Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2013: Opening Weekend Picks
Restrictions on the use of loudspeakers may have led many of the events of the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival to take place away from the area (can Cross Maidan or Horniman Circle strictly be considered Kala Ghoda?) but it’s still the one cultural extravaganza that truly brings South Mumbai to life. This year, the festival will be held from Saturday, February 2 to Sunday, February 10, and like always, we’ll be giving you our picks of what to catch. Admission to all the events is free and on a first-come, first-served basis, unless otherwise specified. Here’s what’s worth checking out during the first three days:
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 2
National Geographic junkies can view 50 of the storied mag’s photos, of among other things, animals, nature and landscapes, which will be on display at the Art Entrance gallery (Army and Navy Building, located opposite Jehangir Art Gallery), from 10am to 9pm throughout the duration of the festival, as part of Simply Beautiful: Photographs from National Geographic exhibition. The show marks the entrance of National Geographic Exhibitions in India, courtesy of publishing house ACK Media. Rampart Row, meanwhile, turns into an outdoor gallery of sorts, with dozens of artists, including Anne-Marie Twigge (the Dutch designer who did the cover for our last Mumbai Art Map), Sunil Padwal, Brinda Miller, Arzan Khambatta, Paresh Maity, and students from the J. J. School of Art, showcasing installations and other works.
If you missed watching kathak star Aditi Mangaldas perform at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in November 2012, catch Uncharted Seas, a performance by Mangaldas and her troupe The Drishtikon Dance Foundation at Cross Maidan at 8.30pm.
EVENTS FOR CHILDREN
Tiger-loving siblings Madhav and Prithvi Subrahmanyam, aged 15 and 11 respectively, are doing their bit to spread awareness about the endangered cat by hosting a puppet-making workshop called Mad For TYGRS for kids aged between six and eight, at the gardens of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya at 11am. Later in the day, at the same venue, Irina Afanasyewa, a Polish director of children’s theatre, will take the rather grim subject of child labour, as referenced in English poet William Blake’s two-part poem The Chimney Sweeper, and turn it into a fun dramatisation, that will be staged at 4.30pm.
World cinema buffs can choose from Carlos Reygadas’s Japón, a sombre Spanish-language film about a depressed man who moves to a village to prepare for suicide but falls in love instead (Max Mueller Bhavan, at 2pm); Louie Psihoyos’s The Cove, an Oscar-winning documentary that follows dolphin trainer Ric O’Barry as he exposes the slaughter of dolphins by the Japanese (Bombay Natural History Society, at 6pm); and South Korean action flick The City of Violence (Max Mueller Bhavan, at 6pm). You can also attend a talk by animation film director Nina Sabnani (Artisans’ Centre, at 5pm).
Archaeologist Shraddha Bhatawadekar will conduct a guided walk through the BMC building, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, and the GPO. Registrations for the walk, which is limited to 35 people, will be taken at 11am at the assembly point, which is the statue of Pherozeshah Mehta in front of Gate No.2 of the BMC building. Also on Friday, you can take the Heritage Bus Tour, where you get to see some of South Mumbai’s most prominent buildings–including the Taj Mahal and Palace hotel, the University, High Court and the Asiatic Society Library–from the vantage point of the top of an open-top double-decker bus. To take the hour-long tour, which begins from the bus stop opposite Regal Cinema and will be conducted by guide Parveen Mistry at 4pm and 5.30pm, you need a pass that can be collected after registering at the festival office (on the fourth floor of the ATE Enterprises building on V. B. Gandhi Marg) between noon and 2pm on Friday, February 1.
Traditional string puppeteers will present the dance drama Amar Singh Rathore, with the help of instruments like the pipari (wind instrument) and dholak from 5pm. This will be followed by a performance by Bahurupias, street performers who traditionally moved from door to door and sang for their supper so as to speak, and Rajasthani Nat acrobats who will shimmy across tightropes from 6.30pm onwards. (Rampart Row).
You can choose from three plays on the first day of the festival. Mahua, directed by Rajit Kapur, is about a tribal man forced to marry a woman much older than him to prevent two villages from going to war (Horniman Circle Garden, at 7.30pm). Some Times, directed by Adhaar Khurana, is about a man who survives his demanding parents and girlfriend with the help of weed and whisky (National Gallery of Modern Art, at 7pm). Manto Zinda Hai is theatre group Virat Chitralok’s tribute to every Indian theatrewallah’s favourite short story writer, Saadat Hasan Manto (Max Mueller Bhavan, at 7.30pm).
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 3
Watch Koormavataaram—The Great Ancient Turtle by Kapila Venu, a performance of koodiyattam, considered one of the oldest forms of dance theatre in India. Venu, who is based in Trichur, will present nangiar koothu (a female solo performance) to the accompaniment of traditional Keralite percussion, at Cross Maidan at 7pm.
EVENTS FOR CHILDREN
Begin the day by taking the kids for a guided walk through Fort that will be conducted by conservation architect Kruti Garg, for children between the ages of eight and 15, from Flora Fountain at 10am. The tour will cover such landmark buildings as The David Sassoon Library, Watson’s Hotel, and The New India Insurance Building, and will end at the Chhattrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahlaya, where the group will get a chance to create a heritage map with the help of artists Aashika and Erika Cunha, at 11am. For some comic book-related activity, stick around at the same venue where, at 1.30pm, an Amar Chitra Katha illustrator will bring to life such stories as the Man-Eaters of Kumaon by Jim Corbett, and at 3pm, a team from Tinkle comics will conduct a workshop for children between the ages eight and 12 during which they will be taught how to put together their own comic strips. At 4.30pm, make your way to Kitab Khana, where award-winning children’s author Anushka Ravishankar will read from Moin and The Monster, a funny tale about a boy whose drawing of a monster comes to life. Right after Ravishankar’s reading, Canadian-Pakistani writer Musharraf Ali Farooqi, who was shortlisted for The Man Asian Literary Prize for the novel Between Clay and Dust in 2012, will release his third book for children at Kitab Khana at 5.30pm. In this new book called Tik-Tik The Master of Time, two kids inhabiting a fictional planet set off on an intergalactic adventure. To register for the events at Kitab Khana, email firstname.lastname@example.org with “Register” in the subject line.
Watch Broken Tail, a documentary that follows a Ranthambore tiger until he mysteriously disappears (Bombay Natural History Society, at 6pm); or Yarwng, a film in the Tripuri language kokborok, about human displacement in Tripura caused by the building of the Dumbur dam (Max Mueller Bhavan, at 6pm).
This year, you can attend cooking demonstrations and workshops by chefs, sommeliers and tea experts. The inaugural demo will be held at 4pm on Sunday at the Kala Ghoda outpost of Westside, where Vikas Seth, the head chef of Mexican restaurant Sancho’s, will dish up guacamole with blue and yellow corn tortillas; corn, beans, zucchini and jalapeno quesadillas; and Tequila and habanero-spiked jumbo prawns.
There’s another chance to take the Heritage Bus Tour. To sign up for the hour-long tour on Sunday, which will begin from the bus stop opposite Regal Cinema at 4pm and 5.30pm, you need a pass that can be collected after registering at the festival help desk (located opposite Chetna restaurant) between noon and 2pm on Saturday, February 2.
Husband-and-wife, co-authors and journalists Vivek Dehejia and Rupa Subramanya will chat about their new book Indianomix, which offers a Freakonomics-like take on the perplexities of modern India, at the David Sassoon Library Garden, from 4.30pm.
Veteran playback and pop singer Usha Uthup will get the festival party started with a 90-minute concert at Cross Maidan at 6.45pm.
If you miss the string puppeteers, bahurupias and acrobats on Saturday, you can catch them again at Rampart Row on Sunday, from 1pm onwards.
Watch Aao Tanik Prem Karein, playwright Vibha Rani’s award-winning Hindi drama about a 60-year-old man who searches for love (National Gallery Modern Art, at 7pm); or Imago, an English adaptation of Franz Kafka’s short story The Metamorphosis by Bangalore-based group Stage Players (Artists’ Centre, at 7.30pm).
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 4
Watch Unleashed, a contemporary dance performance by Amey Mehta and his group at Cross Maidan at 8pm, and stay back for Why so serious? an act involving freestyle football and juggling, that will be staged at 8.35pm.
EVENTS FOR CHILDREN
At Kitab Khana, from 4.30pm, author and animation filmmaker Nina Sabnani will introduce children between the ages of five and ten to the Rajasthani craft of Kavad, which involves story-telling with the aid of colourful picture panels. The kids can then stick around at the bookstore for children’s writer Himanjali Sankar who, from 5.30pm, will read from The Stupendous Timetelling Superdog, in which a dog named Rousseau rescues planet Earth thanks to his unique ability to read time. To register for the events at Kitab Khana, email email@example.com with “Register” in the subject line.
Start the day with Pixar’s fantastic animated film WALL-E, in which a robot spends its days cleaning a waste-filled Earth (Bombay Natural History Society, at 11am); and then move on to watch either Kaksparsh, Mahesh Manjrekar’s Marathi film about the trials of a young widow (Coomaraswamy Hall at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, at 2pm) or Music for a Goddess, Amy Caitlin-Jairazbhoy’s film on the music and rituals of devdasis dedicated to the goddess Yellama (Gallery Beyond, at 2pm).
Tea expert Snigdha Manchanda will tell you what dishes pair best with your daily chai at her tea-tasting workshop at Westside from 4pm, during which you can try four types of teas, Darjeeling, Assa, Nilgiri, and green. You can then brush up on your wine etiquette ahead of Wine Week at a wine appreciation session, also at Westside, from 6.30pm, by sommelier Nikhil Agarwal. Attendees will get to taste five to seven wines, while Agarwal talks about the nuances of drinking wine, and food and wine pairings.
Conservation architect Sanaeya Vandrewala will take participants through the Fort campus of Mumbai University, which houses the famous city landmark, the Rajabai Clock Tower. Though the walk will start at 4.30pm, from the main entrance gate of the University, you need to register for the tour, which is restricted to 35 people, between noon and 3pm at the festival help desk (opposite Chetna restaurant).
Fellow journalists Sidharth Bhatia and Naresh Fernandes (who penned Taj Mahal Foxtrot) will talk about Music in Bombay from the 1930s to the 1960s (Arbour, Karim Chambers, First Floor, 3 Hamam Street, Near Bombay Stock Exchange at 6pm). Graphic novelist Rajesh Devraj, illustrator Meren Imchen and writer Jerry Pinto meanwhile will chat about The Wondrous Histories of Zippy the Chimp and Pedro the Ape Bomb, the real-life simians who inspired the creation of Devraj’s recently-released book Sudershan (Chimpanzee) (David Sassoon Library Garden, at 7.30pm).
Catch two gigs organised by the National Streets for Performing Arts, which kick off at Rampart Row at 5pm. The classical rock tunes of Three’s Company, will be followed by a jam between a tabla and a djembe player.
Pick between Hina Siddiqi’s White Noise, a series of monologues based on William Dalrymple’s Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India, a set of stories that examine faith (Artists’ Centre, at 7.30pm); or Tom Alter‘s reading of the works of Mumbai-based playwright and director Shivani Tibrewala (Starbucks, Horniman Circle, at 7.30pm).
Studio X’s Rajeev Thakker will discuss architecture, urban planning (or rather the little that has been planned in Mumbai) and conservation during a workshop at ICIA Art Gallery, from 6pm.