HYDERABAD: It was a fitting finale for the Hyderabad Literary Festival. On Wednesday, the last and final day of the three-day event, students literally had a ball either participating in a creative writing workshop or attending the screening of German film, Emil and the Detectives. Not just students, a large number of curious Hyderabadis too turned up to check out what the festival was all about.
A session by Suniti Namjoshi, known for her work on gender related issues and sexual orientation, thrilled students of the psychology department from St Francis College, Begumpet. “We have her works as part of our syllabus and it was wonderful attending a talk by her and interact with her,” said Richa, a student of the college. The session on Art of the Matter on how artists draw from people and routine events to produce characters or artistic creations had the delegates fully engrossed. Despite the absence of moderator, M Nagabhushana Sharma, the conversation flowed freely between Thumri singer Vidya Rao, noted Kuchipudi dancer Alekhya Punjla and theatre activist Pritham Chakravarthy. The discussion on balancing Natyadharma, the technique of dance with Lokadharma, the practice of drawing from the audience, was rich with anecdotes and experiences shared by the artists.
Between the sessions, Taramati Baradari, the venue, reverberated with laughter of the students who ran hither and thither to attend the creative writing workshop and the screening of the German film. Close to 220 students from over 12 schools tried their hand at creative writing and ideas flowed like a flood. “We wrote a poem individually and a short story in groups. It was a learning experience as everyone had brilliant concepts to put into words,” said Aamani of the Kendriya Vidyalaya, Trimulgherry. Devleena and Shreya of DPS Hyderabad who chose to attend the film instead, found the experience good fun.
The readings of his Icarus series of poems by Kazim Ali also had the audience asking for more and Meena Alexander captured their imagination with her rendition of the experiences of ‘three sisters’. A dramatized reading session from various plays by The Little Theatre and readings of Urdu poetry and mushaira concluded the proceedings. “We have not been looking at numbers and 3,000 people turned up, despite the literary festival being on weekdays. The festival has seen good response. However, we would like to schedule it over a weekend in the coming year,” said Professor T Vijay Kumar, Joint Director, Osmania University Centre for International Programmes. Regretting that a number of local delegates were unaware of the premises despite living in the city, he said, “Our aim is to create an appreciation of literature among Hyderabadis. All response on the quality of discussions has been positive and the media, especially The New Indian Express, has done a great job in bringing the event closer to the people.”