Find out all that’s brewing at Mumbai’s most loved arts festival
Mumbai’s favourite arts festival is back and this year, it’s packed with a bigger, tighter selection of vibrant events. The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival kicks off today (February 1) and for the next nine days, it’s going to be a riot of workshops, talks, heritage walks, theatre performances, dance recitals, book readings and much, much more. For your convenience, here’s a comprehensive guide on all that you can expect to see this year.
Curated by Ami Patel, Geeta Castelino, Sonal Motla and Varsha Karale, the Visual Arts section promises to be a delight. Rupali Patole’s LIC winning entry “Over The Top—Bachpan Baccho” is an artwork where the top and the thread symbolise the natural connection between man and God and of bringing back innocence into today’s materialistic world. Another thought-provoking installation titled “Swinging Forward A Lost Childhood” is a reminder of lost times when we were one with nature and away from modern gadgets. The theme of harmful effects of pollution caused by plastic has found resonance with a number of artists as well.
Drop by at the David Sassoon Library to check out an exhibition on the typography of the city by 15 graphic designers. At Coomaraswamy Hall, find photographer Kiran Ambwani’s photovoice project titled “Full Circle”, that enabled the youth of Dharavi to become investigators of their own neighbourhood. Students from various colleges, too, have created artworks and installations. Right from depicting the importance of men and women working together in the kitchen to the power of inclusiveness, the artworks offer food for thought.
Cinema enthusiasts can attend the panel discussion between Vikram Bawa, Mahabanoo Modi Kotwal, Dr Kaizaad Kotwal and Antara Banerjee on whether contemporary media is only about upgrading technology to make art into a series of digital exercises or if there is more to it. Sustainability and zero wastage of food is a concern that most chefs share. If you want to incorporate a few tips from experts to implement at home, then attend a talk by chef and mixologist Arina Suchde, chef Moina Oberoi, Sumit Gambhir, Director and Co-founder Neighbourhood Hospitality and Monisha Narke who works in the urban waste management sector. CSMVS will host a panel discussion with top theatre experts.
Ranging from talks on food legacies to perspectives on publishing, the literature section is brimming with multiple ideas and thoughts. Well-known author Jerry Pinto will present his perspectives on writing from the city, while poet Nidheesh Tyagi and artist Ruby Jagrut will discuss their collaborative creativity. When it comes to urban design and planning, listen to architects Madhav Raman, Abin Chaudhuri, Ekta Idnany and Sahil Latheef talk about what it means to engage with people and places through architecture and design.
Music and Dance
Whether you love old Hindi classics or enjoy jazz and hip hop, the KGAF has something for everyone. Watch YouTube sensation and playback singer Jonita Gandhi perform with her band or relive the golden era with singer Mugdha Hasabnis as she pays a tribute to the nightingale of India, Lata Mangeshkar in her 90th year. The younger lot isn’t far behind. Check out 14-year-old Lydian Nadhaswaram’s performance on the piano or 19-year-old singer-songwriter Karshni Nair’s solo performance. Lovers of Hindustani classical music can watch a performance by ace percussionist Taufiq Qureshi or a sitar recital by brothers Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash.
If there’s diversity in the music section, dance isn’t far behind. From Bharatanatyam to folk dance to hip-hop and even a confluence of Flamenco and Kathak, there are a variety of performances on showcase as well. Watch one of the best dance teams in India—King’s Squad in action. There will be a Kathak performance by the famed Aditi Mangaldas. The Luminario Ballet of Los Angeles will showcase of dance journey of Contemporary Ballet, Broadway and Acrodance.
The vibrant culture of our country needs to be celebrated and the Festival acknowledges that. Explore the city’s rich heritage as you take a walk inside the General Post Office to discover that it has more to it than stamps and letters or, learn more about Irani cafes and their legacy as blogger Roxanne Bamboat takes you on a walk through the bylanes of Kala Ghoda. Attend the book launch of Ullas Ki Naav, singer Usha Uthup’s biography or that of Kaifi Azmi’s birth centenary volume of poems. Tributes to authors Kiran Nagarkar and Girish Karnad are also on the cards.
Theatre performances include Naukrani, a play in Gujarati starring veteran actor Rohini Hattangadi, Shakespearewallah, a solo performance by Salim Ghouse in English that revolves around an old actor and a dramatic reading of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, along with a host of other performances and readings. And if you feel like laughing out loud, there are several stand-up comedy acts to attend. From popular names like Abish Mathew and Kaneez Surka to some younger players who are making their voices felt, there’s a lot happening on the laugh-out-loud front at the KGAF.
The workshops been designed keeping in mind the varied interests of people. From candle-making to mixed martial arts and gold leafing, participants can make the most of their experience at the Festival by adding to their skills. Pick up the nuances of acting on stage from theatre veteran Om Katare or learn how to drape a sari properly with the aid of JD Institute of Fashion Technology. And if you, like so many of us, are hard-pressed for time and need some nutritious meals on the go, then head to a workshop being conducted by Gouri Gupta of Gouri’s Goodies.
The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, Mumbai runs till February 9, 2020