1) I had a very good time in Kolkata last month, discussing the book and Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s work at an Author’s Afternoon session at the Taj Bengal. The audience was small but very warm and engaged, and I got to sign a few dozen books - many of them for libraries associated with the Prabha Khaitan Foundation, which organises these sessions. (Am very grateful to Mita Kapur and Siyahi for the invite.)
The best thing by far was a wonderful bit of serendipity involving my friend Rajorshi Chakraborti, with whom I had first discussed the idea of co-editing an anthology about Hrishi-da many years ago. When I agreed to the dates for the Author’s Afternoon, I didn’t know Raj was going to be visiting Kolkata at the same time; when I found out, I asked if he would do the discussion with me. Not only did he say yes, he did a stunning job: time flew by as we spoke about various aspects of HM’s work, from naatak and leela to his use of actors, reliving some of the things we had first spoken about 6 or 7 years ago, and adding new points.
Very rarely - even at carefully planned sessions at official book launches or big lit-fests - does one get to have such a stimulating conversation with someone who cares about a subject and who has read a book closely enough to ask lots of precise, pertinent questions. This was a special evening. Some photos below:
|With Shankha Shuvro Bhaduri Chattopadhyay, who did this super sketch while our talk was on|
|Most of these signings were accompanied by very nice little conversations|
2) And some pics from the Times lit-fest session about “Hrishi-da’s Heroines” at Mehboob Studio, Mumbai, on December 4. With Pragya Tiwari (who moderated the talk) and Jaya Bachchan. As often happens in these situations, there was last-minute suspense about whether Mrs Bachchan would show up, and Pragya and I were a bit concerned - not because we weren’t ready to do a two-person discussion (we have spoken a great deal about HM and his work) but because the large crowd was clearly expecting to see JB. Anyway, it went off well in the end: Jaya-ji didn’t say anything spectacularly interesting (she started warming up towards the end, but we were running out of time), but she was gracious and eloquent. The video of the session is here.