Sacred Games creative trio to appear together for first time at SALA festival

indica News Bureau-


For the first time, the trio behind the Emmy-nominated Netflix original series Sacred Games—author Vikram Chandra, scriptwriter Varun Grover and director Vikramaditya Motwane—will be on one panel at the South Asian Literature and Art Festival that begins at Saratoga Oct 6.


The web-series has been nominated for an Emmy in the Drama category. The crime thriller was directed by Motwane and Anurag Kashyap.


The Montalvo Arts Center and Art Forum SF, in collaboration with the University of California, Berkeley, Institute of South Asian Studies, has put the SALA Festival together. The festival will be held at the Montalvo Arts Center, Saratoga, from Oct 6–13 from noon till 5 pm.


“Absolutely thrilled to be attending SALA this year. Hoping to share my insights and process of writing Sacred Games and interacting with the fabulous and knowledgeable delegates of SALA,” Grover said.


Several other writers and poets have been lined up for the festival, including Shanthi Sekaran, Minal Hazratwala, Athena Kashyap, Tanu Wakefield, Siddharth Dube, Raghu Karnad, Nayomi Munaweera, Mitali Perkin, Naheed Hasant Senzai and Moazzam Sheikh.


Contemporary artist Rekha Rodwittiya, art collector Dipti Mathur and Priyanka Mathew will also share their insights and expertise.


There is a special event on Oct 18 from 7:30 pm with Kashyap. Tickets for this are priced at $25.


There is also an elaborate and enriching encounter with legendary actress, painter and poet Deepti Naval. She will be in conversation with Prof Harsha Ram from UC Berkeley.


“Art Forum SF is a platform to have a dialogue for poets, artists and writers who are part of the emergent world of the subcontinent,” said Mayuranki Almaula, founder member of the forum’s board of directors and curator of the literary segment at the festival. “They are young, vibrant and poised to tell their stories that affect all globally but need to be heard. A young poet, an established writer, a nonfiction writer, a screenwriter, an iconic artist, all gather to talk about what inspires them.”


The festival aims to move on from the conventional understanding of diaspora culture, usually expressed through stereotypical tropes like nostalgia, roots, homeland/soil and memories. The participants at this year’s event exemplify the assimilation and absorption of various local and global sources that have irrigated their works, to help break the conventional and explore further.


The talks will be moderated by academicians from Berkeley’s Institute for South Asia Studies and experts from the respective fields. The audience will also have an opportunity to interact with the speakers.


“The South Asian Literature and Art Festival is a wonderful platform to showcase the rich and diverse ‘contemporary’ work coming from the South Asian diaspora,” said Ambika Sahay, founder member of the board and executive director of the Art Forum SF. “There is a plethora of award-winning work in both literature and art, which usually goes unnoticed but a festival like this provides an opportunity to experience it and raises the profile of such work.”


The festival’s closing event Oct 13 will showcase two documentary films. One is a short titled GuruCOOL, produced by Mettle Films and directed by Indo-Canadian director Sangita Iyer that looks at Indian educators in the 21st century (India/Canada, 32 minutes, English).


The grand finale is Sumantra Ghosal’s Kaifinama, produced by Mijwan Welfare Society, which looks at the life and art of Urdu progressive poet Kaifi Azmi, who was both a poet for social change and one of the foremost lyricists in the Hindi film industry (India, 90 min, Hindi, Urdu with English subtitles).


Both films have been programmed by Tushar Unadkat and are being jointly presented by Art Forum SF and BASAFF (Bay Area South Asian Film Festival) at the Serra Theatre 200 Serra Way #37 Milpitas CA 95035.


“The soft powers of the world—art, literature, music and dance—allow people to express themselves and how they view the world. SALA embodies these powers,” said Kiran Malhotra of the Art Forum SF, who is arts curator at the festival.


The festival aims to offer a unique experience not just for established professionals but also for emerging professionals and young minds. Along with the presentations and discussions, there will be children’s hands-on craft activities, writing programs, South Asian food stalls, art-related exhibitors, and dance performances, all to suit individuals of varying tastes, interests, and ages.