Writer and founder of Mumbai’s Tata Literature Live festival Anil Dharker died on Friday. Dharker, 74, had undergone a bypass procedure at a Mumbai hospital on Thursday, according to PTI.
“Extremely saddened by the passing of the many talented Anil Dharker,” writer Bachi Karkaria wrote on Twitter. “I can safely say no other Indian Litfest curator had his deep, emotional commitment or drive. Knew him for well nigh 50 years. Flourish as much up there, dear Anil.”
In a career spanning over decades, Dharker donned many hats. His degree in mathematics and mechanical engineering from the University of London led to a position on the academic staff of the University of Glasgow. On returning to India, he became a senior consultant to Pheroze Kandianavala & Associates, one of the country’s leading architectural practices, according to his website.
He also wrote articles on cinema, and had been one of the foremost promoters of New Cinema, also known as the Parallel Cinema, movement in India. He also headed the National Film Development Corporation.
During this period, several filmmakers of the Indian New Wave made their first films. According to his website, during Dharker’s stint at NFDC, Richard Attenborough brought his script of the movie “Gandhi” to the organisation, following which the corporation became one of the co-producers of the film that won multiple Oscars.
As a journalist, Dharker was the editor of publications such as The Illustrated Weekly of India, The Independent and Mid-day. He also wrote columns for numerous english dailies, including The Times of India, The Economic Times, The Hindu and DNA. His work also featured in foreign publications such as The Independent (London), The Scotsman and The Glasgow Herald.
In 2010, Dharker founded Literature Live!, which organises the Tata Literature Live festival in Mumbai every year. The 11th edition of the literary festival was held in November, hosting 192 writers, thinkers and performers from India and across the world. The event was organised virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.