Noted journalist and author Anil Dharker dead

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(Eds: adds details) Mumbai, Mar 26 (PTI) Noted journalist and author Anil Dharker died here on Friday, a former colleague said.

Dharker (74) was the founder and director of the Mumbai International Literary Festival, held in November every year and was also the founder and director of Literature Live! which holds literary evenings throughout the year in the city.

He underwent a bypass procedure at a Mumbai hospital on Thursday and died there Friday morning, the colleague said.

Over a five-decade-long illustrious career, Dharker had been a columnist and writer, an architect, a member of the advisory committee of the film censor board and more.

Dharker had been the editor of a variety of publications, starting with Debonair (a monthly), Mid-Day and Sunday Mid-Day (evening papers); The Independent, a morning broad-sheet from the Times of India group and The Illustrated Weekly of India.

Dharker is survived by his companion of many years Amy Fernandes and his daughter Ayesha, a London based film actor.

He was a columnist for The Indian Express newspaper and author The Romance Of Salt, a book on Mahatma Gandhis Dandi March. Dharker had also worked as a TV show producer and anchor, and head of a news television channel.

He was a member of the Advisory Boards of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), Doordarshan, the Children`s Film Society of India and several film funds for the production of films in India. He was also a recipient of several journalism awards.

Shashi Baliga, Executive Director of Literature Live! said Dharker was also the Founder-Director of Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai Litfest which acquired international acclaim under his visionary leadership.

'Born on August 15, 1946, Dharker was the quintessential Renaissance Man, myriad-minded and deeply knowledgeable across genres; an engineer by training who shone in the Arts. He married his scientific temper to a keen love for literature, cinema, music and art, straddling both Indian and Western traditions,' she said.

'As an editor, cultural leader, festival director and committed human rights activist, he applied both rigorous examination and humanity to all he undertook.His work ethic was impeccable, his energy unbounded, and his support for his team steadfast and gracious at all times,' she said.

The festival brand custodian Harish Bhat said, 'We are deeply saddened to hear about the sudden passing away of Anil Dharker. Over his illustrious multi-decade career, Anil has donned many caps; from being a journalist, columnist, film critic, writer and above all, he was a wonderful human being.' In her tributes to Dharker, fellow author and columnist Shobhaa De tweeted: Goodbye dearest Anil. An elegant mind, a stylish writer, and a loyal friend. You will be missed by all those whose lives you touched. RIP.' Expressing grief over Dharkers demise, columnist Bachi Karkaria tweeted: 'Extremely saddened by the passing of the many talented Anil Dharker. 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.' Lyricist and Chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) Prasoon Joshi tweeted,' Saddened to hear about Anil Dharker passing away. Will miss and cherish the discussions we had about life. A stimulating mind, nurturer of literature and art who thrived on ideas.' PTI VT VT VT