It’s a new way of looking at a literature known for its literary and non-literary controversies.
Drishti, written by Marathi writer Anant Samant and narrated by Marathi poet Sandeep Khare, is both an audio book and a new experiment in Marathi literature.
Even as Marathi critics largely neglected this attempt at something innovative, more than 1,000 copies of the first Marathi audio book have already been sold, a very impressive performance by any yardstick.
Mumbai based Samant, considered to be a serious writer in Marathi, told Hindustan Times that many important English literature books had been converted into audio books and such experiments had been done in Kannada and Tamil too. “Similar experiments were done (in Marathi) by eminent writers Pu La Deshpande and V.P. Kale, but they were in the cassette format,” he said. “Drishti is the first experiment in which you can listen to an entire novel in merely three hours instead of spending days completing the book.”
The author, who has spent part of his life in the merchant navy, has deep affection for the sea. Drishti takes place against the backdrop of the sea.
Samant said the audio book was the most efficient way to attract readers and lovers of Marathi today. “We can spread Marathi this way among those who can understand Marathi but are not able to write or read it.”
Samant, who has written 15 books in the language, spent his own money on the project since no publisher was willing to take a risk.
People had the urge to read but not the time, he said. “One has to sit to read a book while a ‘talking book’ can be enjoyed when one is working as well,” he said. “Even illiterate people can enjoy books this way.”
He is of the view that Marathi authors should adopt new methods of reaching out to readers instead of lamenting that people had stopped reading. He is glad that many youngsters are taking to his book. Khare, the voice behind Drishti, is quite popular among youngsters. “The effective narration by Sandeep Khare is one of the factors that has attracted people,” Samant agrees.
Pravin Joshi has provided the sound effects for Drishti. The three-hours audio book in CD format is available for Rs 120.