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Chandrahas Choudhury launches his book Clouds

At the launch, veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah did a dramatic reading from the book.

mumbai Updated: Feb 15, 2018 15:47 IST
Jayati Bhola
Jayati Bhola
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Chandrahans Choudhury,Clouds
At the launch, veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah did a dramatic reading from the book.(BHUSHAN KOYANDE/HT)

“Like many Mumbaiites who aren’t from here but call this city home, it was great to come back where I became a writer,” says Chandrahas Choudhury, at the launch of his latest book, Clouds, at a Literature Live! Evening organised by Avid Learning held at the Royal Opera House on Tuesday.

What began as a short story turned into a novel that follows the newly single Mumbai psychotherapist Farhad Billimoria, his quest for love, and his unusual relationship with the skies over his city. This is Choudhury’s second novel, after Arzee The Dwarf (2009).

“There are two kinds of Mumbai; one of a person who’s grown up here and the other of an outsider who grows to love and form a bond with the city. It is up to the writer to tell a new city story, to develop a new format,” adds Choudhury, who lived in Mumbai for 17 years and is now based in Delhi.

At the launch, veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah did a dramatic reading from the book.

“I find it stimulating to see young writers and playwrights talk about subjects which matter to them. They are not trying to philosophise or show how intelligent they are. They are writing about subjects that they deeply care about. And that’s the basis of all good literature,” Shah said.

“I imagine my readers to be someone like Naseer, open to reading new stories about a city that’s already been written about,” said Choudhury. “He also makes everything sound better,” he added, laughing.

The evening’s theme was Clouds - reflected in an art installation, and in performances by singer-songwriter Geetu Hinduja and Himalee Vyas. “My favourite time in the city is the monsoon,” Hinduja said.

Vyas sang Gujarati, Marathi and Hindi songs with similar themes.

“It was a beautiful experience to listen to the songs in different languages. Naseer’s reading was something I really enjoyed,” said Kokila Sheth, 60, a jewellery designer from Matunga who attended the event.

Lisa Friedhofen, 27, a film editor from Berlin on holiday in Mumbai, stumbled upon the event online.

“It was a unique experience to listen to the author’s interpretation of a cloud god and then listen to the music performances... I could also relate to Choudhury’s idea of a city and what it means to different people,” Friedhofen said.

First Published: Feb 14, 2018 00:46 IST