Gulzar To Get Tata LitFest Poet Laureate Award

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New Delhi: Veteran lyricist, writer and filmmaker Gulzar has been chosen for this year’s Tata Literature Live! Poet Laureate award, which will be presented to him on November 17 during the 7th edition of the Mumbai LitFest, organisers said.

“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.

“It is a great honour to be receiving this award; it gives you a little more confidence and assurance in your work,” the 82-year-old poet, who will be reading a few of his works at the festival, said.

He won his first National Film Award in 1972 for “Koshish” and went on to collect a string of accolades and trophies, including an Academy award for the song ‘Jai Ho!’ from the film ‘Slumdog Millionaire’.

He was also awarded the Padma Bhushan, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, the Sahitya Akademi Award, besides five National Film Awards, 20 Filmfare Awards.

“Gulzar’s contribution to Indian literature through his heart-rending poetry makes him an obvious choice for the award,” Anil Dharker, Founder and Director of Literature Live! said.

The honour, which was awarded to internationally accclaimed poet Vikram Seth last year, carries a citation plaque and a cash prize.

With the festival coinciding with the 400th death anniversary of William Shakespeare, Gulzar is also scheduled present a tribute to the bard at the event.

“Raise the curtain, Shakespeare/Your characters wait in the wings….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…” reads Gulzar’s ode to Shakespeare (translated from Urdu Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri) that he has penned specially for the festival.

“Gulzarsaab is one of India’s best-loved poets and lyricists. The power of his poetic expression has redefined words and has touched the hearts of one and all. It is truly an honour for us to confer him with the Award. We’re looking forward to hearing him speak at the festival,” Harish Bhat, from Tata Sons, said.

One of the most popular literary festivals, Tata LitFest this year has introduced three new awards – the Big Little Book Awards for Author and Illustrator in the Literature-for-children category, and the Sultan Padamsee Award for Playwriting.

The 4-day festival that will see participation by authors from around the world, will begin on November 17 and will take place at two venues National Centre for the Performing Arts and Prithvi Theatre in Mumbai.

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