Prankur Chaturvedi is a writer and poet living in Bombay. He has been performing for about a year now at different venues including Tuning Fork, The Hive, Pitaara-The Art Box, Of10. He has also collaborated with Chaayos for his solo show “Poetic Pleasure” wherein he recites his poems in a form of conversation between two people. Here he takes on our Q&A
Tell us about yourself and your Poetic Journey?
I come from Jaipur, Rajasthan and have studied law in Delhi University. I started writing when I was in college. I had a story in my mind and wrote a Novel on the same. It was about a guy who wanted to be Famous at any cost. Yes, that was me. I titled it as “All I want is Fame…Sir.” I launched it as an E-Fiction (It is not a big thing, I realize it now). Back in those days, I promoted it rigorously even when I knew the content is not that rich but it was an honest attempt from my side and that journey taught me a lot.
Now, as far as my Poetic Journey is concerned I started writing couplets when I was studying law in DU. I am fan of Hindi and Urdu writings. I like and applaud English Poetry as well but on an emotional level I connect more with Hindi and Urdu. In 2016, a friend of mine gave me an idea to start writing and performing poetry. By this time, I was working as a corporate lawyer in Mumbai and realized Mumbai is the place to showcase my talent. I started writing poetry and god has been kind on me. I run my own show “Poetic Pleasure” and also perform at various places with other artists as well.
What’s integral to the work of an artist?
Honesty and Emotions. If an artist is honest and emotional at the same time, that reflects in his or her work.
What role does the artist have in society?
They are the game changers. Artists are an indispensable force and no society can stay rational, logical, affectionate, and emotional without an artist.
What has been a seminal experience?
I have been performing for quite some time now. The reactions I get from my audience makes me feel wonderful. I realize the importance of each and every reaction and keep it with myself to cherish it forever.
How has your practice change over time?
I write for change and whenever I write a poem on something say a social cause or political scenario I believe that change is on its way. I try to give Hope through my writings.
What’s your strongest memory of your childhood?
I have played Cricket at a professional level. I initially played at the district level and then was in the Rajasthan Under-16 camp. My strongest memory is when my grandfather gifted me my first cricket bat. I used to use my father’s childhood bat before that. To have my own first hand bat was a great feeling altogether. I remember I was jumping with joy.
What themes do you pursue?
As I said, I generally write on social causes or political scenario. I follow a pattern. I write my poems in a form of a conversation between two people. That gives a different flavor and I am able to express my emotions in a better form. Also, I realize people love to hear about love. Therefore, I try and pitch in my love poem here and there.
What’s your scariest experience?
There are two. This is my first proper interview and I don’t know whether I should disclose this or not but anyway, I love to take chances.
The first one is a dream which I often used to have in my childhood that I am standing in the late line of my school morning assembly. Well, the scariest part is that I was nude.
The second is one of the experiences I had a few days back. Without going into much details, I would just like to summarize that I felt like I was dying and all the thoughts which comes to an almost dead man came across my mind. It was horrifying.
What’s your favourite art work?
Mirza Ghalib, written by Gulzar Sahab
Our Moon has Blood Clots, written by Rahul Pandita
The Kite Runner, written by Khalid Hosseini
What’s your most embarrassing moment?
In school, right after coming out of the washroom I went and proposed a girl whom I had a crush on but in the process forgot to zip my pants.
What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
I am a corporate lawyer and love my work. Being good at it releases my pressure to an extent and helps me to concentrate more on poetry.
Art is liberating and I am a Liberal.
What is an artistic outlook on life?
Not to be Judgmental. Every action or reaction has a reason behind it. Offcourse, you cannot say this in case of the horrifying incidents like rape, terrorist attack etc. but in general artists should not be judgmental. I helps them to be open to different ideas and remain unbiased.
Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
I get inspired very easily. Every time I see a fellow artist reciting a poem on stage, I get inspired.
What research to you do?
I love to keep myself up to date. It has been a habit since my college days to read newspaper everyday. I was an UPSC aspirant once. As my poetry is mostly based on social causes or political scenario, it is very important to know what’s happening around you.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
I was performing in Delhi in December, 2016 and I was reciting one of my favourites poems “Aaina or Asliyat.” The lady who was sitting right in front of me had tears in her eyes. After the show she came and spoke to me for like 5 minutes and expressed how much she could relate to what I said. I feel that was my reward.
Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
I feel artists lose friends. Well, it has been true in my case but I have my art and I am certain it will never betray me.
What do you dislike about the art world?
Sometimes it becomes too idealistic. Although that helps in spreading optimism but still I feel even optimism should have a realistic touch.
What do you dislike about your work?
Nothing. I love my work and I strongly believe that if I will not love my work no one else will.
What do you like about your work?
Everything. But the most special part is when after reciting my poem I see reactions on people’s face. That after effect, those emotional faces seeking answers. I love that part.
Should art be funded?
Definitely. It is high time that sponsors should invest on a large scale to promote art. I am not saying its not happening but mostly happening on a bigger scale. At a small and mediocre level, artists are somehow managing on their own. I would like to especially mention a place “Tuning Fork” in Khar, Mumbai. The effort they are putting in promoting young talent is commendable.
What makes you angry?
What research to you do?
I love to keep myself up to date. It has been a habit since my college days to read newspapers everyday. I was a UPSC aspirant once. Since those days this habit is there to finish a news paper and feel happy about it.
Name something you love, and why.
I am a leo, I love being praised.
Name something you don’t love, and why.
I don’t love criticism which is not healthy and being done just to demean others.
What is your dream project?
I am writing a Novel on Kashmir. It is titled as “What Gandhi would have done?” it is a fictional story with a realistic touch. It’s been two years and I have just completed half. Now you see, clearly it is my DREAM project (laughs)
Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.
I want to keep my identity intact and don’t want to be compared with anyone else.
Favourite or most inspirational place?
Nothing beats “Himachal Pradesh”. I love Mountains.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Believe in yourself and don’t stop. This was the advice which people gave me when I released my first novel. A senior realized that although the content is not that rich but there is something different in me from others. She told me this, “You have an honest approach. You just need to believe in yourself and there is no looking back.”
Professionally, what’s your goal?
My only Goal is to write for change and even if a single person gets influenced (in a good way) from what I am saying through my poetry, I will feel that’s my victory.
Prankur Chaturvedi, thank you!