Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Celebrating Gulzar!

Last weekend saw Bangalore host its second annual Literature festival popularly known as BLF 2013, a must-attend event for all bibliophiles and wannabe bibliophiles in town. Though BLF 2013 was on for three days starting Friday, we could only go in for the sessions on Saturday and Sunday. Like last year, we decided to split the two days at BLF between Abhay and us, with Saturday being Abhay-centric so that Abhay’s parents could treat themselves to a Sunday full of interesting and engaging discussions revolving around the world of literature, sans interruptions. A personal highlight of the festival of course was listening to Gulzar  throw light on some of his most popular verses/songs, including “Mera Kuch Samaan” from the film Ijaazat, which I guess has been a favorite with an entire generation who grew up in the eighties and early nineties! Being a song very close to my heart and listening to the poet who penned the same indeed felt like a dream come true! Though we missed Gulzar’s session with the children due to a PTM meeting at Abhay’s school, we took  home one of his children’s books…..personally autographed by the author himself! We had Abhay approach the legend for a signature just as he was about to rise from the book signing event and  despite looking visibly tired, he did sweetly oblige.  As he asked Abhay his name to address the book to him, my seven year old in turn assumed that he was being asked to spell out his name and instead slowly prompted A-B-H-A-Y to Gulzar Saab as he signed on the first page of “The Adventures of Goopy and Bagha”!  While Abhay may not have realized it now, he came face to face with one of the most celebrated poets/lyricists of our country whose work he will hopefully grow to appreciate and enjoy….and this photo is definitely a keeper …..well, not just for him!


Today’s book has to be “Adventures of Goopy and Bagha” written by Gulzar, illustrated by Shilpa Ranade and retold by Sameen Mishra brought out by Scholastic. Based on Upendrakishore Roychoudury’s Bengali  tale Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne, Gulzar adds his brilliant touch to this story with his inimitable style of narrative that I hope is not lost in translation in the English version. Dedicated to his grandson named Samay, this is Gulzar’s story-telling for children at its best! This is a story of two passionate musicians named Goopy and Bagha who delight as much in their discovery of each other as they delight in their music. Goopy, the drummer and Bagha, the singer are shunned in society for their obsession with music but when they team up – they hold everyone spellbound with their music – from midnight ghosts to warring enemies! In the hope of finding appreciation and respect, they go in search of King Hulla who is known for his patronage of music but lose their way and land up in the wrong kingdom. How they manage to escape and conquer their destiny that transforms them from simpletons  country bumpkins into benevolent rulers of Hulla is a journey filled with magic, music and mirth ..... made all the more special with Gulzar's words!  A great way to introduce Gulzar to your little....especially if you are a Gulzar fan like me!:-)

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