Times Literature Festival Bangalore 2017

Attending a Literature Festival is a  beautiful way of spending an enlightening weekend.

Ideas float around, the air is filled with literary vibrations and the ambiance is charged with star presence.  The fever catches onto to you. The temperature soars to climax to a  rocking frenzy like it happened this time when the local rock God Raghu Dixit performed with his band to mark the culmination of the festival.

Indian BloggersBefore that,  there was this ‘Khullam Khulla’ session with Rishi Kapoor. Of course he had come to promote his book. During the panel discussion he was at his candid best talking about the advantages and disadvantages carrying the baggage of the Kapoor legacy and his real and reel life. Being a Kapoor son gave him the break. At the same time, he worked hard to make his mark as  a romantic hero in the era of the angry young men.

He is also well known for his unique and spontaneous style of acting.  The audience, comprising of young and old got its ‘tare zamin par‘ moment as they  crowded the venue to have a glimpse and listen to him.

I would have liked to be there from start to finish on both the days to soak in the ethereal world of ideas and stars. But, then there are worldly duties. So, I could attend only part of the sessions on both the days- 11th and 12th Feb.

Even if you attend the festival from start to finish you cannot be part of all the happenings as events took place simultaneously at three venues. Sometime, when two of your favorite programs clash, or just for the sake of curiosity, you have to shuttle between venues half way through a session.

Let us check up what is happening at those other venues.”

In India, in terms of literacy men may outnumber women, but when it comes to matters literary it is the other way round. At least literature festivals makes one think so. And it makes women qualitatively better than men. (Even in an earlier literature festival while a congregation of women writers were discussing various issues, a bunch of girls in the audience were heard making a loud statement all of the men are idiots)

It was nice to see authors and stakeholders from diverse fields like fashion, sports, food, cinema, music, technology etc. congregate and share their points of view, sometimes to ignite the dormant passion in us or sometimes to see things from a different angle. While, the dismal state of sport administration in India was highlighted in one session, in another, concern was expressed about Coorg tribe the Coorg cuisine facing the danger of extinction, maybe in not so distant a future.

Here are some of the photos of the event. For more titbits of the event visit the facebook page or twitter handle of the Times Literature Festival, Bangalore.

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William Dalrymple talking about his new book ‘Kohinoor’
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Talking of cuisine and culture: Ranveer Brar, Anoothi Vishal, Shazia Khan and Mithun
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The audience under the Peepal Tree getting enthralled with Ila Arun (below)

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Rishi Kapoor introducing his autobiography – ‘Khullam Khulla’ to Bangalore readers
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My wife manages to get her copy autographed by the author
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The hands that can rock the cradle can rock the stage too – may be better

Sunday Musings and Random Notes #3


Indian Bloggers

Come on India, do not lose your sense of humour

A good sense of humour is vital for democracy, especially for its citizens. At least, it lets you live through all the broken promises made by your politicians.

It seems India is turning into a country of no dissent and no humour. There are some political and religious leaders who themselves act as jokers. But all hell breaks lose when some one makes a joke at their expense. It is unfortunate that the painter turned  CM of a state that takes pride in its hoary history of great intellectuals and artists cannot take dissent and humour in right democratic spirit. Down south, a Chief Minister who herself was an accomplished actress cannot digest a few songs written to criticize her. Recently, the backlash received by Justice Katju over his humorous Facebook Posts is unprecedented. I was reading one of the counter Facebook posts written by an Odiya politician, who has questioned Justice Katju’s authenticity of birth, education career and what not. As if by writing this one humorous post, Justice Katju lost all his democratic rights to be an honourable citizen of this great country where we have more statues and more cities and streets named after political and religions leaders than those named after writers and artists.

In India, it is somewhat OK to slight your nation. But, God forbid, you give a perceived sense of slighting to someone’s regional, religious or language identity. I wonder how the the great humorist Khushwant Singh would have reacted to the news that some one has filed a petition in Supreme Court to stop Santa Banta Jokes.

In this connection, all politicians have much to learn from the likes of Nehru,  Manmohan, Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal. Nehru not only encouraged criticism of his works, it is also rumoured that he himself wrote articles criticizing himself and published the articles anonymously. We have  had unprecedented number of jokes floating online and offline about the other three. Imagine how much less humorous the world would be if these guys suddenly decided to file defamation cases.

Come on India. The drama enacted in your parliaments, ashrams, streets and offices are already full of so much humor. Just recognize, enjoy and have the last laugh. Leave all the serious business to your religious and political leaders.

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Celebrating thirty years of Malgudi Days

It is a humongous task for any director to convert a novel into a movie retaining its authenticity. It becomes all the more difficult when the story is humorous. In my young adult days I used to be a  great fan of RK Narayan. I still am. Malgudi Days, directed and produced by Shankar Nag did full justice to the characterization of the denizens of the fictional town Malgudi. Rarely did I miss an episode when it was first telecast on Doordarshan. Sometimes while random channel surfing I come across an episode of Malgudi Days on DD. It is as delightful to watch it today as it was three decades back.

As I have mentioned earlier in this post, in our country, we have more memorials built for religious and political leaders than writers and artists. If you go to a country like England or Canada, a famous writer’s erstwhile residence is marked as a must visit place for tourists to that city. But not here in India. How many of the present generation who visit Mysore would know that RK Narayan was a resident of that city. Of course after much hue and cry, the dilapidated house of RK Narayan was restored a couple of years back and now it functions as a memorial. Still, does it feature in the top ten, or, top twenty five places to see in Mysore?

malgudidays.jpgimage credit: thebetterindia.com