#KLF19: An Exclusive Interview with Samarjit Guha

Samarjit Guha at Kolkata Literature Festival

Q: Do you prefer live performances or screen performances?

Guha: Live, of course. But, I don’t know about the future, the way films are going, and it is shrinking, and shrinking. But, I really prefer the live performances. In our times, we would like to touch the actor to see whether they were real or not. But, nowadays that’s gone. No one does that anymore, because they can see it on their mobile, and I get that getting audiences is becoming difficult, so live performance is suffering a bit. Young people like more digital stuff, but everything has a circle I feel. So again, one day it will come back, only if it is diminishing, I hope it’s not. Live is very celebrity-struck, if you have a big name and you have a big – especially a Bollywood person, then people might go, but unknown names I doubt, how much a live performance can pull off. Content is no longer important, status is very important.

Q: You have inspired people around you, who have inspired you?

Guha: I have worked 25 years with Sujata Di (Sujata Sen, Director, Kolkata Literature Festival); first in The Statesman. I was a trainee, and she was my assistant director, and then in British Council where I worked for 15 years, as a Deputy, and now in Future Hope, I am the Director of Homes and she is the CEO. She is the most inspirational person. I have learnt a lot from her, still learning a lot from her. We have a fantastic relationship, and she teaches in a very unique way, she will never tell you this is the way to do it, she will do it herself. Like, if you see Animal Planet, the animals never tell their children anything. They just expect them to follow, how to move aroung, how to kill, that’s how I have learnt from her. She has been massively inspirational and I have always been motivated by her work.

Q: The most difficult person you have interviewed?

Guha: I don’t blame the person! That was many years ago in The Statesman. It was Mohan Agashe.

Q: According to you what are the biggest challenges in a live performance?

Guha: I just feel how to get people to see, how to get people involved in the work that you do. I think everyone is facing challenges with audience. I think it is too much happening, you know, at the same time. We need to really think before putting up anything, be it a book festival, be it a dance. What are we presenting?


Interviewed by Ahona Das


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