To restore the rich tradition of the Bangla language, Oxford Bookstores, an integral part of the Apeejay Surrendra Group, ideated, conceptualised and consequently created Apeejay Bangla Sahitya Utsob (ABSU), in 2015, in Kolkata, the city of joy. Apeejay Bangla Sahitya Utsob pioneers in providing an interactive platform for the voices of Contemporary Bangla Literature. It is a medium for encouraging and involving young people with different aspects of Bangla literature, and familiarise them with the nuances of Bangla as a literary language, which is one of the most mellifluous and ornate languages of the world. The Utsob showcases the multitudinous gems that make Bangla literature a treasure trove of cultural and literary excellence. ABSU is committed to this journey of Bangla Literature which is both exciting and exhilarating.
Created in association with Patra Bharati, the festival has been attended by eminent authors, renowned film directors, poets and musicians in the last two years covering all the facets of Bangla literature.
Eminent authors Shirshendu Mukherjee, Nabaneeta Dev Sen, Samaresh Majumdar, Sankha Ghosh, Imdadul Haq Milon, Bani Basu, Pracheta Gupta, Ranjan Bandyopadhyay, Prafulla Ray, Sanjib Chatterjee, Srijato and Subodh Sarkar amongst others, renowned film directors like Goutam Ghose, Suman Mukhopadhyay, Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, Mainak Bhaumik and popular Bengali musicians Nachiketa, Surojit Chatterjee and Kalika Prasad have graced the festival. Honourable Deputy High Commissioner of Bangladesh in Kolkata Janab Zokey Ahad as well as veteran actor Barun Chanda have also been a part of the festival last year.
Mr. Swagat Sengupta, Director, Apeejay Bangla Sahitya Utsob said in the inaugural edition, “Apeejay Bangla Sahitya Utsob is pioneering in its ideation and conceptualisation. We have carefully curated a full day Utsob, covering different aspects of Bangla literature, where our literature is headed, the differences between epar and opar literary expression & writings, the impact of Bangla literature on films, how it has evolved over centuries and the rich and important role Kobita has played in Bangla literature. Eminent voices speaking on all these issues of importance have been brought together on one platform for a whole day and they will be interacting with audiences at our heritage store in Kolkata where the Oxford Bookstore story started nearly a 100 years ago and this makes it a must attend for everyone.”
In its third year, the festival aims to grow even bigger and has made its audience an integral part of the curating process. Through social media and other platforms it has asked its patrons to vote on ideas that they would like to see being discussed and ideas like ‘Bangla Romyorochona’, ‘Sahitya, Theatre o Cholochitrer Paroshporik Shomporko’, ‘Bangla Kishor Sahitya: Shekal o Ekal’, ‘Addapriyo Bangali’ seemed to have gained most interest and the festival team is working to make these discussions a part of the festival.
The Youtube live feed will take the festival all over the world into the screens of all Bangla enthusiasts who would like to listen to their favourite authors speak at a session.
Kolkata is considered as the cultural capital of India. It is the home of intellectuals, authors, readers, poets and critics. The most prominent evidence of this is the International Kolkata Book Fair, where over 20 lakh Kolkatans visit over a period of 12 days to buy books and celebrate literature in the purest form. Kolkata hosts several International Literature Festivals. However there hasn’t been any prominent stage for its own local literature and its varied hues. To fill this void and establish a platform, Kolkata’s oldest bookstore, Oxford Bookstore, in association with Patra Bharati, organized the Apeejay Bangla Sahitya Utsob and we owe the success of this event to the joint efforts and contribution of our eminent panelists and guests.