This was the first time I went for this festival. I got to know only a few months ago that last year Gulzar Saab came to Bangalore, gave a public appearance, and I missed it. So this time I had decided to finally see him. Yep, that was the first and foremost reason for going to the literature festival.
Anyway, the reason told, here is some idea of what I saw on day one.
The day had to begin at ten in the morning, but I was a little early. Deliberately, though I had no plans as to what I’d do there. Things were slightly late too, and the opening ceremony began something around 1020-1030.
There, after the Dollukunita dance, Chandrashekhara Kambara, a Kannada poet-playwright presented a small good-wish speech, while Nabaneeta Dev Sen objected to the use of word ‘bhasha’ as just regional languages in India. Ramchandra Guha gave a little Tamil-in-Bangalore lesson and Ashok Vajpeyi tried to keep the mood light with his short-light talks. Finally when Christoph Bertrams was selling us some Seagull books after Vikram’s someone-even-postponed-his-wedding-for-this-event story, we decided to take a round of book stall, with my G-Mitra Mohit Kataria there too.
After finding and not finding some books, we sat for a few minutes to hear the panel discussion on ‘Vision for India’ but heard only some views of Mohandas Pai, before we were out for something again. And then around 1245 it was Sri Sri Ravi Shankar whose full session was watched. The session was okay, but some of the questions from the public were so ordinary that they made Sri Sri look like a genius there.
Around two, it was Bollywood time. Rakeysh Mehra, Prasoon Joshi and Farhan Akhtar were there for a session and Bhawana Somaaya had a good time talking to them, as did the audiences, where Rakeysh said Bhaag Milkha Bhaag was ‘not a true blue biopic’ but an inspired story. Prasoon talked about things that would have been as shown in the movie, had they been at all, taking the example of the scene where Divya Dutta wears Milkha’s India jacket, and Farhan even had to sing four not-so-sureelee lines with an to-the-core besuree audience. It was Rock On title song, if you must know.