Forget romance, words were in the air!

The Bangalore Literature Festival was an energetic space for some stimulating discussions that witnessed powerful interactions between intellectuals. I was waiting for this event with bated breath. How often can you escape into the greens, be surrounded by books, mingle with authors, and simply spend a day bouncing ideas? It’s a rare occasion when we live in a world with malls for entertainment with lesser avenues for conversations with depth. 

Organized at The LaLit Ashok, Bangalore, the Literature Festival was thriving with creative energy that unblocked many thoughts in my head. I was so happy to bump into my first Features Editor – Sunanda Mehta who has recently launched her book –  The Extraordinary Life and Death of Sunanda Pushkar.

With Sunanda Mehta (L)

I caught Pankaj Kapur’s session to begin with at the BLR LitFest. He was here for his book, Dopehri.

Shubha Mudgal in Conversation

Shubha Mudgal’s session was particularly interesting as I have studied art and she raised important points that have been bothering me. She said, “The artist is not a product.” This was with reference to the marketing of music and art being dictated by analytics’ Gurus. Music is thus defined by what sells, and the art is often pushed to the side. She was clear to appreciate marketers. However, I understand her situation wherein there is a major need to bring a balance to the art that is created by the artist and the demands to create “something that sells.” Her book, Looking for Miss Sargam: Stories of Music and Misadventure, is out on the shelves.

Indian writer and author Shanta Gokhale with writer and journalist – Jerry Pinto

Indian writer and journalist, Shanta Gokhale had many in splits with her interesting session that had depth laced with humour. Writer and journalist Jerry Pinto enthralled the audience with his witty lines and great style in carrying out the interview session. Gokhale’s line in reference to her book, “What happens to a woman who gives her all to a man who doesn’t like to receive,” received quite a few sighs and aahs from the audience (particularly women)! Her grace and energy was truly inspiring everyone present at the venue.  Her book, One Foot on the Ground: A Life Told Through the Body promises to be an engaging and insightful read.

Nidhi Chapekar motivated the audience with her story of grit and determination for having survived and transformed the Brussels airport bombing attack. Her speech was moving while displaying how she used the power of her subconscious mind. She said, “Accept yourself. Then find a way to make it better. I started by loving myself better. Nothing can take you back.” She added, “Give love and blessings, it comes back to you.” Her book, ‘Unbroken’ outlines her story.

Reshma Qureshi, known for her survival story raised awareness over women’s safety. She moved the audience with her speech which also gave insights to her strength and approach to life. Her book, Being Reshma is already up for grabs.

Day 1 at the Bangalore Literature festival also had some melodies by flutist Butto. A huge crowd had gathered for Lucky Ali who could not make it to the event. The crowd had great fun listening to the combination of guitar, flute, drum, and claps to the tune of “Kyun Chalti Hain Pawan.”

The highlight of the day was the presence of acclaimed actress Supriya Pathak who was part of a session discussion. The panel spoke about films, and the importance of content for all formats – cinemas as well as televisions. Upon being asked about her return to television, Supriya was quick to add, “Give me quality work on the small screen and I will think about it.” Way to go, Supriya! 

Gulshan Grover engaging with the audience

Day 2 had many interesting sessions but one particular session was packed with a huge number of people gathered all over. The Bad Man of Bollywood, Gulshan Grover here to discuss his book, ‘Bad Man entertained the audience with his unmistakable energy. He spoke about his story and struggles while carving a niche for himself in a time when he was typecast as a villain. He was told he wasn’t good looking enough nor had the body. 

He joined the crowd by walking into the audience and interacted with his fans while dodging all types of questions. 

Australian cricket umpire, Simon Taufel added great advice for his audience. He said, “Stay in the here and now. Do not worry about what people will say, give your best response.” Mihir Dalal’s session on the Untold Flipkart Story gave a clear picture to the de-glamourous side of startups while sharing his knowledge for the audience. 

With Anna Chandy (Left)

The highlight of the afternoon was the session on mental health with Anna Chandy, Gayathri Prabhu, Himanjali Sankar, Jerry Pinto, Roshan Ali, Dr. Shyam Bhat and Amandeep Sandhu. Anna Chandy spoke about vulnerability while displaying her need to show that “she is as human as her clients.” Mental health was clearly a subject that attracted a large group of people.

As the hot day came to an end, I left the festival filled with ideas, good vibes, excitement, and a new sense of hope. The festival brought writers close to other writers and we all know that each one has an untold story within… one that every writer hopes to share with the world.

Thank you to the organizers who did a fantastic job. I appreciate it when events of such a large scale begin their session on time. You were all amazing!


Author: Kashmira Lad

Indian Fashion Blogger with a Focus on Women Empowerment.  

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