Om Puri, Ma Thida, new women writers corner glory at second fest
Well known film actor Om Puri, whose stunning portrayals of characters ranging from the comic to the surreal have elevated him to the top pantheon of film actors, was the star attraction at the second Kovalam Literary Festival which was held at the Taj Green Cove, Kovalam from October 6-9. His biography Unlikely Hero written by his wife Nandita Puri and published by Roli, was unveiled at the festival.
Puri, spoke effortlessly and gracefully about his life and his movies and answered a range of questions about his cinematic evolution. His life he said was a fight against constant odds and till he landed up at the National School of Drama in Delhi, there was never really any chance of a cinematic career. He was at the NSD with some youngsters who were to become Indian cinema’s torch bearers including Naseeruddin Shah.
Burmese dissident writer Ma Thida, who is now based in the US, who was once a close associate of Aung San Suu Kyi , read from her short stories. Before her reading, Mukul Kesavan, critic and historian, read out an article on Burmese writing and the need to reestablish the Indian link with Burmese writing, sent exclusively for the Kovalam festival by Amitav Ghosh. Earlier at the inauguration of the festival Kesavan also delivered the fourth K.C.John Memorial lecture on "The Oddness of Indian Nationalism".
Another highlight of the festival was readings by a phalanx of young Indian writers: Anuja Chauhan, Ira Trivedi, Palash Mehrotra, Anita Jain, Mathew Menacherry. Two well know social anthropologists Professor Sanjay Srivastava and Professor Christopher Pinney gave insightful lectures . Srivastava spoke on Pornography in India and Pinney on the rise of Indian photography.
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