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A blend of glamour and local flavour

Chethan Kumar Bangalore, Dec 10, 2012 dhns:
Writers Mayachandra, Vasanthi Hariprakash and actor Puneeth Rajkumar at the literature festival. dh photo

 Nine-year-old Tanishka was aimlessly moving around the Jayamahal Palace, and parallelly, the curtains were unfolding at the three-day Bangalore Literature Festival, with moderators being reminded of the time and sessions ending unwillingly.

But Tanishka’s disconnect is no measure of the success of the things the three-day litfest attempted to achieve. For, the fest was not a ‘prime-time news anchor’ promising and/or claiming to solve the issues at hand in 45 minutes.

Unlike that anchor but like in literature, the issues were carefully chosen plots during the three days. There were attempts to arrive at solutions through narratives (read discussions) and deciphering of the various options available. None of this was done in an artificial, imposing way though.


One of the issues discussed was how our authors are ‘scripting India.’ Diplomat and author Pavan K Varma, Mark Tully, Nandan Nilekani, young authors Akash Kapur and Akash Banerjee ending the session wanting for time. From what language should India be scripted to the role of translations in understanding India as a nation given the varying cultures, the session chewed on several provoking thoughts.

One of the thoughts engaged the panelists in a discussion on whether or not electronic news as a medium is scripting the country well. Akash Banerjee, who is also a electronic journalist said: “I don’t think we can leave that in the hands of the electronic media.”

Also, while all the Indian-origin panelists on the dais, barring Varma, fought for English as a medium of instruction in primary school, batting for the various advantages it holds, Tully said: “I think it is important that one has a strong foundation (primary school) in their mother tongues so as to even understand and employ English well.”

Quenching the thirst of the  audience since Friday, the organisers’ date with some of the big names in the literary fields was more than applauded, if a full-house on all the days was any measure.

The glamour Ramya and Shobhaa De brought, the flavour Gulzar, Kum Veerabhadrappa and Jayanth Kaikini lent, the messages U R Ananthamurthy, Chandrashekara Kambara, Mark Tully and others left behind, the audience were indiscrinating in giving their attention.

If the fest began with Gulzar’s metaphors, it ended equally aptly with Kannada’s simile-Dr Rajkumar. Having allocated considerable space for Kannada literature during the event, the organisers ended the fest with a tribute to Karnataka’s unrivalled hero by televising a shortened version of Maya Chandra’s film on the late actor and chatting with Puneeth Rajkumar.

The fest will reincarnate itself the coming year. Like one of the guests had said during the course of the fest: “Work never ends, it is only abandoned.”

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