What: South Asian Literature and Arts (SALA) Festival.

When: Oct 7 and 8, 2023, | 11 am to 7 pm.

Where: Menlo College, 1000 El Camino Real, Atherton, CA 94027.

Tickets: www.salafestival.org

Since its inception in 2019, the South Asian Literature and Arts (SALA) festival has become a mainstay in the cultural calendar of the Indian diaspora in the United States. For its fourth edition, organizers ArtForumSF have chosen the theme of changing narratives within the South Asian diaspora. 

Over two days, the festival will feature over twenty panel discussions with eminent contemporary voices like Chitra Ganesh, Sonora Jha, Ranjit Hoskote, and Soniah Kamal. The panels will tackle a diverse range of topics including identity, human rights, the influence of AI in art, food, dating culture and cricket. 

Panel Highlights

This year, the festival is focusing on film – the Indian film industry as well as Indian diaspora film-makers who are making films for American audiences. Attendees will hear from eminent personalities from the Indian film industry like director Tanuja Chandra, actor and film-maker Konkona Sen Sharma, and lyricist Kausar Munir. Also, Simran Baidwan, Reenita Malhotra, and Shruti Tiwari will discuss the South Asian Narrative in American films in conversation with Ekta Bhargava.  

Development in the fields of natural language processing and large language models means that AI is sure to be a big part of our lives going forward. A case in point are the AI art platforms have taken the world by storm since their release in 2022. Nikhil Abraham from Cloudchef and Madhu Vudali from Faro will share their thoughts on the ways in which AI will impact different industries. 

Labor organizer and writer Saket Soni is the director of Resilience Force, an organization he co-founded to represent the voices of America’s resilience workers. He has also studied and written about the issue of human rights trafficking and will speak on the subject with M.R. Rangaswamy. 

Last but not the least, hear from the trailblazers of the culinary world who are introducing Americans to authentic Indian flavors. Monica Sunny from Chai Box, Sana Javeri Kadri of Diaspora Co, and Sukhi Singh of Sukhi’s Foods will share the stage to discuss how smaller players are shaping this industry.

Additional Highlights

Attendees can also enjoy a night of stand-up comedy by renowned Indian satirist, lyricist and writer Varun Grover, open-air poetry and book readings and musical performances by local artists. South Asian artists and their work will also be featured at an exhibition during the course of the festival. 

The festival’s keynote speakers include film-maker Konkona Sen Sharma, and authors Abraham Varghese, Amitav Ghosh, and Shobhaa De. 

To book tickets and know more about the schedule, visit www.salafestival.org/

Tanay Gokhale is a Community Reporter at India Currents through the California Local News Fellowship cohort of 2023. Born and raised in Nashik, India, he moved to the United States for graduate study in...