Frontlist | On Day 6 of the Delhi Literature Festival 2021, authors discuss a dystopian love story, wellness, and Guru Dutt

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From Kevin Missal’s mythological fiction Hiranyakashyap to Yasser Usman’s biography on Indian cinema legend, Guru Dutt — each of the five featured books and their authors also represented the diversity and range of modern Indian literature.

The ninth edition of the Delhi Literature Festival ended on 28 February on a promising note. The six-day DLF 2021, in its virtual format, owing to the COVID-19 restrictions, had an exciting lineup of speakers and authors across the country spanning genres ranging from religion and spirituality to young adult fiction and biographical non-fiction. The festival saw these literary icons taking to the digital stage and offering a glimpse into their works, inspirations and writing processes. DLF 2021 is being conducted on the video conferencing platform Zoom and live-streamed on the festival’s official Facebook page.

On its sixth and final day, DLF 2021 offered five engaging sessions throughout the day featuring book and authors from an eclectic range of styles and genres. From Kevin Missal’s mythological fiction Hiranyakashyap to Yasser Usman’s biography on Indian cinema legend, Guru Dutt — each of the five featured books and their authors also represented the diversity and range of modern Indian literature.

The day began with a discussion on Kevin Missal’s latest outing titled Hiranyakashyap: The Narasimha Trilogy Book 2 where the author was in conversation with columnist Pallavi Kamakshi Rebbapragada. Hiranyakashyap is the followup to Missal’s 2019 book Narasimha revolving around the Hindu mythological tale of Prahlad, a young devout follower of Lord Vishnu born in the house of Asura king Hiranyakashyap.

Missal during the conversation said that in mythology the concept of ‘good vs evil’ primarily depends on the perspective of the character who witnesses the event unfold in front of them. Explaining his argument, Missal added, “In my writings, I usually choose POVs (point of view). For instance, in Hiranyakashyap when we look at the character from Narsimha’s point of view, he is absolutely evil. But from the point of view of Hirankashyap’s sister Holika, he is totally a different person. So, ideally in order to study mythology, one has to look and respect all these POVs.”

The next session in the afternoon was a conversation between lifestyle coach and author Deanne Panday and Firstpost journalist, Aishwarya Sahasrabudhe around the former’s latest book, Balance: The Secret to True Health and Happiness in 13 Ways.

In discussing how the coronavirus pandemic has led us to navigate health and fitness in more conscious ways, she emphasised the role that small joys like baking, eating home-cooked food and spending time with the family have had on improving our mental health. It is this inner joy, she stressed that leads to a balanced life. She remarked that the circle of life programme which her book talks about covers these “non-food sources of nourishment” which are just as crucial as going to the gym or following a nutritious diet.

With a growing community of fitness experts and influencers coming up on social media today, Panday highlighted the importance of choosing a trainer wisely. She said, “Your workouts and nutrition is as individual as your fingerprint, it should be according to you, not according to what the influencers do.”

The third session on the concluding day of DLF 2021 featured bestselling author Durjoy Datta discussing his latest book A Touch of Infinity and the way his sensibilities of writing romance fiction have evolved over the years with Firstpost’s Suryasarathi Bhattacharya.

The book is another endearing love story from the novelist, infused with a bit of fantasy, and follows the story of Druvan and Anvesha, who are convinced that they are soulmates. As they fight the reluctance of their parents, a scientific breakthrough is on the brink of making reincarnation a reality and the couple decides that this is the very opportunity to prove their love to their parents.

With A Touch of Infinity, Datta, who began his writing career at the age of 21 with Of Course I Love You!… Till I Find Someone Better (2008), has come a long way in terms of understanding love and relationships himself, and that, according to him, is reflected in the name of his titles. “So initially I was someone who believed that you should be in as many relationships as you can because you don’t know who is the ‘one’. And then eventually I realised that once you are with someone, you have to be with them forever. So, with every year, the definition of love has evolved for me,” said Datta.

The next session in the evening had author Novonel Chakraborty discuss his upcoming thriller Cross your Heart, Take my Name with the curator of DLF 2021, Samriddhi Goyal. Exploring urban loneliness, fickle relationships and the need for companionship, Chakraborty’s protagonists in the book, Garv Roy Gill and Yahvi Kothari are caught up in their own emotional plight, blurring the lines between crime and sin.

Talking about how he creates or envisions characters in his books, Chakraborty shared an exclusive revelation with the viewers at DLF. In his latest, one of the characters named Anika is based on one of his readers. “So one of my readers with whom I developed a special bond had once told me that ‘being beautiful is also a curse’ and that really fascinated me. When I asked her why she thought so, she told me that people often don’t look beyond the exterior beauty. So that I found was very interesting and thought what it would be if there’s a girl who thinks no man looks beyond her beauty to actually finding a man who wants to know her beyond her exterior self. So, Anika and Garv’s friendship is an arc that really liked and was almost unpredictable”


The concluding session of the Delhi Literature Festival this year saw journalist-writer Yasser Usman talk about his new book Guru Dutt: An Unfinished Story, a biography of the actor, with Firstpost’s Arshia Dhar. The hour-long session investigated the process undertaken by Usman to piece together the person that Guru Dutt was, and how it went beyond the performer and filmmaker he has been largely remembered as.

Usman spoke about his interactions with Dutt’s younger sister Lalitha Lajmi, and how she refused to talk about Waheeda Rehman right at the outset, stating clearly that “Waheeda was not to be blamed for anything” that happened to her brother. He also touched upon Dutt’s mental health and his several attempts to commit suicide until he succeeded, drawing a parallel with Sushant Singh Rajput’s trajectory. “If you see the coverage of Sushant Singh Rajput’s case, you will realise nothing has changed even 50-60 years later,” he said.

Read More: Stephen Kagawa’s New Book Hits #1 On Amazon Best-Seller List


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