Litfest feels poet Gulzar's pain
“...Your pain has passed through my pauses,” Sampooran Singh Kalra, known to the world as Gulzar, wrote in one of his non-cinema poems titled ‘Budhiya Re’.
On Friday evening, his lingering sensitivity drafted with craftsmanship paused to tickle the minds of the audience at the Jayamahal Palace, even as they hurriedly applauded every time he paused.
Bangalore joining the club of Mumbai, Jaipur and Kolkata in hosting the “Bangalore Literature Festival” could not have had a better beginning than Gulzar. Gulzar read out some of his poems in Hindi-Urdu, while his friend and diplomat Pavan K Varma read their translated versions.
Notwithstanding Varma’s efforts in capturing the soul of Gulzar in his translations, the latter’s originals exposed the inability of English to do the same — though Gulzar himself emphasises the need for translation.
He was not complaining. Neither was the audience.
With the main seating area barely able to contain the crowd, people were seen around the area in the open.
“Do you remember the day, while sitting on my table you had made a sketch of a plant on my cigarette box? You should come see it now, it has flowers blooming on it,” a couplet Gulzar recited extempore had some in the audience on their feet.
A few other big names also got good reception minutes before Gulzar and Varma arrived on the stage. The likes of Nisar Ahmed, U R Ananthamurthy, Shashi Deshpande, spoke at the inaugural. But Gulzar had the audience and happiness in juxtaposition.
Even the sorrow in his poems brought smiles on people’s faces. If Jayant Kaikini, who has his own niche in Kannada writing, was caught away from the stardom with his fingers tapping his lap at regular intervals, writers like Chandrashekar Kambar, Ananthamurthy and a host of young English and Kannada writers were looking into the eyes of Gulzar.
Popular writer Chetan Bhagat took the stage after Gulzar and Varma, but the evening was bewitched by the man who authored the famous “...chaddi pahan ke phool khila hai” for the Indian version of Jungle Book.