Another feather to Gulzar’s cap, to get Poet Laureate Award at Tata LitFest

India’s greatest wordsmith, incredible storyteller and thought-provoking philosopher Gulzar sahab rule millions of hearts with his soulful poetry and lyrics. Receiver of Dada Saheb Phalke and Oscar awards, Gulzar’s cap holds innumerable feathers. And here’s another feather to his cap! Mumbai’s very own literary fest ‘Mumbai Literature Festival’ is all set to honour him with the Poet Laureate Award.

The award comprises of citation, plaque and cash prize; and will be felicitated on the inaugural day of the fest on November 17 at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), Nariman Point. The poet will also read some of his latest work here.

Gulzar feels great honour to receive the award. He says, “It came as a lovely surprise when Anil Dharkerji called to tell me about the award. For a moment, I felt like there might have been a mistake, akin to walking into a dimly lit room, where it takes a moment for your eyes to adjust. I have a number of books, but I wasn’t sure Anilji knew of my writing outside of films. It is a great honour to be receiving this award; it gives you a little more confidence and assurance in your work.”

In 2015, Vikram Seth has been felicitated with the Poet Laureate Award.

The seventh edition of Tata LitFest tunes with William Shakespeare’s 400th death anniversary. To mark the day Gulzar pays tribute to him in his own way by penning a charming ode. The ode has been translated from Udru by Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri.

Here’s the beautiful piece:

Raise the curtain, Shakespeare,
Your characters wait in the wings,
Adorned in their costumes
Their make-up done
Their lines memorized –
Lines that resonate
Four-hundred years later
With the same conflicts:
To be or not be –
Aware that the world’s a stage
And we are merely actors.

Even today, naive Juliet
Leans over her balcony,
Whispering endearments to Romeo
Away from all prying eyes.

The arrogant Caesars are
Felled by political daggers
As senates echo with
Cries of ‘Et tu, Brute’.

Othello, Desdemona and Macbeth
Still grapple with
The conflicts of
The heart and the soul.

The third bell has sounded
And the lights have come on.
Your characters wait in the wings.
It’s time, Shakespeare,
It’s time to raise the curtain.

We are proud of you Gulzar Sahab!

Meanwhile, Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest is all set to mark the cultural calendar on November 17-20, 2016. The four-day festival will be held simultaneously at two venues –NCPA, Nariman Point and Prithvi Theatre, Juhu.

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