New Delhi, Jan 7 India’s big screen will meet the fine print at the capital’s 20th World Book Fair, the biggest carnival of books in the Afro-Asian region, when the 100 years of Indian motion pictures is celebrated with the theme, ‘Literature and Cinema’.
The Feb 25-March 4 fair, organised by the National Book Trust (NBT) every two years, aims to boost the publishing trade, promote reading and create a new segment of readers for both Indian and foreign books.
“Books and Indian cinema have had a long relationship. We want to pay tribute to the legacy of Indian cinema and the close ties it has shared with literature for the last 100 years at the World Book Fair,” NBT director M.A. Sikander told IANS.
Indian cinema traces its roots to an indigenous “instruction movie”, “The Birth of a Pea Plant”, a capsule history of the growth of a pea into a pea laden plant by Dada Saheb Phalke.
Eight first-time countries like France, Turkey, Iran, Mexico, Malaysia and Hong Kong are participating in the book fair. “We are expecting a record number of participants,” Sikander said.
The NBT Friday unveiled a calendar, ‘Literature and Indian Cinema’, as a thematic prelude to the book fair with a discussion on the relationship between literature and cinema.
The calendar features stills from cinematic milestones adapted from literature by well-known auteurs like Dada Saheb Phalke, Joseph David Penkar, Ardeshir Irani, Satyajit Ray, Mohan Rakesh, Ritwik Ghatak and several others.
“The fair will be inaugurated by Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal and actor Farooque Sheikh. We want to get actress Deepti Naval too at the inauguration because the duo is teaming up for a movie (‘Listen Amaya’ – a mature love story) set in the capital,” Sikander said.
The director said all the 300 books published by NBT on cinema will be showcased at the fair.
Established in 1957 to make good literature available at moderate prices, NBT is now on an expansion drive. “We have submitted a plan to the government to promote it as a brand like the Frankfurt Book Fair.
“We want to make the fair an annual event – we may not be able to host one in 2013, but from 2015 the fair will become an annual event,” he said.
The trust plans to reduce dependence on government for resource and look for public-private partnerships to expand the fair, Sikander said. “We take a grant-in-aid from the government for the fair.”
The trust will introduce multilingual e-books in the market – in both general and children’s category – this year to mine wider segments of readers. “We have signed an agreement with Google to digitise and market our books,” Sikander said.
Citing estimates, he said the NBT publishes 1,200 titles, including reprints, every year in 30 languages.
“The government has set up a National Books Promotion Council under Sibal to help the trust take on a mentoring role. We have inked a pact with the Calcutta University to train students in the publishing trade and have developed a management programme for working executives in the publishing industry,” Sikander said.
The trust has requested the Delhi government to help set up a pavilion to celebrate 100 years of Delhi with photographs, books and archival material, he said.
“We are roping in the ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations) and student volunteers from prestigious colleges. We want to install cinema-like ticket counters for visitors at the venue and screen movies based on literature. We are talking to the big cinema houses to see if they can sponsor the screenings.
“This month, we will launch a social media portal for the World Book Fair to build hype. The idea is to reach out to the youth and make the festival as colourful as possible. Hence the theme, cinema and literature. Surveys have shown that more young people visit the fair,” Sikander said.