Bengaluru: After a year of waiting, poetry lovers of the city rejoiced as the second edition of the Bengaluru Poetry Festival kicked off at Leela Palace on Saturday. The first day of this much anticipated celebration of poetry was star-studded with readings, performances and discussions with artists like Gulzar, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Ashok Vajpeyi, Jayant Mahapatra and Girish Karnad.
Master on Masters
Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and Kumudha Bharath Ram
During the first discussion of the day, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan discussed his new book Master on Masters on the legends of Indian classical music. He even sang a few lines from raga Shubhalakshmi, a composition he created and dedicated to his wife, as Ms Shubhalakshmi Barua Khan looked on adoringly.
Ustad Khan also spoke about his close relationship with Carnatic vocalist M.S. Subbulakshmi and his love for filter coffee. “Every time I’ve come down South, I have made sure I drink some South Indian filter coffee between breakfast and lunch. One cup is a must! Every time I would visit her, I would drink so much of it, but this one time I took a sip and it turned out to be Horlicks! I drank it anyway,” he said as the audience burst into laughter.
Heltini Kela: Listen, I will tell you this story
Chandrashekhar Kambar with Krishna Manavalli
The celebrated Kannada film director, poet and playwright Chandrashekhar Kambar discussed the English translation of his book Shivana Dangura. He was in conversation with Krishna Manavalli, professor of English at Karnatak University in Dharwad, who has translated the book. Shivana Dangura speaks of the rural scenario, where the agrarian crisis is increasing rapidly. The book touches issues like farmer suicides in a rapidly developing economy. The author read out excerpts from the Kannada version of the book on popular request.
Launch of Kuch Pyaar, Kuch Tadap
Padmavati Rao and Girish Karnad with Mohit Kataria
Playwright, actor and film director Girish Karnad launched Hindi actor Padmavati Rao’s ‘Kuch Pyaar Kuch Tadap’, a book of poems on love and longing. Inspired by Bollywood classics, the book is published by Atta Galatta, the brains behind the Bengaluru Poetry Festival.
Launching the book, he said, “I am carrying an oxygen bag, but I'll tell you why I wanted to still make it to this event. I always wanted to be an English poet. But when I realised I was good at writing plays instead, it broke my heart. It broke my heart even further when I realised that I was writing in Kannada, not English. And Pitti (Padmavati) has been a friend for 20 of my 40 years of life. Over the years, I have seen her be an actress, theatre person, screenwriter and now a poet...That too in English. So I'm here out of pure jealousy." The book has handwritten poems in Hindi side by side with the English translations.
Looking Back & Forth
Arjun Rajendran and Rohan Chhetri
The session had two young poets who recited various works that was a mix of angst and satire on the past and the present. Rohan Chhetri, a Nepali- Indian poet, who was the winner of the inaugural Emerging Poets Prize, organised by The Great Indian Poetry Collective, recited darker poetry from his critically acclaimed book Slow Startle. Arjun Rajendran, author of Snake Wine, an anthology of poems, decided to go with lighter poems like How to Interview a Beetroot, which is a satire on HR interviews.