OLD AIRPORT ROAD: Bangalore Literature Festival, making headlines this week, is finally set to kick off at Hotel Royal Orchid, off Old Airport Road, on Saturday.
Jnanpith laureate Chandrashekhar Kambar and Mohammad Zaman Azurdah will inaugurate the festival at 9 am, and a slew of panels, solo sessions and workshops will be held over the weekend.
Celebs and children
The past editions have seen celebrities like Gulzar, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Rani Mukerji. This year’s participants from the film industry are all from the city — Ramya, Prakash Belawadi and Malavika Avinash. They will discuss cinema for children.
As always, a whole section — Makkala Koota — will be dedicated to children, with a focus on writing and illustration. Special stalls with literature and a quiz can also be expected.
BLF has always striven to discuss more than just books. Biopic Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and the life and contributions of Kathak exponent Maya Rao are likely to be in the spotlight this year. A World War I commemorative art installation will catch your eye at the venue. There’s only space for one cultural evening, as the festival spans only two days this time, and Aishwarya S, M S Subbulakshmi’s great granddaughter, will perform on the platform that has witnessed recitals by Hariprasad Chaurasia and Shubha Mudgal.
Freedom of expression
Continuing the tradition from last year, one of the final panels will discuss intolerance. The debate on freedom of expression is more relevant to the fest than ever before, with the writer community polarised on what has collectively been described as the rightist ideology of its organisers.
Rather cannily, the stages, which are usually titled in accordance with the theme, go by ‘Left Wing’ and ‘Right Wing’. Reportedly, the rightist speakers will speak from the left wing and vice versa.
Earlier, some Kannada writers pulled out of the festival, saying that the community and literature weren’t given their due. However, the line-up includes sessions revolving around Kannada and the Bhashas. Some of the less-prevalent languages — Byari, Konkani and several North Eastern tongues — also get their space in the Little Languages Film Festival section (links to some trailers, and schedule are available on the website).