Nationally and internationally renowned poet, lyricist and screenwriter Javed Akhtar has been announced as the Poet Laureate of the 11th Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest 2020.
Javed Saab’s words, dramatically and poignantly expressed in iconic Hindi films over the years, are an intrinsic part of the memories of several generations of Indians. His poems and lyrics have given unbounded pleasure and solace to millions. His versatility and connection to changing times has meant he could effortlessly turn his pen from Silsila to Dil Chahta Hai to Gully Boy. In the course of his illustrious life and career he has been conferred the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan; has won 5 National Film Awards, and 8 Filmfare Awards for his lyrics. He was a Rajya Sabha MP from 2010-2016.
Accepting the Poet Laureateship for Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest 2020, Javed Saab said: “I am delighted to be named the Poet Laureate of Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai Litfest 2020. I am glad that the Litfest recognises the significance of poetry. Verse is the oldest form of expression of human emotions, aspirations, storytelling and celebration. Poetry both affirms joy and offers solace. I have spent my life trying to articulate the feelings and hopes of my countrymen in my verse, lyrics and screenplays and to propound the values of empathy and harmony among all. I am honoured by this recognition of my work and writings by a Literary Festival that has consistently showcased the best of Indian and international writing and thought”.
Founder and Festival Director Anil Dharker said: “It is an honour and privilege for us to have Javed Saab as the Poet Laureate for the 2020 edition of Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest. His writing, which encompasses wit, insight and humanity, illuminates our lives. He has been a lifelong crusader for enlightenment and harmony. He stands for the best in and about India”.
Harish Bhat, Brand Custodian, Tata Sons said, “India is proud of Javed Saab. He has put us on the world map with his incredible talent, worldwide recognition as well as, now, being the FIRST Indian to win the prestigious Richard Dawkins Award for the year 2020. Indeed, this is a great recognition of his critical thinking, advancing human progress, and humanist values. We are honoured to recognize him as the Poet Laureate for the 2020 edition of Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest.”
Past recipients of the Tata Literature Live! Poet Laureate Award include K. Satchidanandan, Jayanta Mahapatra, Gulzar, Keki Daruwalla, Vikram Seth and Joy Goswami.