Amidst a crowd of literature festivals being organized in almost every major city these days, I often wonder why the Jaipur Lit Fest is still regarded as the big daddy of them all. If crowd strength is anything to go by, JLF is the most popular and revered lit fest in the country today, with book lovers and academics clogging the generally ignored city of Jaipur. The eighth edition, held last weekend, was a vibrant mix of sessions focusing on cinema, poetry, global cuisine, politics, mythology and everything in between. Here are some of the highlights –

Copy of Naseeruddin Shah Girish KarnadThe Kajol-Shahrukh of the Indian New Wave, Shabana Azmi and Naseeruddin Shah, came together after years for a playful session on the latter’s recently launched autobiography.

Keeping with the global debate on freedom of expression for cartoonists and satirists, DNA’s Chief Cartoonist, Manjul, moderated a refreshing discussion on the right and responsibility of journalists to voice opinions and be funny.

The evergreen Waheeda Rehman reminisced about her illustrious career in Bollywood, her leading men, favourite directors and classic movie moments.

Nobel laureate Sir V.S.Naipaul made a rare appearance at the festival and lent unique insights into his pathbreaking masterpiece ‘A House for Mr.Biswas’, which was published fifty years back and is one of the top recommends in South-Asian literature even today.

Amish Tripathi at ZEE JLFThe king of mythological fiction, Amish Tripathi, announced his next book, Scion of Ikshvaku, the first installment of his next series on Ram.

Poet and lyricist, Prasoon Joshi, had an informative conversation with musicologist Yatindra Mishra on poetry and literature in Indian cinema.