The Australian Festival of Travel Writing wrapped up last night after three days of fantastic and interesting panel discussions and workshops. I was invited to represent our blog to discuss ‘Bollywood Stories and Contemporary Indian Cool’.
Our panel moderator Roanna Gonsalves was charming and elegant, and made the panel all feel at ease. She injected some style into proceedings, wearing a beautiful blue and cream sari that contrasted with the Melbourne monochrome wardrobe. I will admit I googled her before we met and I was very impressed by her writing. Go look at her site.
Shalini Akhil shared some moving and funny reminiscences of how Bollywood touched on many ‘firsts’ in her life, including her first time going to the cinema by herself. What was the film that made such a mark on her life? Surakksha. Still not clear? Well, Gunmaster G9 may ring a bell. Here is a clip Shalini thoughtfully sent me afterwards:
Mitu Bhowmick-Lange gave the audience a quick history of Hindi cinema, how it has changed and the development of stories set overseas that reflect the NRI experience. She ended with a song filmed in Melbourne, My Dil Goes Mmmm from Salaam Namaste, which Mitu also line produced.
And I have no idea what I said. It was lovely to look at the audience and see Heather and other friends sitting there nodding emphatically at everything I mentioned, but that’s what great friends do. Thanks guys! I blathered on but I did manage to get 3 short clips of a minute or so each into my presentation. I really wanted to show why masala films have had such an impact on Heather and me and why we love to watch them. The audience seemed particularly taken with the South Indian film clips, and we may have a few more Magadheera converts! So what did I woo them with?
The organisers were fabulous and really set me at ease, and Heather and I got some very nice comments afterwards. It was a fun thing to do, and I am delighted that we were asked to participate.