Non-Fiction Festival 2014 at Mumbai

Day 1

Intense discussions on politics, thought provoking ones on entrepreneurship and inspiring ones on the future of our country, demanded audience’s attention on Day 1 at the India Non-Fiction Festival (INFF), being held at the Nehru Center, Worli.

 Kiran Rao, Subroto Bagchi and Ajit Balakrishnan inaugurated the India Non-Fiction Festival by lighting the lamp of knowledge.The esteemed panellists then had an engaging discussion about India and being Indian. 

The book launch of ‘The New Clash of Civilizations: How the Contest between America, China, India and Islam will Shape Our Century’ by Minhaz Merchant, was accompanied by an enriching discussion on the history and politics, with Amish Tripathi, Sabira Merchant and Zeenat Shaukat. 

The book launch of ‘Idlis, Orchid and Willpower,’ authored by Vithal Kamat was steamy and inspiring. Farzana Contractor and Kumar Ketkar who were present as panelists for the launch shared many anecdotes about their common friend Vithal Kamat giving the audience a taste of the man who has gumption by the galleons and confidence by tons.

 The festival is also a chance for aspiring authors to sell their idea to publishers. In its session ‘Get Booked’ many talented want-to-be authors took the stage and delighted the publishers and the audiences alike with their book ideas and the way it germinated in their minds. Naresh Fernandes and Rana Dasgupta took us on a ride chronicling the good, the bad and the ugly of Mumbai and Delhi. With ‘Konjo the Fighting spirit’ Sandeep Goyal told the impossible story of a man just before he turned forty decided to test fate. 


Day 2

Today being the ‘Voters Day,’ India Non-Fiction Festival (INFF) had an initiative called ‘I Vote’. More than 200 youth of Mumbai took a pledge to vote in the coming elections and fifty of them received their voting cards at the event. The Collector of Mumbai, Chandrashekhar V Oak gave and inspiring speech about the importance of the youth of this country coming together through the voting method and create a better future for all.

 The talk of betterment continued with renowned documentary filmmakers like Anil Zankar, Aditya Seth, Kundu and Pankaj Butalia spoke about creating non-fiction movies with a creative twist. The difference between news and documentaries and the various efforts being made by individuals and government to improve the documentary market.

 In the session ‘Mythology: Non Fiction’ Ashwin Sanghi, Swami Shubh Vilas and Vinod Advani enthralled the audience with amazing insight from the world of Mythology. “A Myth is a lie that reveals a truth,” said Ashwin Sanghi.Swami Vilas continued on this journey by connecting the world of Ram to that of a common man. “History which we do not have access to because of separation of time becomes mythology,” he announced.

In another session ‘Heroes Everywhere and Within’ Geeta Anand, Faith Johnston, Jerry Almedia and Manjeet Kriplani spoke about how there is a hero within all of us and all we need to do is try and find it. While Sanskars in the New India by R Gopalkrishnan and Kumaar Bagrodia had a conversation about the culture of our country, the changes we see in values today and their own personal journey on this earth. 

 Suraj Eskay Sriram, won the audience with his humor and wit at the launch of his book ‘Excuse Me; Can We Have Our Country Back?’ Every day, the common man in India struggles against the ills of corruption, poor governance and much more. With tongue-in-cheek cartoons and illustrations, this book highlights the plight of the citizens of this country. 

 ‘Indian Youth and Electoral Politics’ by Sanjay Kumar, explores the significant relationship between Indian youth and electoral politics in the country.

 The launch of the book and the panel discussion with Sanjay Pugalia, Meera Sanyal, Niranjan Rajaadhyaksha, that followed, discussed issues like Does a young candidate matter to the young voters? Do youth vote more enthusiastically if there are young candidates contesting elections? The book looks at the level of awareness of the youth about political issues and analyzes youth interest and participation in electoral politics.

 ‘Elections 2014, Media & Women: Trapping the power within’ with Uday Shankar, Somnath Batabyal, R Jagannathan and Sangita Menon Malhan was an interesting discussion on why the women in this country do not vote and how campaigns like ‘Jago Re’ by Tata can actually create a difference. 

 Debunking Myths about the Occult’ was a mystical session where powers of Feng Shui, Heaven, earth and mankind energy were discussed by Dimple Luniya, Vandana Malik and Lubna Salim. Where to keep your gas and how to place your pillow were discussed with much ardor and Chinese astrology reasoning.

 In ‘A Different Cinema and our Reality’ Jigna Kothari and Pankaj Butalia took the audience on a magical journey in the land of dreams, Cinema. The way movies are made, characters created and the craft of creating sensational, dramatic, emotional, inspirational scenes on celluloid were discussed with much passion and zeal. The audience was in rapture indeed.

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