On Day 3 of Delhi Literature Festival 2021, book talk with Anupam Kher and Anand Neelakantan

The festival will run till 28 February.

FP Staff February 22, 2021 09:20:21 IST
On Day 3 of Delhi Literature Festival 2021, book talk with Anupam Kher and Anand Neelakantan

The covers of Anupam Kher's Your Best Day is Today! (left) and Anand Neelakantan's Queen of Mahishmathi (right).

The Delhi Literature Festival (DLF), in its ninth edition, has turned entirely virtual this year owing to the COVID-19 restrictions. With a host of speakers and authors lined up to feature in the six-day digital festival and offer a glimpse into their works, inspirations and writing processes, DLF 2021 aims at bringing multiple genres and diverse voices to the fore. The festival is being conducted on the video conferencing platform Zoom and live-streamed on DLF's Facebook page.

On the third day of the festival, there were two sessions scheduled in the evening featuring noted actor Anupam Kher and bestselling author Anand Neelakantan who discussed their latest books.

Kher's self-motivation book Your Best Day is Today! is a compendium of experiences and lessons that aim at bringing positivity and optimism in the lives of the readers who are grappling with uncertainties and dejection amid the coronavirus pandemic. In a conversation with NDTV's Entertainment Editor Richa Lakhera, Kher talked about his tryst with the pandemic and the experiences that led him to write this book in the first place.

In his book, Kher calls himself an "accidental author" which he explains during the DLF session. After his first two books, the idea of writing a third book almost happened by chance for Kher, mostly because he was at home not working for the first time in his 37-year-long film career. "My first break came during the pandemic, I actually didn't know what to do for 7-8 months. That's how the book happened," says Kher. A self-proclaimed eternal optimist, the Padma Bhushan awardee further adds that he wanted to write something which gave him some reassurance, courage and compassion during the tumultuous times when the entire world was trying to wrap its head around the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns. "I thought its best to write down what I am going through, what I am feeling...the sum total of that is in this book," Kher mentions.

The next evening session on the third day at DLF 2021 had renowned mythology author Anand Neelakantan throw light on his latest outing, Queen of Mahishmathi, the third and final instalment of the Bāhubali series. The Asura author was in conversation with writer and assistant professor at the Delhi University, Dr Amna Mirza. Neelakantan said that just like his other books, Queen of Mahishmathi also strongly focusses on the themes of patriarchy, caste system, racism and poverty among others. "Whenever I write from the other side of the popular stories, I am also trying the things that are not generally spoken or are polished with various legends, philosophies and prevailing social value systems," he says.

Neelakantan also talked about how he has modelled Sivagami and many other female characters in the book(s) on various important women in history both in India and the world. "You will see a glimpse of all these strong women leaders from across the globe in Sivagami, Ali or AchiNagamma etc," the author added. Neelakantan's Bāhubali series is inspired from SS Rajamouli's blockbuster films; the first book in the series The Rise of Sivagami released in 2017 followed by Chaturanga in 2020

DLF will go on from 19 February to 28 February. To take a look at the full festival schedule, click here.

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