Gulzar steals hearts at lit fest

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Bangalore, September 29: It was a day when poet-lyricist-filmmaker Gulzar stole many a heart at The Bangalore Literature Festival, on its second day, with his old-world grace and charm, and of course, heartwarming poetry.

In the session on Ao phir nazm kahein, he, along with adman-songwriter Prasoon Joshi had the audience lost in beautiful imagery as they dipped into a treasure trove of their poetry, sometimes reciting, reading, and even singing their verses.

The beauty of a language, its nuances, its subtleties, its embracing of words from another language, the need to think and express in the same language, were all brought up and discussed, with poetry as a backdrop.

The afternoon led the two poets into the realm of children’s writing, with a huge gathering of children and parents attentively listening, and asking for more. Gulzar’s Ali Baba Aur Chalis Chor, a dramatised version of the classic, was also released. Young children from schools recited and read for Gulzar, and Joshi in turn read excerpts of the book for the children. Anxious parents raised the point about children reading about characters that were culturally removed from ours. The poets spoke of the importance of encouraging children to use to their imagination.
Urban writing

The session on “City Lights: On Urban Writing” dealt with how a novel not only brings out facets of life of the characters involved, but also cities/urban spaces they are set in.

The session saw the participation of Director of Kasturi and Sons Ltd. and writer Nirmala Lakshman, and writers Kishwar Desai, Usha K.R. and Anita Nair, with Lavanya Sankaran moderating the session. Talking about writing about cities, Ms. Lakshman said: “My book, Degree Coffee by the Yard, made me aware of facets of Chennai that I had not known despite living my whole life in Chennai.”

On Cinema
Another session during the course of the day dealt with “Writing on Indian Cinema”.

It featured panelists Nasreen Munni Kabir, author of Guru Dutt’s biography, The Hindu’s film columnist and author of Mani Ratnam’s biography – Baradwaj Rangan, journalist and film writer Sidharth Bhatia, and Bangalore’s own national award-winning film critic M.K. Raghavendra.

The panelists spoke of the lack of archival material on Indian cinema making writing on the subject an uphill task. They also debated the effect of social media on the nature of film reviewing and critiquing.

The last day of the literature festival on Sunday will feature sessions on Kannada poetry, oral literary languages of Karnataka – Tulu, Kodava, Konkani and Beary, ‘The Novel and the People: Is Indian Fiction Moving Away from Indian reality?’, among others.

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