Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2014: Opening Weekend Picks
And just like that, the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, now in its sixteenth year, is around the corner. This year, The Times of India has been swapped out for the Hindustan Times as the banner sponsor, but all essentials remain the same – nine days of events that will run from Saturday, February 1 to Sunday, February 9 and will span art, dance, literature, music and theatre. They are, of course, free and open to all. The event venues are mostly concentrated in and around Kala Ghoda (some will take place in Colaba and Fort) – you can print out this map for directions and visit Kalaghodaassociation.com for the full schedule. As always, we’ll be giving you our picks of what to catch, starting with the opening weekend.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 1
Watch London-based Indian classical dancer Gauri Sharma Tripathi stage Waqt, a recital that sees her interpret kathak “through a contemporary lens” to the accompaniment of music by UK-based composer Niraj Chag and city-based percussionist Taufiq Qureshi, at Cross Maidan at 7.10pm. At the same venue, at 9pm, see if choreographer and dance TV show judge Terence Lewis, currently seen on Nach Baliye, can walk the talk when he performs with his contemporary dance troupe.
EVENTS FOR CHILDREN
If you’ve got tweens with a penchant for art, then you can dispatch them to the Plaster Relief Art class starting at 11am in the gardens of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, where they’ll learn to create plaster relief work and decorate them with inks. For tots 5 years and above, a theatrical production of Catch That Crocodile at 5pm at the David Sassoon Library, will keep them still with its plot of a nasty croc on the loose.
It’s never a bad time to catch a Christmas flick like Arthur Christmas, an animation film about Santa’s youngest son running against a deadline to deliver a final present to a child (Bombay Natural History Society, at 11am). Cartoon fans and kids can also watch The Pirates! Band of Misfits immediately after (Bombay Natural History Society, at 2pm). Adults, meanwhile, can grab a seat for Shahid, the critically acclaimed biographical account of slain laywer and human rights activist Shahid Azmi (Coomaraswamy Hall, at 11am). For something more vintage, see Fearless Nadia, the actress and stuntwoman, star as a caped crusader in 1935’s Hunterwali (Gallery Beyond, at 2pm), and in the 1936 action movie Miss Frontier Mail (Gallery Beyond, at 5pm). Wildlife enthusiasts can settle in for Secrets of Wild India, a David Attenborough-narrated documentary about one-horned rhinos, wild buffalo, Asian elephants and other animals of the subcontinent (Bombay Natural History Society, at 5pm). You can also attend a talk by filmmaker Nasreen Munni Kabir, author Akshay Manwani, and lyricist Kausar Munir on the strong tie between Urdu poetry and songs in Indian cinema (ICIA Gallery, at 6pm).
A nine-year-old advocating healthy eating is a rare sight, one you can catch at the inaugural food session of the festival. Emanuel Chauhan, a runner-up on Junior MasterChef Swaad ke Ustaad, which aired on Star Plus last year, will whip up healthful soya-based dishes from 4.30pm onwards at the Westside in Kala Ghoda.
Scroll editor and local jazz historian Naresh Fernandes will moderate a talk on Music Language and the City between author Amit Chaudhuri and journalist Sidharth Bhatia (his new book India Psychedelic explores the Indian rock music scene of the 1960s and 1970s) at 6.15pm at David Sassoon Library. If you stick on at the same venue, at 7.45pm, you can enjoy readings from works by Hindi and Urdu writers such as Manto, Rajinder Singh Bedi and Bheesham Sahni.
Listen to a string quartet from the Symphony Orchestra of India perform the works of Mozart, Brahms, Dvorak and more at the National Gallery of Modern Art at 6.30pm.
Grab a snack from one of the street stalls, and get comfy at the amphitheatre around about noon – that’s when the National Streets for Performing Arts will put on a performance by a fusion brass quartet, followed by a poetry reading and street play at 1pm.
Four short stories that revolve around our city make up the English and Hindi play Chaar Small, written by Sanjay Dadhich, Purva Naresh and Trishla Patel and directed by Patel, that will be staged at the M. C. Ghia Hall at 7pm.
If you’ve never seen the imposing interiors of the Bombay High Court, sign up for the guided walk conducted by Kruti Garg, which will start at 1pm at entrance gate no.4 of the court building. You won’t be allowed to take cameras inside, but do make sure you bring along valid photo ID and collect a tour token between 11am and 11.30am at the help desk (located on Rampart Row, near the police chowky).
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 2
EVENTS FOR CHILDREN
Sign the kids up for the Jump Into The Ramayana workshop, which will be held at 11am at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (in the garden opposite the cafe and shop), and during which authors Saker Mistri and Mamta Dalal will take children through their sumptuously illustrated book The Mighty Tale of Hanuman. At 3.30pm, at the same venue, they can learn about the art of making a sculpture from scraps courtesy of sculptor Arzan Khambatta, the chap responsible for many of the city’s public art works. Tweens with a knack for photography or a love for animals or both should head to Kitab Khana in Fort at 10.30am, where the renowned Bittu Sahgal will be giving a beginner class in wildlife photography.
Kids can also spend Sunday watching the smurfs battle evil wizard Gargamel in the movie The Smurfs (Bombay Natural History Society, at 11am) and the slightly more macabre but equally humorous Hotel Transylvania, in which Dracula runs a five-star resort for his ghoulish kin (Bombay Natural History Society, at 2pm). Make time for Gyan Correa’s National Award-winning Gujarati film The Good Road, a documentary-style feature about three characters journeying through the salt desserts of Kutch. If you missed the Fearless Nadia double bill on Saturday, you can still catch her in the 1940 comedy caper Diamond Queen (Gallery Beyond, at 5pm). Alternately, you can end the day with Crimson Wings, a fascinating documentary on the lives of the flamingoes of Africa (Bombay Natural History Society, at 5pm).
Mumbai-based catering company Take Away Chef will simplify Mexican cooking through a demo that will cover basics like tacos, guacamole, salsa, and a refried bean salad at Westside, from 1pm onwards. At 4.30pm at the same venue Irfan Pabaney and Rachel Goenka, the chefs and owners of Nariman Point’s fine dining restaurant The Sassy Spoon will let you in on the recipes of some of their bestselling dishes.
Food writers, don’t miss this talk on writing and what else, food, between journalist and author of The Married Man’s Guide To Creative Cooking And Other Dubious Adventures Samar Halarnkar and food writer Vikram Doctor at 5pm at the Tarq Salon (F35/36, Dhanraj Mahal, CSM Marg, same building as Le Pain Quotidien, Apollo Bunder).
The festival gets a bit of bluegrass courtesy of American country singer, songwriter and fiddle player Laura Cortese, who will perform at Cross Maidan at 6.45pm along with her band The Dance Cards, which features fiddle player Mariel Vandersteel and cello player Valerie Thompson, who also provide backing vocals. Listen to them here. Return to the same venue by 9pm to attend a concert by Amit Trivedi, who has been hailed as the closest thing we have to the next A. R. Rahman. This gig by the music director and occasional singer will also serve as the launch of his latest soundtrack Queen. Listen to a track from it here.
Keep your eyes peeled for the Mobile Photo booth manned by French photog Anay Mann. Courtesy of Alliance Francaise, you can get a studio portrait shot against various backgrounds of French scenery like the Eiffel Tower, Montmatre, Roland Garros and even the beaches of the South of France.
Dharavi Diary, a project that looks to empower residents of the area, will put up a play by the kids of Dharavi at 3pm at the Kala Ghdoa Amphitheatre about the benefits of recycling and cutting your carbon footprint. At Rampart Row, from 5pm onwards, you can catch the daily performance of the Bahurupias, street artists who traditionally moved from door to door and sang for their supper so as to speak.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 3
See one of the country’s foremost kathakali exponents, Kalamandalam Balasubramanian, the former principal of the renowned Kerala Kalamandalam institute of Indian performing arts, present the story of Nalacharitham, at Cross Maidan at 8.15pm. Taking the stage immediately after him at 9.15pm will be the Fictitious Group, the Vasai-based hip hop dance troupe led by choreographers Suresh and Vernon that won the 2011 edition of reality TV competition show India’s Got Talent.
EVENTS FOR KIDS
At Kitab Khana, at 4pm, kids aged 8 and above can make their own audio book, complete with music and a voice-over at this workshop hosted by Karadi Tales.
Catch this year’s Oscar-nominated Tom Hanks-starrer Captain Phillips, a film based on the 2009 hijacking of an American cargo ship by Somali pirates (Coomaraswamy Hall, at 2pm); or the poignant 1948 drama Mela in which Nargis Dutt and Dilip Kumar play star-crossed lovers (Gallery Beyond, at 2pm). End the day with another Fearless Nadia gem called The Jungle Princess (Gallery Beyond, at 5pm).
You can expect a mini mob at the dessert demo conducted by Ayushi Shah, who runs the popular dessert catering service Icing On Top. Shah, who specialises in bite-sized treats like cupcakes, cake pops, and cookies, will begin her session at 4.30pm at Westside.
You’ll want to attend Speak Your Mind at 5pm at the David Sassoon Library especially if you’d like to expand your knowledge of delightfully whimsical Parsi and Sidhi proverbs. Speakers Meher Marfatia and Sooni Taraporevala have just penned Parsi Bol, while Mrs. Kriplani will be contributing from the Sindhi side. After that, make haste, as at 6.15 at Tarq (F35/36, Dhanraj Mahal, CSM Marg, same building as Le Pain Quotidien, Apollo Bunder), city expert Naresh Fernandes, author of City Adrift, and Sir J. J. College of Architecture professor Mustansir Dalvi will discuss the topic on everyone’s mind: “Bombay: Apocalypse Soon?“