The Kolkata Literature Festival, held as a part of the Book Fair is a celebration of books, literature, poetry, music, films and more. It brings together authors, readers and other eminent personalities for discussions about the same. Spanning over three days, KLF will see over 25 sessions and over 65 authors. The inauguration of the 4th edition of the Kolkata Literature Festival was done by members of the Guild, overseas authors and the guest of honour – Shankha Ghosh. This was followed by a mesmerizing performance by the Calcutta Chamber Orchestra.
What better way to kick start the Literature Festival than a session on cinema and Bollywood? The first session, named ’50 Films that changed Bollywood” was one in association with Jaipur Literature Festival and brought on stage director Sudhir Mishra, director Nitya Mehra and screenwriter Sanjay Chauhan. The moderator for the session was film critic Shubhra Gupta.
The moderator Shubhra Gupta began by asking them about one film that left a huge impact on them and inspired them to direct movies.
Director of acclaimed movies like Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, Sudhir Mishra said, “My father showed me Meghe Dhaka Tara when I was four years old, and I tried not to see that film ever again because I wanted to retain that memory of watching it for the first time.” He also watched Shaheb Bibi Gulaam about 20 times because his grandmother watched it many times and that too touched him in many ways. “The pain of the women in old houses” spoke to him in a very cinematic manner. The way a film is written should portray the loss and should speak to the viewer, according to Sudhir Mishra.
Winner of the prestigious Filmfare Award for Best Story for the movie I Am Kalam, Sanjay Chauhan talks of all of Dara Singh’s movies were his favourites. “He was not a person, it a superhero and as a five year old we idolized that,” he said. That is what created a fascination for cinema for Sanjay Chauhan. “Another person that influenced me was Helen ji. No other heroine fascinated me as much. I, in fact, wanted to marry her!” he added.
Director Nitya Mehra, whose movie Baar Baar Dekho released a couple of months ago was asked the same question. “I was four year old when I watched Jaane bhi do yaaron with my dad and only remember laughing so much. Each time I watched it later on, it touched me more and more. It struck me, that it is so difficult to make a proper comedy,” she said.
The moderator too was asked a question, on how she chose 50 films, to write the book “50 films that changed Bollywood”. She said that there is no specific genre, actor, actress that she prefers, but the only thing that matters is whether a film delivers what it promises. She even went on to criticize the system of “star ratings” for movies, as the reader doesn’t read beyond that.
The panel went on to discuss the making of some of the iconic films of the directors and films rooted in reality and whether rooting it in reality is a challenge. Nitya Mehra went on to elucidate on being “the boss” for the first time while working for Baar Baar Dekho. She also talked about the difficulties of being a woman director.
Follow updates about the festival on social media by using the hashtag #KLF17.