Cops pushing crowds back, loud chants and superstars might be an odd sight at a literary festival, but not when Amitabh Bachchan is around. He came to Jaipur for the launch of Bachchanalia, a collection of Bachchan memorabilia by Bhavana Somayaa and Osian’s CARD. But, Slumdog Millionaire was the talking point, and the actor’s criticism of the film. “I had made no comments... and clarified that with Anil Kapoor and Danny Boyle. It’s a wonderful movie and I hope Rahman... wins an Oscar.”
Enter Mr Naipaul
VS Naipaul made an entry into the fest, courtesy Patrick French’s biography. “The writer’s notorious bad behaviour wasn’t his whole story. In the fifties Naipaul was turned down by 26 ad agencies, didn’t get a job with the BBC, was refused accommodation,” said French. The experience left him wounded, but he doesn’t like talking about it. “I asked him why.” Naipaul said: “There was no market for racial grievance at the time.”
The Impressionist author Hari Kunzru, a Kashmiri Pandit, made what he said was a provocative statement. “India shouldn’t make Kashmir its Guantanamo Bay in the name of security.” Basharat Peer, the writer of the much-hailed Curfewed Night, who he faced in a session, said he thought of himself as “a Kashmiri first”.
Trust vote for Pak polls
Mohammad Hanif, Pakistani author of A Case of Exploding Mangoes, protested the questioning of the elections in his country. There was an election, and people wanted democracy, he said.