Monday, January 16, 2012

The Hyderabad Literary Festival - 2nd Edition

The 2nd edition of the Hyderabad Literary Festival kicked off today at the picturesque locale of Taramati Baradari, on the outskirts of Hyderabad, a small distance from the historical Golconda Fort. Legend is that the king could hear the songs sung by Taramati while sitting in the Fort, an acoustic miracle, one of the many that the architects of the Deccani Kings came up with. This edition of the Hyderabad Literary Festival brought in names such as Gulzar, Saeed Mirza, Adil Jussawala, Kiran Nagarkar, Jaishree Mishra, Indu Sunderesan. Amish Tripathi, Dileep Jhaveri, Mark Tully, Meena Alexander, Aminudddin Khan, Kartika of Harper Collins and many more. From Hyderabad there were Sachidananda Mohanty, Hoshang Merchant, Mohana Krishna Indraganti, Sridala Swamy, Priti Aisola, Shankar Melkote and others.
Taramati Baradari

Vinod took a day off from his usually busy schedules and we planned to meet at Minerva at 830 am, grab some breakfast and ride to the venue. We were joined by Rasana Atreya, who is making strong progress as a novelist - her debut novel 'To tell a thousand Lies' has been shortlisted for the prestigious Tibor Jones Award for unpublished manuscripts and is one among six, and is also being lapped up by major publishing houses in India - and we all drove out on a relatively traffic free Monday to the destination. We marvelled at the place, attended the inaugural presided over by the Principal Secretary Chandana Khan, with Pavan K. Varma, diplomat and prolific writer as Chief Guest and Gulzar as the Guest of Honour. After the inaugural we went off to a panel discussion moderated by Meena Alexander where the panelists were Vamsee Juluri, Kishan Sastry Devulapalli (both hailing from families with a rich background in Telugu film industry) and yours truly. We spoke of Hyderabad, as the theme was 'Salaam Hyderabad', read from our works then proceeded to attend a talk with Kiran Nagarkar.

Lunch and then I roamed about and bought a couple of books while Vinod attended a translation session, and then we all met for an interesting session with Amish Tripathi, Jaishree Mishra and Indu Sundaresan. Some awards and by then I was ready to go but the indefatigable Vinod wanted to stay on. We finally decided to head back after a brief walk up to the dance hall which offered spectacular views of the sunset.

It was great fun all day specially being in the company of Krishna Sastry and his lovely wife Chitra, Vinod, Vamsee, Sheel, Sreenath, Vijay, Giri, Vijay, Dr. Suryaprakash Rao and his wife, and many others. Vinod, Raja and I had attended the book launch of Krishna's debut book published by Harper Collins, 'Ice Boys in Bell Bottoms' at The Park Hyderabad. It did sound very funny  from what I had heard at the launch and .now having met Krishna, I am waiting to read the book quickly. Chitra is also writing her first novel. We all had a good time hanging out together and I suspect the day would have really dull without Krishna and Chitra for company. They gifted me a copy of Krishna's book and I gifted them copies of mine.

There were many young faces which added to the festive mood. The location was brilliant. It was a perfect day and the evening had more promises to come - a jazz concert followed by dinner in the lawns. Vinod and I missed it with a heavy heart and drove back, hoping to go back again sometime in the next couple of days. G.S.P. Rao and Vijay Kumar and the team at Muse India, great work and a fine start. I enjoyed myself thoroughly. More to come in the next couple of days.


Mubeen Siddiqui said...

After attending the 2nd day of HLF today, I thought of googling blog entries on about the festival (if anybody had written). And I found this. As i kept on reading I realized who you were. I couldn't help but over hear your conversation at the book stall where (apparently) Krisna was disappointed to see none of his 'Ice Boys in Bell Bottoms' copies were sold yet... Just thought it would be interesting to share :)

Harimohan said...

Thanks Mubeen for sharing.

Krishna Shastri Devulapalli said...

Hey, Hari, Thanks for the great review. Thanks also for great company. There seems to be a huge interest on my FB page for my proposed joint blog (of which you are not yet aware) of Vamsee, you and me called "The Revenge of the Golts". Mubeen, this one's for you. Subsequently, copies of my book were sold :-)

Harimohan said...

Krishna, great book. Keep going. Looking forward to the 'Revenge of the Gults'. Will check out the fb page.