Everyone Should Write Poems: Pritish Nandy

Everyone Should Write Poems: Pritish Nandy
Acclaimed as one of India's most exciting and innovative poets in English, with the likes of lyricist and filmmaker Gulzar and Congress MP and former minister Shashi Tharoor as fans, Nandy feels that every one should pen a poem.

"I think everyone should read and write poetry. Poetry is living. It is discovering yourself. If you have not written poetry, it means you have not discovered yourself," the 59-year-old journalist and movie maker told PTI.

"We need to go beyond the boundaries of academia. Poetry should attempt to discover a connect with the people. It should be fun and should not be just for examination purpose as done in schools," he said.

Nandy, who has collections like Lonesong Street and A Stranger Called I to his credit, has explored the same genre after a whopping 20 years.

On the release of his poetry book yesterday, Again, he lamented publishers' depleting support to print poems.

"Worldwide, getting publishers publish poetry is very difficult," he said.

On getting a reader in today's digital world of tweets, he said it is the writer and publisher's job to persuade people to read.

"You cannot judge a reader. It is the writer and publisher's job to persuade the reader to take to reading. If your book is not being read, you better chase or change the publisher," he quipped.

Nandy, however, pleaded complete ignorance when quizzed about the exorbitant price of his book, which costs Rs 995.

"I have no idea what the book is priced at. Yeah, Rs 995 is exorbitant. It is expensive. This is hardback edition. May be the publishers would come out with a paperback version later on," he said.

Regarding expected commercial success for the book, he said he has never chased success in his life.

"I do not chase success. I chase excellence in whatever I do, be it writing, making movies or anything else. I have never followed success. Success follows me. If you chase Saraswati, Laxmi comes along," he said.

On the reason behind giving up writing poems, Nandy said he had to switch over to journalism for making a living.

The organisers had pulled a coup of sorts as they brought cult writer Chetan Bhagat, noted poet Gulzar, tweet tsar Shashi Tharoor, and actor Anupam Kher in the same frame.

As if this was not enough, icing on the cake was beauty personified Aishwarya Rai, in a first for her, reading out selected verses from Again, to a scrambling media jamboree and select audience.

"After going through Again, I think I need to dig out his earlier works too and go through them," she said thanking Nandy for introducing her to poetry.

"I relate to the thoughts expressed in his poems," she added reading out his poem 'I have panicked many times before...'

Gulzar also recalled his visits to Kolkata when he first picked up Nandy's poems.

"In early 70s, I had purchased a lot of books written by him. However, I got them autographed by him recently. He belongs to progressive poets group and therefore when he stopped writing in 80s, I kept him nudging all this time to come out of the self-imposed exile," Gulzar said.

"Recently when I saw an exhibition of paintings by him, I again realised that the poet in him is still alive," he said.

Shashi Tharoor said Nandy was a poet with extravagant passion. "He inspired an entire generation of poets in Kolkatta," he said adding he still has not lost his touch for innovation and creation.

On when the next book would happen, Nandy said it depends upon the publisher. That is how a writer's life is, he added.

"I have no idea. It may happen next month. It all depends upon the publisher," he said.

Anupam Kher, who had made a movie on one of Nandy's poems as a student in FTI, Pune, was also present on the occasion and said he was in complete awe of this poet.
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