When Salman Rushdie came calling...
It says a lot about an awards function when the performers -- called to take on the role of fillers between announcements -- manage to be a lot more interesting than the awards themselves.
But that is precisely what the Hutch Crossword Book Award 2005 managed to do: give us an evening of more credible performances than winners.
Seema Anil Sehgal, the ghazal singer from Jammu and Kashmir, and Rehaan Engineer, theatre personality from Mumbai, were the ones who deserved the applause. Sehgal, for her moving rendition of works by Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Bulleh Shah; Engineer, for his powerful reading from Salman Rushdie's novel, Shalimar the Clown.
Most writers didn't show up, of course. After all, this was an award initiated to honour 'Indian writers in English'. Which meant most nominees weren't in the country.
Image: Seema Sehgal in performance at the Nehru Auditorium, Mumbai, on March 21.
Text: Lindsay Pereira. Photographs: Jewella Miranda