Mumbai, May 27 (IANS) Pritish Nandy, who has donned multiple hats – of painter, filmmaker, columnist, journalist – brushed up his rusted knack of writing poems and after ages has come out with a book of his poetry, and he gives all credit to his friend and Oscar-winning lyricist Gulzar.
‘Every time I met my friend (Gulzar) he kept telling me why am I not writing another book. Finally I wrote this book,’ said Pritish at the launch of his book ‘Again’ at Crossword here Thursday.
He had stopped writing poems after publishing 32 books of poems, before he left Kolkata and came to Mumbai and became a journalist.
‘I left Kolkata, the city where I used to live and where I wrote poetry because I could not make a living from my writing. I left it to come to this city to be a journalist. When I joined journalism I found that there is a clear difference in the way a poet deals with language and words and the way a journalist deals with language and words,’ he said.
‘In journalism you write as it is. Poetry is tentative, it’s about vulnerability, poetry is about not knowing what the next word should be, poetry is about escaping the cliches. When I became journalist I succumbed to the cliche.’
Gulzar, who was present at the occasion, said: ‘In the mid of 70s when I used to go to Calcutta and there in Park Street I used to visit a book shop and pick up books on Bengali poetry and that is where for the first time I discovered this poet called Pritish whose book I bought then. I picked up those books in the 70s and got it autographed in 2009, last year.
‘All this time the books were in my collection they are still there. I didn’t know him I never met him personally. But I looked for this poet because the writings were in English though, I was sure there must be some Bengali poem by this poet because of the temperament of those poems. They were progressive and there was an aggression. The poet is still alive. Welcome to his poetry again through his book ‘Again’.’
Former minister Shashi Tharoor, who knows Pritish since his teenage years in Kolkata, reminisced, ‘Pritish published some 17 books between the late 60s and 70s. They were really extraordinarily good poems. He was a young poet but a poet with a tremendously original voice. I can tell you he inspired an entire generation of young people in Calcutta. One of the most striking things about him was the originality of his voice. I am glad that he has come back to his poetry once again.’
Actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan read a few lines from a couple of his poems. Actor Anupam Kher and writer Chetan Bhagat were also present at the function.