A packed-house audience witnessed Javed Akhtar’s poetry readings recently in five different languages. In an event hosted by the arts organisation BaithakUK, Taj Rendezvous and Prabha Khaitan Foundation at the Taj, Buckingham Gate, London, many A-list Londoners attended a glittering event compered by Sangeeta Datta.
Javed Akhtar’s poetry has been widely translated in Indian and now European languages. This poetry evening had an international audience (French, Italian, British and American along with his traditional audience) and flavour. Javed Akhtar read his poetry in Urdu, and Shabana Azmi read the English poems. French writer Ann Chataigne read from Akhtar’s French book of translations, entitled D’Autres Mondes. Italian actress Valentina Marciano read from his book of Italian translations. The book has been translated by Claire Noblis. Sangeeta Datta read from his book of Bengali translations, Onyo Kothay. The readings in various languages created a magical atmosphere for the listeners.
The reading was followed by the launch of a music video based on Javed Akhtar’s translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s famous monsoon song, Megha hi megha, sung by Sangeeta Datta, composed by Soumik Datta and featuring Kathak dancer Shivani Bhandari.