Big names in film and fashion bring in the crowds on the inaugural day of literature meet

Discussions on a wide range of issues from films and fashion to spirituality marked the inaugural day of the Bangalore Literature Festival (BLF), which opened at Crown Plaza in Velakani Park of Electronics City on Friday.

Inaugurating the event, Jnanpith award winner Chandrashekar Kambar hoped the festival would help writers from across the world understand the richness of Kannada literature. “I hope the people who have assembled will get a fair picture of the best of our literature,” he said.

While attendance was thin for several sessions of the fest, held far from the city, the presence of director-actor Farhan Akhtar and lyricist Prasoon Joshi perked up the proceedings, attracting crowds from the nearby IT companies.

A panel comprising Wendell Rodricks and Prasad Bidappa speaking about fashion and the art of fashion writing too drew a full house.

In another session, Bengali writer Nabaneeta Dev Sen took exception to collectively calling all Indian languages “bhasha”. Referring to a session “Is Basha being subsumed by English?” she said: “When we term English and German by the same name, what is the need to phrase Indian languages as ‘bhasha’?”

On Bangalore

Speaking of Bangalore, Ms. Sen regretted the unscientific growth of the city. She said: “I have a special liking for Bangalore. In fact I had a dream of spending my retirement here. But, now I have changed my mind.”

Recalling his association with the city, historian and writer Ramachandra Guha explained how Bangalore was sustaining its multiculturalism, unlike Mumbai. “Probably Bangalore could retain its plural culture because of migration, being a tri-junction of three languages and heritage of Mysore,” he said.

Referring to attempts to ban the simultaneous release of other language films here, he said one of his friend asked him how Bangalore, which was the only city in the world where films of six languages were screened, could do that.

The first day of the Bangalore Literature Festival also saw the launch of Gulzar’s book, Hindi for Heart, Kishwar Desai’s Sea of Innocence and Bhawana Somaaya’s Talking Cinema.

More In: Bangalore