Sanjoy Roy, Jaipur Lit Fest organiser reacts to Harinder Sikka’s allegations on Gulzar – Beyond Bollywood

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The Calling Sehmat [2008] author had accused Gulzar of trying to throw him out of the Jaipur Literature Festival in 2019

By Ariba Neyaz

with inputs from Mayur Lookhar

Edited by Ruchika Shah

roy-harinder-4059861 Sanjoy Roy (L), Harinder S Sikka (R)

Harindra S Sikka, the author of the book ‘Calling Sehmat’, which was later adapted into a critically acclaimed film Raazi [2018], has made quite some shocking revelations. Sikka has accused director Meghna Gulzar and her father Gulzar for not only removing his name from the film credits, barring him from its promotional events but also trying to throw him out from a literature festival.

Sikka claimed that the legendary lyricist-filmmaker Gulzar tried to oust him from the Jaipur Literature Festival 2018-19.

In an interview with Beyond Bollywood, the writer shared his story of alleged marginalization. He says: “Gulzar bullied Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) to remove me. Meghna and Gulzar were attending the same day to talk at the festival. My presence would have made them uncomfortable as I would have told the world that it was me who had penned the story and that she had backstabbed the very man who made her the director”.

“Fortunately, Sanjoy K Roy is not someone who can be bullied easily. He wrote me an e-mail where he mentioned categorically that it was Gulzar who was bullying him. Roy had CCed that e-mail to 5-6 other people in his office”, says Sikka, carrying on with his grievances.

Following the claims made by Harindra Sikka, we approached Sanjay K Roy (Managing Director of Teamwork Arts- producers of Jaipur Literature Festival) to find out the real story behind the accusations.

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We queried Roy about Sikka’s assertion on the e-mail wherein Gulzar had pressurised him to remove the ‘Calling Sehmat’ writer from the Literature Fest. Roy reverted to us via e-mail, in which he mentioned that he is unable to comment on the letter Mr. Sikka refers to as they don’t have this in their record. However, he definitely made Sikka’s presence at the festival evident. He added: “Sikka has appeared at our festival”.

“I would like to restate that the Jaipur Literature Festivals core values remain unchanged; to serve as an accessible platform for literature and ideas across the spectrum from all over the world,” Roy stated in the e-mail.