Bangalore: The second edition of the Bangalore Literary Festival opened Friday with a bang, as hundreds of book lovers and cultural aficionados flocked to the venue on the city's outskirts to interact with their celebrity authors, historians, actors and theatre personalities.
"There was a huge rush for the day-long event, which began with a traditional folk dance (Dollukunita) of the host state (Karnataka), followed by a talk on spirituality by Art of Living founder Sri Ravi Shankar and lively sessions with literary giants, historians, actors, artistes," festival trustee and author Vikram Sampath told reporters on the margins.
The three-day fest is being held at a star hotel in the sprawling Velankani Park in the electronics city, about 20 km from Bangalore.
Prominent Kannada poet and playwright Chandrashkhara Kambara flagged off the event in the presence of celebrity authors such as U.R. Anathmurthy, historians like Ramachandra Guha and William Darlymple, Bollywood actor Farhan Akhtar, award winning director Rakesh Omprakash Mehra and other luminaries.
"The action packed sessions and noteworthy discussions were among the sought-after events, with audiences engaged in all inter-actions. The overwhelming response has reinforced our firm belief that there is no dearth of zeal for literature, art, culture and poetry in Bangalore," Sampath said.
As the hero of Bollywood flick "Bhaag Milka Bhaag", Akhtar was the cynosure of all, as he had the stage rocking with applauds during his narrative on the biopic in conversation with songwriter Prasoon Joshi and Mehra.
Fashion designer Wendell Rodricks from Goa was another star who drew full house as he spoke to fashion guru Prasad Bidappa on their favourite subject.
"A woman-oriented panel comprising authors Shobaa De, Kishwar Desai and Gita Aravamudan discussed sensitive issues like rape, dowry and female foeticide, while Darylymple enchanted the audience with his lecture on the princes and painters in Mughal Delhi," Sampath said.
Books of poet and lyricist Gulzar - "Hindi for Heart", Desai's "Sea of Innocence" and veteran film journalist Bhawana Somaaya's 'Talking Cinema' were launched on the occasion, followed by readings by the respective authors and lively discussion.
Not to be left out, several children's sessions and activity corners were held at the 'Makkala Koota' (children's corner) at the venue and workshops were organized on Slam Poetry by Bas Bottcher and Fantasy by Janaki Murali, while Kathalaya presented Japanese folklore.
One of the highlights that kept the audience spellbound was the Carnatic performance by Mysore brothers Manjunath and Nagaraj in association with the Bangalore International Arts Festival.