Column- Piyush Jha gives us some sparkling thoughts for the next festive seasonUpdated: Oct 31, 2019 14:05 IST
This Diwali, once again dry fruits, and mithais turned up as gifts. I asked around and found that gold, new clothes, candles, appliances are all on the list as far as Diwali shopping goes. To my disappointment, nobody suggested books at all. It struck me as odd that even now in an evolving India, books that provide a wealth of knowledge, barely make it to the Diwali gift package.
Marketers often dictate how people celebrate festivals. In a country that passionately loves mythology, Diwali could well be the season for book publishers to build as an occasion for gifting books too. Publishers and bookshops could have special Diwali-offers like a family pack of books, with books of different kinds for each member! If Ipads and mobile phones are legit gifts with retailers falling all over themselves to give you a package deal, then Kindle and e-books could make a killing for publishers, if they claimed Diwali as a festival for selling more books and spreading more knowledge.
Taking the thought further, I couldn’t help but wonder why we don’t have a culture of festival-related films and books that can further brighten the festive season. There is an entire genre of books in the west based around holidays like Halloween and Christmas. These books and films celebrate the spirit that embodies these festive occasions. In fact, western publishers plan the release of important books that pertain to the family around the holiday season, especially Christmas. A host of genres especially children’s books come out and become an integral part of the festivities. We in India have read Christmas classics like A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss. And we love Christmas films like Home Alone and Love Actually. Why can’t we in India have books and movies that celebrate the spirit of our festivals? Why don’t we have wholesome films with new and innovative stories meant for the entire family, books which revolve around our core values? Around Diwali, we are often subjected to star-driven crass comedies intended to be ‘family films’. Wouldn’t it be nice if next Diwali we had a book or a movie that dramatised the victory of good over evil?
So, here’s calling Filmmakers, writers, publishers and all other relevant parties- it’s time to put a new spark into our festivals with offerings that celebrate the Diwali spirit.