Curtains came down on the Jaipur Literature Festival on Monday with "intolerance" becoming a hot topic of discussion at the event.
On the inaugural day filmmaker Karan Johar kicked up a storm with his remark that "freedom of expression is the biggest joke and democracy is the second biggest joke".
Actor Kajol dismissed any intolerance in Bollywood, actor- politician Shatrughan Sinha stated it was ‘childish’ to speak of it while Anupam Kher termed the intolerance debate as "a joke."
Writers Ashok Vajpeyi, Uday Prakash and K Satchidanandan hit out against a lack of freedom of expression.
Canadian writer Margaret Atwood, who gave the inaugural lecture, 2015 Booker Winner Marlon James, comedian Stephen Fry, sportspersons Anil Kumble and Baichung Bhutia, besides bestselling author Amish Tripathi, Ruskin Bond, photographer Steve McCurry, were among over 360 authors at the five-day literary event.
Even before it began, the event witnessed a hint of controversy with the Rajasthan High Court hearing a PIL that sought for a change in the venue and directing the state government to submit within a week a report on arrangements made for the festival.
According to the organisers, there was a "40 per cent increase in footfall, with average age of visitor being 15-25 years".
Sanjoy Roy, Managing Director of Teamwork Arts and producer of the festival, said, "This year’s festival has been a celebration of the freedom of creative expression. We have seen a record footfall across the five days."
The authors participated in 200 sessions across 10 venues, including the Diggi Palace, Amber For and the Albert Hall.
This year, the festival gave away three prizes — the second edition of the Ojas Art Award which was presented to Santosh Kumar Das and Mahalaxmi and Shantanu Das, as well as the first editions of the Shri Dwarka Prasad Aharwal Award (to upcoming Hindi writer Prabhat Ranjan) and the Kanhaiya Lal Sethia Poetry Prize (which was won by Rituraj).