Taking off from the Nehruvian idea of India to the very cusp of change bursting into manifold directions.
Jaipur: In the midst of a minuscule protest against the presence of Bangladeshi writer-in-exile Taslima Nasreen at the festival, that didn’t lead to any excitement among the media, the JLF ended with a tinge of sadness.
As expected, the finale day of JLF was full of tales swirling with poetry, politics, modernity, biographies, yoga, magic, war, misogyny, women, the desolate world of writers around.
The day began with the session on Mother India: Indian Films and the National Narrative in which director Imitiaz Ali, writer Rachel Dwyer and director Sudhir Mishra had a freewheeling chat with film critic-moderator with Shubhra Gupta.
Taking off from the Nehruvian idea of India to the very cusp of change bursting into manifold directions, Hindi cinema, and not necessarily Indian cinema, has had a contrarian and contradictory existence, the panel felt.
Tracing some of the romances — from Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand and Guru Dutt to Shahrukh Khan and the Shahid Kapur-Kareena Kapoor in Jab We Met, Gupta untied some of our filmmakers’ obsession with ‘love’ through the ages. It helped have the brutal honesty of both Ali and Mishra to affirm their impulses and admit that some of their films may not transcend time zones, and were made only for a particular era.
Wish I could say the same about foreign correspondent Salil Tripathi who moderated Between the Silences with Neelima Adhar Dalmia (The Secret Diary of Kasturba), and Vera Hildebrand (Women at War: Subhas Chandra Bose and the Rani of Jhansi Regiment).
Dalmia ruffled some by saying some uncharitable things about our Father of the Nation as she delved further into unscrambling Kasturba’s certain psyche.
The book attacks the very nobility that Gandhi’s name is associated with, although she makes it clear that she has only touched upon him as a father and a husband and not as the Mahatma, whose chauvinistic streak do not confirm to the larger-than-life image he has.
As per Dalmia, Gandhi was so consumed by his own cause, that nothing else but his own interests mattered. “Had he been present today, he would have been a CEO of a firm, so bania he was,” Dalmia said.
Indians simply love Shakespeare. And the packed-to-capacity Baithak hall was a clear indication of this where the two experts, British art historian Neil MacGregor and British theatre director Tim Supple, called Shakespeare’s plays “historical fiction”.