January 18, 2015

Books, Food and Truck Loads of Fun #LitforLife2015

What might this be? Pass/brochure for the Lit for Life 2015 

     Post Pongal literature fest is just what every book lover in Chennai looks forward to in January. The Hindu Lit for Life 2015 was a mix of utopian ideas, profound philosophy and great sense of humour. Read on for more on the festival. 

      The first day of The Hindu Lit for Life 2015 had novelists Chetan Bhagat, Jung Chang and British historian Charles Allen whose sessions were full booked. Chetan talked about his recent bestseller 'Half Girlfriend' among other things. I'm not a big fan but it sure was interesting to hear him say things that left the audience fuming or in splits. The discussion between Chetan and actor and theater personality Karthik Kumar seemed like a conversation two friends would have at a roadside eatery over a hot cup of chai. Compared to the hard core philosophies discussed in the following days of the fest, Chetan was clearly the least literary. He was accused of being 'foolish' and chided by many members of the audience for writing books that could never be taught in an arts college as a work of quality prose. Personally I thought Day 1 was uneventful.

In conversation : T.M. Krishna and Dayanita Singh

Gods. Demons and Others: Amish Tripathi and Bharadwaj Rangan

        The second day of the lit fest was the best. Day 2 had a star studded line-up of authors that included Amish Tripathi, T.M. Krishna, Damon Galgut, Irwin Allen Sealy and Elanor Catton, actors Nimrat Kaur and Tisca Chopra, celebrity chefs Aditya Bal and Kunal Kapur. The auditorium was over flowing by the time Amish Tripathi was on stage to talk about the Shiva Trilogy and his writing style. In a very intelligent yet relatable conversation with award winning film critic Bharadwaj Rangan, Amish declared he was a big Rajinikanth fan, that he loved eating cream biscuits and always had some music playing in the background whenever he was writing. "I wrote poetry in college and it was terrible. Only my girlfriend thought it was any good. That girlfriend is now my wife" said Amish. He often cracked a joke or two. "This is a cue for the ladies in the audience to go 'Aww'" exclaimed Amish every time he mentioned his wife. 
In a more serious dialogue, Damon Galgut, Elanor Catton , Irwin Allen Sealy and David Davidar discussed the dying profession of writers and printed books. Damon firmly believed that as long as there were stories to tell novel would never go out of fashion. Allen on the other hand affirmed that he wrote for just one audience and that being himself. 
The best session of the day was the illustrated talk by P. Sainath who was promoting his website "People's Archive of Rural India". The short clip of 'The Potato Song' on Sainath's website had the audience in peels of laughter while it addressed the more serious issue of the standard of education in rural India.   

Captain Planet: Bahar Dutt - Illustrated talk on
Green Wars: Dispatches from a Vanishing World

Are novels dying? Damon Galgut, Elanor Catton,
Irwin Allen Sealy and David Davidar in conversation.

        The final day of The Hindu Lit for Life once more had T.M. Krishna, Justice Leela Seth, Bharadwaj Rangan, Jung Chang discussing different topics. A pretty fantastic reading featuring Anita Ratnam, Niran Benjamin and Revathy Kumar was the highlight of the Day 3 of the Hindu LFL. 
It's Monday morning and I just had to put out this blog post before the news value died. Still reeling from the Lit fest effect, I had no idea on how this post was to pan out. I had not the slightest inkling how to put all the awesome sessions into words fit to describe them.   
Just like the LFL prize winner said in his acceptance speech "I have a middle and an end to my speech, but I don't know where to start. Still I shall give it shot."
That's what I did. 

If you enjoyed my review of 'The Hindu Lit for Life 2015' festival so leave a comment below and don't forget to +1. For more posts subscribe to 'Van der Wrote' by clicking on the links in the sidebar.