Published 18.03.22, 07:11 AM
Victoria Memorial Hall

Victoria Memorial Hall File picture

The Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet (Kalam), held in association with the Victoria Memorial Hall and The Telegraph, will be back with its live, onground edition from Tuesday, March 22, to Sunday, March 27.

Last year, the festival was held online. This year’s edition is the 10th full-scale one of Kalam, which started in January 2012. The festival will have 65 sessions. A hybrid Tata Steel Junior Kolkata Literary Meet is scheduled from March 24 to 26.


On March 23, all sessions will be held at GD Birla Sabhaghar as Shahid Divas will be observed at Victoria that day.

Kalam 2022 will be inaugurated by poet-lyricist Javed Akhtar, who will speak on his works and also on poet Sahir Ludhianvi. A Bengali translation of Akhtar’s works by poet Srijato will be launched on Tuesday evening.

Several festival favourites are returning. Nobel laureate Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, epic expert Amish, authors Kunal Basu and Jeet Thayil and author-politician Jairam Ramesh, among others, will be at the festival this year.

Bharatanatyam exponent Mallika Sarabhai, author Vir Sanghvi, author-critic Samik Bandyopadhyay, actor Dhritiman Chaterji, Early Indian author Tony Joseph, and actors Jim Sarbh and Simi Grewal are some of the first-timers this year.

A French graphic novelist, who has spent many years travelling to Afghanistan, will speak alongside former foreign secretary Krishnan Srinivasan.

A highlight of this edition is the celebration of Satyajit Ray’s centenary. Simi Grewal will take part in a session on “Two Maestros”, where she will reminisce about her time in the early 1970s, acting under Ray’s and Mrinal Sen’s direction.

The three young men of Ray’s Calcutta Trilogy —Dhritiman Chaterji, Barun Chanda and Pradeep Mukherjee — will speak about debuting under Ray.

Two other centenaries are also in focus — of Victoria Memorial cartoonist R.K. Laxman and poet Sahir Ludhianvi. Cartoonist Unny and Rahul daCunha, creator of the Amul ads, will speak on Laxman.

Actor Soumitra Chatterjee, a Kalam veteran who passed away in 2020, will be honoured in a session featuring his Charulata co-star Madhabi Mukherjee.

A stand-up is scheduled for March 23 and the next three days will feature classical music and dance.

Ustad Rashid Khan’s Desh Raag, a jugalbandi with poet Srijato, is scheduled for March 24 and Mallika Sarabhai

will give a Bharatanatyam performance on March 25. The festival will end with a sitar recital by Ustad Shujaat Khan.

Speaking about the festival, Amish said: “Calcutta has always been one of my favourite cities. I have studied here, made friends here, and grown here. It is, therefore, wonderful that the first literature fest that I am attending post the pandemic is right here in Calcutta.”

Sarabhai, too, is excited. Besides her performance, she will speak on the webseries Rocket Boys.

Calcuttan and best-selling author Kunal Basu, who will speak about his new novel, In An Ideal World, said: “Kalam is Kolkata in its finest essence — culture, dialogue and debate and exceptional warmth.”

The events at the Victoria Memorial are open to all. Visitors have to enter through the East Gate (opposite St Paul’s Cathedral) of Victoria. Each visitor will be handed a pass at the gate. Everyone has to wear a mask.

Passes have to be collected before for events at the Bengal Club, Skinny Mo’s and GD Birla Sabhaghar.

Save The Dates

What: The Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet in association with Victoria Memorial Hall and The Telegraph

When: March 22 to March 27

Where: Victoria Memorial except on March 23 (at GD Birla Sabhaghar on that day)

Star speakers: Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, Javed Akhtar, Mallika Sarabhai, Simi Grewal, Kunal Basu, Amish

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