Statement from Anil Dharker, Festival Director, Tata Literature Live!

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“Without meaning to sound pretentious, a literary festival provides a forum for the exchange of ideas. If it’s a lively festival, as I believe Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest is, this exchange is laced with wit and humour.

And this is precisely what happened when Jaya Bachchan was in conversation with Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi. Her remarks about Happy New Year being ‘nonsensical’, when taken out of context, sound like harsh criticism of the film, but when quoted in full show that she was talking of two kinds of cinema that exist in India—those based on literary works and those that are pure entertainment. She enjoyed both these kinds of films, she said (as all those who heard the discussion would attest).  An example she gave of the latter was of Amar, Akbar, Anthony, a film she said she enjoyed immensely, as much as she did Happy New Year. In fact, she said, she complimented her son Abhishek for his role, because it’s something she couldn’t have done.

A literary festival is not made for soundbytes; it’s for thoughtful exposition of ideas. Those who take Jaya Bachchan’s remark out of context do a disservice to her, to our literary festival and to themselves.”

-Anil Dharker
Founder & Festival Director,
Tata Literature Live!

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