Bhubaneswar: Students of School of Mass Communication, KIIT Deemed to be University had a great time in the two-days Odisha Literary Festival (OLF) in the capital which was held on 29 and 30 September.

The students had a great time getting to witness the brightest minds from literature, politics, film, music, creative and performing arts under one platform. The OLF stirred a cauldron of ideas creating a veritable feast of intellectual discourse combined with a splash of entertainment.

The festival was inaugurated by the Governor of Odisha, Prof Ganeshi Lal in presence of Editorial Director of The New Indian Express Prabhu Chawla. Adding political weightage was by Union Petroleum and Natural Gas and Skill Development Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, former Union minister Salman Khurshid, Editor of Sambad and Rajyasabha MP Soumya Ranjan Patnaik and poet and MP LokSabha Feroze Varun Gandhi.

The opening had a session on “Why does religion matter so much” with heavyweights from across the political and ideological divide including Mr Khurshid, former Rajya Sabha MP and Editor-in-Chief of The Pioneer Chandan Mitra, RSS ideologue Rakesh Sinha and journalist-author Ashutosh holding forth on the burning topic. The day ended with an enthralling Odissi performance by renowned danseuse-composer Aruna Mohanty, who will perform a specially choreographed dance item for the OLF 2018.

The second day was started off with none other than one of India’s best-selling writers Ashwin Sanghi holding a special session for students titled, “Connecting the dots: Myth, history and science”. It was followed by Mr  Gandhi speaking on “Media, Society and Culture – Inter-relation and emerging trends”.

While there is much debate on the vernacular fast losing relevance in the present times, eminent personalities including Editor of Sambad Mr Patnaik, linguist Debi Prasanna Pattanayak, academician and writer Jatin Nayak and tech-warrior and founder of Odia Wiki Subhashish Panigrahi will deliberate and explore if “Technology can rekindle interest in Odia writing”.

Authors and journalists Avalok Langer, Kota Neelima and Neyaz Farooquee discussed “Embracing the Other: Can the written word help?” moderated by Sujit Mahapatra. The other session “Women on Women: Are they the Best Fit?” was engaging with noted writers Devapria Roy, Ira Mukhoty and Manjima Bhattacharjya along with author and senior political commentator Ravi Shankar Etteth talked about handling of women characters by  female writers.

The audience were enthralled with “Meri zubaan desi hai” by independent singer-songwriter Kavish Seth. But the highlight was Bollywood star Sharman Joshi who came along with the cast and crew of upcoming movie “Kaashi in search of Ganga” including, director Dhiraj Kumar and producer Manish Kishore was the special attraction. They shared their experiences on film and on “Changing subjects and scripts of Indian cinema” with noted film critic Piyush Roy.

Mass Communication students took initiative to ask questions to Bollywood star Sharman Joshi. Second year student Simran Chand asked,”  Do you think offscreen chemistry between co-stars in friendship films is as important as in clichéd romantic movies?

“Yes it is very much important to have offscreen chemistry between co-stars in friendship films”, replied Sharman Joshi. While Sayantika Dey First year mass communication student asked him,” Who would have replaced you for the role of Raju Rastogi three idiots?” After thinking for a moment, Joshi replied,” Sahid Kapoor”.

The two day event was an enjoyable one for the students, ” It was a magical experience attending the Odisha Literary Festival. It was not only a festival for entertainment but also of learning”, said Agniva Bhoumick, a first year student.