Bhopal. The festivities were in full swing on Sunday, the 20th November, the last day of of Vishwarang Literature and Art Festival 2022. Like always, the day began with an invocation. Ambreesh Kalele enthralled the audience with his performance on Mohan Veena. Later, the mega arts and culture celebration saw a series of high-profile sessions where eminent personalities of the country participated and expressed their views on various subjects.
Ashneer Grover, the co-founder and former MD of the Indian fintech unicorn BharatPe, addressed the hall on ‘Power Of Regional Languages In Building A Business.’ Vishwarang’s co-Director. Dr Siddharth Chaturvedi led the conversation by asking why Ashneer agreed to participate in Vishwarang, as it is not a startup or entrepreneurship platform. To which the entrepreneur of Shark Tank India fame said, “I love Bhopal. Also, I have written a book on entrepreneurship, ‘Doglapan’. I am here to promote the same. Vishwarang is an apt platform to reach a wider audience.”
While talking about his book ‘Doglapan,’ Ashneer Grover said, “Young entrepreneurs often do not have clarity on what to do and what not to do. This book talks about every aspect, from numbers to challenges. Shark Tank India has taken the startup culture home, but a lot still needs to be done. It is an attempt in that line.”
Highlighting the importance of Hindi and its role in growth, Ashneer Grover commented people find English speakers more educated and give too much value to the foreign language. “Where we would need 20 minutes to explain a thing in English, Hindi can do it in two minutes. India’s time has begun now. I have adopted Hindi in my life. I have also worked in MNC. So I can tell English sounds like drama,” said the Shark.
While responding to the question whether Shark Tank was scripted, Ashneer Grover said, “The first season was not scripted. I have invested in these startups with real money. And where money is real, everything is really there. Yes, it definitely seemed that the makers added startup pitches like Gol Nabhi and Sip Line for drama.”
Ashneer commended the meme culture. He further said that films are tanking, but reels have become a hit. “People do not have more than a minute and a half. The idea of content has changed. If one wants to send a message, one should send reels.”
Rasika Dugal Interacts With Cinema Connoisseurs Of Bhopal
In the morning session, Rasika Dugal, known for her roles in several Indian movies and television shows, interacted with the audience on the subject ‘New Platforms for New Stories.’ Dr Pallavi Rao conducted the session by asking insightful questions. During the conversation, the acclaimed actress said, “Makers were making short films even earlier. But they were not getting distributed. Today, we have so many OTT platforms. Within a day or two, we get a million views on YouTube. Now it has become easy for films to reach the audience.”
Rasika also talked about her characters in Mirzapur and Delhi Crime. She confessed that Kashmir is her favourite place in the world. While further commenting, she said, “When one visits a place as a tourist, we miss many hidden gems. But when we go for a shoot, we get to know the area closely and interact with the people.” While sharing her experience of shooting for Hamid, the actress said that if you are not passionately involved in your work, then there is no point in doing it.
OTT Provides Good Content in Low Budge: Vishal Bhardwaj
The session on ‘Emerging New Cinema of India’ featured a conversation between writer-filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj and anchor Irrfan. The renowned filmmaker expressed his love for Bhopal and said, “I often come to the city to meet senior poet Bashir Badr Sahab who lives here. I have also shot my film Maqbool here.” While sharing his childhood memories, he said, “My father was a poet who always used to recite poetry. It was his blessings that I started writing poems. I find poetry in everything. So when I grew up, I got the company of many great poets. I always say that Gulzar Sahib is a banyan tree, and I am a branch of that tree. I am his bad carbon copy. I got the opportunity to work with him since childhood.”
While talking about the changing dynamics of Indian cinema, Vishal Bhardwaj said, “When a new thing or technology comes, it has many advantages and disadvantages. I have always seen the good in OTT platforms. Changes have happened in every era. At one point, Mumbai witnessed massive recordings where more than 50 musicians sat together. But after some time, there was a change in the music industry, and new musicians emerged. Today, our music has got international recognition. The arrival of OTT is a good thing as it is directly related to commerce and the economy. We can get good content with less budget. Today filmmakers are shooting in small towns. There is no censorship on it.”
Senior art critic Vinay Upadhyay moderated the session.
Eminent poet and litterateur Madhav Kaushik presided over the session on ‘Literature and Global Values of Love and Compassion.’ Ashish Agnihotri, Rakesh Kumar, Jankiprasad Sharma, Akhlaque Ahmad Ahan, Shafi Kidwai and Dhananjay Verma were also on the panel. Ashish called the cinema genre an extension of literature. Meanwhile, Rakesh Kumar defined love and compassion through the Chinese literature lens. While talking about the Persian language, Akhlaque said, “The Persian language connected the world with Sufi literature, giving the message of love and compassion.”
The Hardest Thing is to Write Simple
In the session ‘Contemporary Indian Stories: New Instruments of Prose,’ writer Umashankar Chowdhary said, “Novels tolerate description, but stories accept it.” He further said the toughest task is to write simple. Litterateur Prakash Kant said, “New communities are coming, new people are coming, and so is the new content. The tools of the story are also constantly changing. It is the need of the hour.”
Senior litterateurs Bhagwan Das Morwal, Anand Harsul, and Shraddha also participated in the session. The programme also saw unveiling of Satish Jaiswal’s book of ten stories.
Understanding Writing Process
In the Meet the Author session, Shashank had a conversation with Urmila Shirish. The writer shed light on the writing process. After this, Ashutosh had a word with Neeraj Khare in the session.
Awakening Human Sensibilities Through Poetry
The session on ‘Contemporary Indian Poetry: The Resurgence Of Family Values’ saw the participation of writers Santosh Choubey, Balram Gumasta, Mohan Sagoria, Raksha Dubey Choubey, Savita Bhargava, Niranjan Shrotriya, Naval Shukla and Arun Dev. Santosh Choubey said that a mother’s love is often depicted through poetry and a father’s love through prose. He further said, “In today’s time, it is vital that we not only talk about family values but also work on nurturing them. The whole world is looking at India today as ‘Vishwaguru,’ and adopting the family culture of India.”
Another session was organised on the topic ‘World View of Tribal Literature and Arts’. While Laxman Gaikwad, Shampa Shah, Trilok Mahavar, Mahadev Toppo, and Devi Lal Patidar participated, Prem Shankar Shukla hosted the session.