Samaresh Majumdar is a well-known Bengali author. A versatile author, Mr. Majumdar is noted for the elements of suspense and thrill that he infuses in most of his works. One of his famous characters is the young and adventurous detective Arjun. A 2013 movie has also been made with Arjun being the central character.
Samaresh Babu was kind enough to speak to us over the telephone and recount his memories about the Boimela.
Since when have you attended Boimela?
I did attend the first year when Boimela happened, and I have been attending ever since. For a long time, I have attended Boimela on all days of its duration, but these days, I only go for a couple of days when it’s going on.
How do you think Boimela has changed over the years?
I think a significant way in which it has changed is the people who visit the Boimela today. Back in our days, both the authors and readers attended Boimela. But today, more readers visit Boimela, and not too many authors. There was a time when authors like Ramapada Chowdhury, Sunil Gangopadhyay, and Samaresh Basu used to go to Boimela dol bendhe (in a group). We used to go along with our friends and have a great adda there!
I remember how, on our requests, the management created an Authors’ Corner for us. We got to chat with each other and interact with readers too. There was a healthy exchange between all of us.
But with most authors of our time passing away, naturally this camaraderie broke down.
What is your opinion of Boimela, from the perspective of an author?
When we were young and yet to be established as authors, we had the advantage of being in close proximity of well-known authors who often guided us, thanks to the Authors’ Corner. Authors today don’t have that privilege to the extent that we had.
Boimela today has become a museum of sorts, in the sense that most of the works on display and most books that sell are by authors who aren’t alive any more. In that way, I have lost the enthusiasm I previously had for Boimela. These days, I only attend on the behest of publishers.
What is your most special moment about Boimela?
The most special moment for me has to be during the one when I received my Sahitya Akademi award. It was in the year 1984, for the book Kalbela. I was invited to the function that happens during the Boimela (Find out about the Kolkata Literature Festival on this link). I was decorated there for my receiving the Akademi award.
Anything in particular that you remember?
During my felicitation there, Samaresh Basu (famous Bengali author) was there on the dais, introducing me. I remember him saying, in his own words, “If there was another author preceding me (Basu) who was named Samaresh, then I probably would have not used my own name. I think it is extremely brave of Samaresh Majumdar to use his own name in his works despite there already being another author preceding him, also famous as Samaresh. I could not have done that.”
This really meant a lot to me, when he said that. I still remember his words today!