About Tata Literature Live!

Message From The Festival Director


November is the month of Diwali feasting – karanjis, pedas, barfi, ladoos… And for the last nine years, books. Yes, Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest is now nine years old and brings to the city a veritable feast for the mind.

Those of you who are regulars will know how we have grown. From a single venue at NCPA to virtually taking over the whole glorious complex, then adding Juhu`s iconic Prithvi Theatre for simultaneous sessions and performances three years ago. And yet, as we found last year, we didn`t have enough seats for our growing audiences till the waiting queues became more and more forlorn.

That`s why this year we have added a third venue, and this one is located in Bandra, ‘The Queen of the Suburbs’. The new venue is an exciting two-in-one: at the ground level is the Title Waves, and above and around it is SPICE (St Paul`s Institute of Communication Education). This addition, with other changes we have made at NCPA, should ensure that no one goes away disappointed.

Someone asked me the other day if things have changed over the years. Obviously, the audience numbers have grown – our festival attracts more people, which should mean more and more people are now buying books. Another feature is that the audience is getting noticeably younger – last year young men and women were queuing up from 7 in the morning for our sessions which began at 10.30. That needs dedication, and it needs stamina.

Another area where we have expanded is in the range of subjects our programming covers. So much so that it would be apt to call ours a Festival of Ideas. From A for Astrophysics to Z for Zeitgeist, we cover them all. Come to think of it, so does Literature when you look at the huge non-fiction list of publishers. So we are quite OK being called a literary festival.

This year`s galaxy of writers does cover a vast literary field. Of them I want to ask very many questions about their books, about their sources of inspiration, about their working hours. But most of all, I want to ask about biographies and biopics of living people. The latter, particularly, has now become the rage of Bombay`s film industry. For instance, how did the British royal family feel when Stephen Daldry`s riveting and sumptuously produced The Crown was playing on Netflix? It was, after all, a pretty intimate look at private lives, and of necessity, a lot of the conversations and situations were products of the writer`s mind. The Royals, I am told, never react. You and I will, but then, no one is going to write about me (or even remotely make a film!)

The other very interesting genre of writing is sequel novels. Jane Austen`s Pride and Prejudice has had a few sequels attached to it, while Gone with the Windhas four! Sebastian Faulks who is at the festival, has done a James Bond and P G Wodehouse`s Jeeves. It`s tough enough writing your own book; how do you write someone else`s?

Issues concerning women, now at the forefront of our national consciousness, form a substantial part of our litfest this year. We have women of substance talking about them, so much food for thought is bound to emerge there too.

Finally, the festival will honour two major, though vastly different figures who have dominated their fields for a very long time. There`s Sir Mark Tully, the man forever identified with BBC Radio, but who has also written several insightful books about India. He will receive our Lifetime Achievement award. And Jayanta Mahapatra, our Poet Laureate, who writes masterfully in two languages. Their presence undoubtedly enriches the festival

Happy listening, happy imbibing, happy reading!

Anil Dharker


NEW DELHI, March 13, 2008 :  SeniorJournalist and Writer , Anil Dharker in New Delhi on March 13, 2008 . Photo by-Rajeev Bhatt
Anil Dharker
Anil Dharker is a Mumbai-based writer and columnist. At various stages in his life, he has been an engineer on the academic staff of the University of Glasgow, a consultant in a Mumbai architectural firm, a film critic and censor, a promoter of New Cinema with the National Film Development Corporation and an editor successively, ofDebonair, Mid-Day and Sunday Mid-Day, The Independent,and The Illustrated Weekly of India. Dharker has worked in television as producer and anchor, as well as head of a news television channel, then poised for takeoff. He was also, briefly, creative director of the Zee Television network. He is still remembered for his long stint as TV critic at The Sunday Observer, where readers, viewers, producers, Doordarshan directors-general and ministers found his column the one they loved to hate. These were reprinted in an anthology by HarperCollins titled Sorry Not Ready:Television in the Time of PMdarshan. Dharker has written a coffee-table book on Goa; a biography of industrialist OP Jindal, The Man Who Talked To Machines; and a book on Mahatma Gandhi’s Dandi March, The Romance Of Salt. Recently, he brought out an anthology, Icons: The Men & Women Who Shaped Today’s India.
Shashi Baliga
Shashi Baliga is an independent journalist and media trainer. Her last assignment was as Editor, Sunday Features with the Hindustan Times, Mumbai. She has also been Editor of Filmfare magazine, worked with The Independent and The Metropolis on Saturday papers and Femina and Savvy magazines. She lectures on journalism at the Xavier Institute of Communication and SPICE in Mumbai. She has contributed a chapter to A Book of Light, edited by Jerry Pinto – a collection of personal accounts of living with a loved one with mental illness.
Quasar Thakore Padamsee
Q is a theatreholic. A director, producer, trainer and, most importantly, avid watcher of all things theatrical. In the past he has been curator of the theatre section for the Kala Ghoda Festival, Prithvi Festival platforms and the Mumbai Theatre Utsav. Internationally he has worked on Tim Supple’s critically acclaimed A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Toby Gough’s smash hit The Merchants of Bollywood and most recently, the aerial drama Mind Walking. In Bombay his plays Project S.t.r.i.p. and Khatijabai of Karmali Terrace have been running for many years.
Amy Fernandes
Amy Fernandes is Editorial Director with Jade, a monthly South-centric lifestyle magazine. She considers herself a ‘magazine’ person, having created, conceptualised and edited as many as five different target audience magazines at one time: Time N’ Style, It’s a Guy Thing, Femina Sri Lanka, Femina Allure and Kidzone.She was Editor of Femina after which she left to set up her own content development outfit.
Antoine Lewis
Antoine Lewis is a Food & Wine writer and columnist. His love of good food is matched by his love for digging into the origins of dishes and the cultural practices and histories that shape what we eat and why. Apart from being a regular contributor to a variety of national and international newspapers, magazines and websites he has been the Editor of Savvy Cookbook, Food & Drink Editor, Paprika Media and Editor of burrp.com.
Dr. Vinod Kumar Budhiraja
Dr Vinod Kumar Budhiraja I.T.S is an independent telecom professional who has been employed in both the public and private sector in India and abroad. Over his long career he has been General Manager of MTNL; General Manager Telecom, Kashmir; a member of the Executive Committee of Association of Business Communication of India (ABCI) and the Chairman of the Public Relations Society of India, Bombay Chapter (PRSI).
Reena Agrawal
When Reena is not teaching, she’s telling stories to children who challenge and help explore her own possibilities.
 Tanvi Kanchan pic
Tanvi Kanchan

Tanvi Kanchan has been a part of Literature Live! since 2014. Having previously written for Rolling Stone India, DNA YA! and the Times of India NIE, she is currently studying Mass Media in Mumbai. Her interests include anything to do with the written or spoken word, music, and doing things that intimidate her.

Tasneem Vahanvaty

As an arts consultant since 2002, Tasneem has drawn on her arts administrative experience to provide strategies that have empowered various contemporary artists from India to advance their careers locally and internationally.

As a senior arts lead at British council for 10 years, she has developed knowledge, networks and expertise in the cultural and creative economy space along with developing strong relations with corporate and government funding agencies.

Aside from being a part of the Literature live! Team, Tasneem also consults with arts organisations on their strategies and curation of content.

Neysa Mendes 1 - Photo Credit - Naman Saraiya
Neysa Mendes

Neysa Mendes is happiest working with the creative arts. She started out with theatre, but has since spent most of her career working with the music industry, from the beginning of its revolution here in India. She’s managed artists, run a record label, strategised launches and in 2010, she founded the first publicity company focussed on music and the independent arts. She continues to consult with the music industry and arts-driven organisations.

Tina Nagpaul Pic
Tina Nagpaul

Tina Nagpaul is a filmmaker who has produced and written feature films as well as content for web and television. She is currently in the process of directing her first documentary feature. In a prior life, she was an accidental banker with Citigroup but spent her free time immersed in the creative culture of New York and Los Angeles. She has a Bachelors in Physics and Astronomy from Mount Holyoke College and a masters in Public Policy from Georgia Tech.


Shireen Mistry

A  graduate of the universities of Bombay and Oxford, Shireen Mistry first worked as a journalist and then for over twenty years was the British Deputy High Commission’s spokesperson and  Head of its Political, Communications and Public Affairs Department for Western India. She  has been awarded an MBE ( a British government award) for her contribution to strengthening Indo-UK ties.