Here are some interesting anecdotes from the on-going Khushwant Singh Litfest in Kasauli:
‘Most well-dressed festival’
Anchoring a session at the Khushwant Singh Litfest, columnist Malvika Sangghvi said the Kasauli festival may not be the largest in the country or the most popular, but it was “certainly the most well-dressed” festival. “People come here wearing the most elegant clothes,” she said.
No casual wear
The Kasauli Club, venue of the festival, has a strict dress code and among the stars who were sent away by the security guards to change their clothes and shoes were the handsome Kabir Bedi and prominent actor Om Puri. Kabir had come in a T-shirt and Om in walking shoes. Kabir had to go to the market to buy a shirt and return suitably dressed. Writer Gulzar Singh Sandhu, president of the Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi, had to miss the Friday dinner because his shoes were not in order and it was too late to get them changed.
Rahul Singh said they took care to include a humour session because his father loved jokes and laughter. This year, they need not have bothered because Om Puri took it upon himself to do the comic act with aplomb. Those present loved his self-deprecatory humour when he said, “I was educated in a Punjabi-medium school.”
He even turned what was to be a serious session on “The Making of Tamas” with Govind Nihalani into a stand-up comedy, accusing director Nihalani and late Amrish Puri of eating all the cream and curd during the making of the film and depriving the rest. “It was a unit of some 80- odd people so you can imagine how much milk must be coming each day and how much cream there must be,” he said.
Nihalani bore all the fun poked at him by Om with laughter, saying, “The way you talk of me, I wonder why I chose you for an actor.” However, later in an aside, he said that Om was his best actor and a lovely human being and the two have done seven award-winning films together, including remarkable ones like ‘Aakrosh’ and ‘Ardh Satya’.
Hindi vs English
Kalpana Sahni was a little miffed when she went to the festival book shop and found that the English translation of her father’s famous novel was on the display and not the original Hindi. “He got the award for the Hindi novel and it should have been there.”