Literary experts and film industry stalwarts share their journeys over changing times on Day-I of Karnavati Literature and Film Festival 2023

Mr David Valdés, renowned American executive film producer associated with a recent stunner success – ‘Avatar the Way of Water’ addressed a session on the theme ‘From Hollywood with Love’


Ahmedabad (Gujarat) :  The Karnavati Literature and Film Festival (KLFF) 2023 kick started with a healthy dialogue among literary experts and film industry stalwarts at the Karnavati University campus in Uvarsad, Gandhinagar, on Friday. Karnavati University is a state private university dedicated to excellence in teaching and is focussed on interdisciplinary learning. The opening day saw some excellent discussions around cinema, the literary world, branding and more.

Mr David Valdés, renowned American executive film producer associated with a recent stunner success – ‘Avatar the Way of Water’ addressed a session on the theme ‘From Hollywood with Love’. During the session, he shared his experience of working with Clint Eastwood and how they did 17 movies together and how Clint’s career began from an actor to director.

“What I didn’t want to do in my life was not wear a suit and go to a job from nine to five. I was a Surfer by nature. I come from a family of artists where you work hard on projects. When I went to Canada to pursue my studies, even if I didn’t learn about films I learnt about theatre. I had to take acting courses to become a director which I didn’t want to but it turned out to be amazing and I could gather the view of an actor as well,” he said.

Speaking on the cancel culture situation, he said, “Just make the movie responsibly and right, I never intend to hurt anyone’s sentiments. I make movies for a large audience, not a niche one. I make practical and realistic decisions while making movies. You cannot keep a tunnelled vision.”

In an informal chat during the session ‘Idhar Udhar ki Baatein’, national award winning actor, Mr Rajit Kapur, spoke about how theatre is the need of the hour in the fast paced digital world. “Theatre allows the audience to imagine. That’s the beauty. You can create anything. People often go back to the theatre to unlearn or re-learn. Small and large towns have created smaller spaces to perform. The trend was less common in India thus forth. Warehouses and garages in Australia and Europe were commonly converted into theatre spaces. This trend will help theatre grow. Theatre will not go down. There is a need for human contact and interaction in the fast paced age of technology and theatre will bring it alive,” he said.

Sharing his views in a session ‘Pinds of Punjab’, noted Indian film actor, Mr Pawan Malhotra, shared his journey in the film industry “Things changed over the years. Change is always positive. There was a time when I met all kinds of directors, but nobody gave me work. At the right time everything fell in place. Most of the work I did fell into my lap. As an actor, it is important to take things in your stride and do things with a fresh approach. I may be acting for years but every shot, every script is a new one. That is the beauty of the film industry. It keeps you on your toes.”

As part of a discussion on the theme, QalaKari, popular actor Ms Swastika Mukherjee, shared how in her journey she has strived to step out of her comfort zone, and waited for the right script. During the same session, Ms Anvita Dutta also spoke about the importance of storytelling. “In any endeavour, the story comes first. The more you read, the more you can imagine. As you keep reading, you get to explore more.’

Noted screenwriter, Mr Anjum Rajabali addressed a session on the ‘Rajneeti of Screen Writing’. Explaining the art of screenplay, he said, “It is important to bring out the unpredictable. That’s where the story begins – when the equilibrium of life breaks. Whenever you write a story, it is important to know who it is written for and visualise it accordingly. For instance, when you write a story like the legend of Bhagat Singh for the current audience, you must visualise it accordingly. Research here is very important. It took me 11 months of research to understand and the writing part was merely six months.”

Author, Ms Preeti Shenoy and academician, Dr Shubha Nigam, held an engaging discussion on the theme ‘Love Sex Dhoka’ in writing. Speaking on rampant criticism that comes in the age of social media, Ms Shenoy said, “While writing a book, competition is not with other authors it is with the cell phone. It is very easy to troll someone on social media. I ensure these things don’t affect me. If there is merit in the criticism, I ensure it is taken care of in the next book. That’s how one grows.”

During a talk on ‘RIP Branding’, author MG ‘Ambi’ Parameswaran talked about a simpler approach to branding. “It’s a simple exercise: describe yourself in four words, question yourself if you really are those four words, ask someone you trust to validate it for you and then start living your brand. Once in a while, revalidate those words. The Younger generation should pick their own brand to follow. Building consciousness is essential and good enough,” he said.

Indian actor and model, Ms Priyanka Bose; voice over artist and actor, Mr Vijay Vikram Singh along with Indian film and theatre critic, Mr Ajit Rai; noted authors – Mr Hrishikesh Sulabh, Ms Preeti Shenoy, Anand Ranganathan; author and food critic, Jignesh Vasavada; academician Dr Shubha Nigam; radio jockeys and artists, Kshitij Banker and Devaki and entrepreneur, Mr Chiranjiv Patel, were among some the key speakers at the session.

KLFF 2023 is a celebratory initiative that seeks to light the sparks of literature, film, theatre, folk, art and culture into a grandeur of fireworks through incredible creative encounters. The festival will witness engaging speaker sessions, interactive panel discussions, workshops, and a host of performances.

Shri Ritesh Hada, president, Karnavati University, said, “At Karnavati University, it is our constant endeavour to create platforms for meaningful discourses and dialogues over a range of subjects. As we embrace and engage with the constantly changing world in an age of social media and information overload, where attention spans are shrinking by the day, KLFF is an attempt to bring back the views and thoughts from storytellers, the writers and the original ‘content creators’ who have been relentlessly engaged in creative pursuits to seek and tell stories from a slice of everyday life, the world around us and even alternate realities.”

“This is the first time I attended a literature festival. It was indeed interesting to hear about the journeys of so many revered actors and filmmakers about their creative pursuits.” Said Aeshna Khandwala, a student form CEPT.

Similarly, a design student from Unitedworld Institute of Design, Vedant Saxena, said “The atmosphere and the vibe of this film and literature festival is scintillating indeed. I attended several sessions by authors and filmmakers. The discussions were so relevant and thought-provoking.”