MILAP focuses on tradition, transformation this time

Kannada poet and playwright Prof H S Shivaprakash lighting the lamp at MILAP, at Manipal on Thursday.

The second edition of Manipal Academy of Higher Education’s Literature Festival began at the Dr TMA Pai Hall here on Thursday.

The theme for this year’s Manipal Literature and Arts Platform (MILAP) is ‘Millennium Revisited: Tradition and Transformation’. The three-day festival includes theatre and photography workshops, children and youth-oriented events and art exhibitions.

Festival Convenor Dr Neeta Inamdar gave an overview of the event.

MAHE Vice-Chancellor Dr H Vinod Bhat, in his presidential remarks, toyed with the idea of having the events spread through the year and culminating in this kind of festival.

“The idea behind this fest is to have a space for every expression in the university. There should be a platform not to rebel but to speak, to hear and to express,” he said.

Punjabi Playwright Dr Atamjit Singh inaugurated the festival and delivered the inaugural address. Kannada playwright H S Shivaprakash, who is also a professor of Theatre Studies at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University. New Delhi, delivered the keynote address.

On the occasion, two books - 137th and 138th publications by Manipal University Press - were also released. One was ‘Kannada Theatre History 1850-1950’ by Akshara K V and the another Shrinivasa Vaidya’s acclaimed work Halla Banthu Halla translated into English as “A Handful of Sesame” by Maithreyi Karnoor.

A ‘Screen and Stage’ event with Ramakrishnan Ramanathan and Alok Rajwade, in conversation with Anusha Ravishankar, was held.

Enlightening the audience about the relevance of present-day theatre, Ramakrishnan Ramanathan, an Indian playwright-director from Mumbai, said, “Theatre is a living repository of languages. Being a minority art, it has the freedom to state certain things that mainstream films could never dream of. Also, India being a country with an oral tradition, the theatre will always be an important part of its culture.”

A panel discussion on ‘A Negotiation with the Millennium through Four Modern Kannada Writers’ was held. The panellists included S Diwakar, a well-known Kannada writer and journalist, critic Rajendra Chenni from Shivamogga, G Rajashekar, a renowned writer and critic and Raghavendra Patil. It was moderated by critic T P Ashok.

The discussion centred around modern Kannada literary writing which took prominence from the 20th century and the influence of English, Sanskrit and other regional languages on it. The four panellists spoke about legendary writers  D V Gundappa, D R Bendre, Kuvempu and K Shivaram Karanth, who have contributed immensely to Kannada literature.

A theatre workshop focused on the ‘Overview of Kannada and Marathi Theatre Traditions’. K V Akshara and Prasad Vanarase conducted it. The workshop dwelt on the history and heritage of both Kannada and Marathi Theatres. Speaking of the bond of literature with theatre, Akshara said, “The understanding of the 150-year-old art form and tradition is always intertwined with literature.”

Carnatic music legend and Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee R Paramashivan’s harmonium lightened the mood up in the workshop auditorium. Accompanying him was “A Life in 3 Octaves” author Deepa Ganesh. True passion and dedication showed as the 89-year-old music maestro sang a piece from an old play ‘Vasanthasena’ followed by a piece from the ‘Jarasandha’.

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MILAP focuses on tradition, transformation this time

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