The fact that the Hyderabad Literary Festival 2017 was a huge success need not be stressed. What needs to be stressed, and applauded, is the humungous effort put in by the organisers as well as scores of volunteers who managed to pull off an event of this stature smoothly and without too many glitches.
While a few attendees were overheard saying that the last year’s talks and panel discussions were better in comparison, a lot of participants were happy with this year’s proceedings. Of course, managing to attract huge crowds with varied interests and tastes, and from across all sections of the society, on to a single venue is no mean feat. And that is what makes the three-day fest a phenomenal one.
On all the three days, the enthusiastic bunch of youngsters were seen hopping from one activity/talk/discussion/workshop to the other trying to grasp everything while not missing out on anything important and worth noting.
On the third day, besides the usual stage talks and panel discussions, there were two major attractions. Hyderabad-based theatre group Shudrka demystified the ‘Physicality of Performance’ for enthusiastic audience who got to understand how bodily movements play a crucial role in the dramatisation of a character.
“Chandralekha was a dancer primarily but wrote poetry too. So that way her life story is part of the literature. As my first journalism assignment, I was asked to review her book Rainbow on the Roadside and that’s how I met her,” said Tishani Doshi introducing renowned dancer Chandralekha to her audience in her talk titled ‘An Accidental Dancer.’
But the danseuse has more to her persona than just this. Unhappy with the way her thoughts differed from her gurus’ and the mechanical way of dancing, Chandralekha moved away from Bharatanatyam for a while. When she re-entered the field, she went against convention and gave performances fusing Kalaripayattu and Bharatanatyam. These and a few other details about the dancer were shared via a short film on Chandralekha.
At the art camp organised by Daira, Atiya Amjad shares about the surprise show to be put up in the evening by young kids who donned the grease paint to bring alive the characters in portraits drawn by renowned artist Thota Vaikuntam.
The talks and panel discussions on Sunday drew more crowds than the previous two days (perhaps thanks to the fact that it was a holiday too). They included Fatal Accidents of Birth by Harsh Mandar and Human Trafficking by Sunita Krishnan; Writing from Down Under by Jeanine Leane and Kathrym Hummel, Looking Back, But Not in Anger: The Partition @ 70 by Rita Kothari, Tarun Saint moderated by Tutun Mukherjee, and Translation Matters by Mani Rao, Srinivas Reddy and Subashree Krishnaswamy and moderated by Nikhila H.
Neha Parikh’s art installation ‘Leave Me Alone!’ was a take on how animals see humans where she presented things from the perspective of animals was a good attempt.
At the Pochampally stall, K Ramulu and his team explained to the onlookers a thing or two about weaving techniques, why it is important for the government to intervene and ensure the art doesn’t die, and why the handwoven stuff is more expensive than the China imports.
The cultural evenings on all the three days – including Karmic Harvest: a dance, music and performance poetry by a group of performers from the Philippines, Past Forward: an amazing dance performance by Leela Samson, and the grand finale of Oggudolu: another excellent show by artistes of Telangana on the State’s traditional folk theatre form – satiated the audiences’ thirst for different art forms.