Discussions on a wide range of issues from literature to films marked the first day of the third edition of Bangalore Literature Festival (BLF), which opened on Friday. As promised, the festival introduced literary lovers and bibliophiles to writers and celluloid stars, who have regional, national and international presence.
Of the literary personalities present, including playwright Girish Karnad, noted artist S.G. Vasudev, writer Shoba De, it was Chetan Bhagat who stole the show. His upcoming novel Half Girlfriend , which is scheduled to be launched on October 1 was a much talked about in the morning session.
The event, which is dedicated to departed writer and thinker U.R. Ananthamurthy, turned out to be a platform for Girish Karnad and S.G. Vasudev to express their disagreements with the life and certain works of Prof. Ananthamurthy.
A documentary on Ananthamurthy, directed by film-maker Krishna Masadi for Kendra Sahitya Academy, was screened. But Girish Karnad was critical of the content and portrayal of the writer in the documentary.
A contingent of writers from the North-East raised socio-political and cultural issues being confronted by them, besides discussing literature of their region. Issues pertaining to Kannada theatre, poetry and Dalit writings were also discussed. A wide range of writers from Karnataka and other parts of the country participated by offering their opinions.
Columnist and writer Shobha De appreciated the effort of the organisers to not succumb to corporate pressure and for providing space for democratic voices, besides focussing on socio, political and cultural turmoil in the north-eastern part of the country.
Chetan Bhagat said he was bit nervous before attending BLF, apprehensive of the event turning out to be an Android or Java tech conference in view of the Information Technology tag that Bangalore wears. When Bhagat said he is of the opinion that Bangaloreans are ‘nerds’, Binalakshmi Nepram, in a tone of protest, said Bangaloreans are not ‘nerds’, recalling the way they stood with people of the northeast when they headed back home following rumours of violence targeting them in 2011.
Dr. Chandrasekhar Kambar, Jnanpith awardee, recalled the contribution of both U.R. Ananthamurthy and Yashavanta Chittala in his inaugural address.