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Celebrating Art & Culture

Friday, February 06, 2015

The much-loved, highly anticipated Kala Ghoda Arts Festival (KGAF) is finally here! The cultural festival will kick off tomorrow and go on up to next Sunday, February 15. Dev Goswami & Yamini Walia give you a sneak peak into the festival with some of their favourite picks from the different categories. Check out what you can look forward to

The list of plays at KGAF is one of the most exhaustive schedules that we’ve ever seen. You can expect plays in mediums such as English, Hindi, Marathi, Sindhi, Tamil and even Parsi-Gujarati! If you’re a fan of classic satire, don’t miss out on the dramatised readings of short stories by O’Henry and PG Wodehouse, which will transport you to the times of iconic characters such as Jeeves and Billy Burgass, while combining two fascinating and completely contrary sensibilities. We’re also looking forward to Voices, a play performed by school children and presented by the Salaam Bombay Foundation, which targets themes that are relevant to today’s youth and the society that they live in.

For a play that targets a relevant, current affair topic, check out Whole Sum Parts, which is a satirical take on the pressures and expectations that women face thanks to unrealistic depictions in films, television and media. If you’re planning on making this a family outing, then James Aur Ek Giant Peach, an English/Hindi adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic novel, is worth heading over for. So is Ek Yukti, a play in Parsi-Gujarati, which tells the story of a middle-aged couple who hatch a plot to lure in suitable boys for their four daughters, leading to several hilarious situations.

Short stories by O’Henry and PG Woodhouse: February 7, 60pm at Gallery Beyond
Voices: February 8, 11.30am at Gallery Beyond
Whole Sum Parts: February 10, 6pm at Gallery Beyond
James Aur Ek Giant Peach: February 14, 11.30am at David Sassoon
Ek Yukti: February 14, 8.30pm at NGMA

With genres such as drama, animation, documentaries, docudrama, comedy and nature, film buffs have a lot to look forward to at KGAF. One of our favourites is Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain, a drama based on the Bhopal gas tragedy, which has been directed by Ravi Kumar and stars Mischa Barton, Martin Sheen and Kal Penn. The critically acclaimed Finding Fanny, directed by Homi Adajania, is another film to watch out for. Starring Arjun Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Naseerudin Shah, Pankaj Kapur and Dimple Kapadia, this is the story of Ferdie, a postman who travels around Goa in search for his lover, with a group of oddballs.

Kiran Rao’s Dhobi Ghat is another must-watch; a story of inspiration and aspiration, Mumbai — the city of dreams — really comes alive in this drama, which stars Aamir Khan, Prateik, Monica Dogra and Kriti Malhotra. Nature lovers should check out Amazing Planet; Big Cats: Lions, Leopards, Tigers, Cheetahs; Water Beasts: Sharks, Dolphins, Whales and Ice Kingdom: The Arctic/Antarctic Collection, all of which are part of a series of films that have been produced by National Geographic, and explore the complexities and wonders of nature.

Nick Cassavetes’ Alpha Dogs, which stars Emile Hirsch, Justin Timberlake and Anton Yelchin, is another film that we’re waiting to watch. It tells the story of the business relationship between a father and his son in the glitzy setting of Los Angeles. You’ll also get a chance to catch Steven Spielberg’s animated film, Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn.

Bhopal: A prayer for rain: February 11 (2pm) & February 15 (5pm) at Coomaraswamy Hall 
Finding Fanny: February 7 (11am) & February 14 (5pm) at Coomaraswamy Hall
Dhobi Ghat: February 8 (11am) & February 10 (5.10pm) at Coomaraswamy Hall
Amazing Planet; Big Cats; Water Beasts; Ice Kingdom: February 9 (5pm) & February 14 (11am); February 10 (11am) & February 14 (2pm); February 10 (2pm) & February 14 (5pm); February 10 (5pm) & February 15 (2pm), respectively, at Auditorium at BNHS.   
Alpha Dogs: February 11 (11am) & February 15  (5pm) at Auditorium at BNHS
Adventures of Tintin:  February 7 (11am) & February 12 (5pm) at Auditorium at BNHS

From Bharatnatyam and kathak to several International dance forms, KGAF promises an interesting line-up of dance performances. Among the must-watch performances is the opening act, National Anthem in sign language by Shiamak’s Victory Arts Foundation. The performance breathes life into Mother Teresa’s quote, ‘God cannot be found in noise and restlessness.’  Another performance to look forward to is a flamenco dance performance called From Classical French Music to Flamenco..., where Shehzeen Cassum will dance to the tunes of two French musicians: Serge Lopez (guitarist) and Nathalie Marin (pianist). Sounds of Silence featuring Ayan Banerjee (kathak), Deep Mehta (contemporary), Rohit Gopinath (Bharathnatyam) and Ankur Bhallal, is an interesting combination of four distinct dance forms and several committed dancers.

If you feel as though you’re missing out on all the dancing fun, then head to the Zumba Dance Workshop by Zumba Education Specialist Sucheta Pal and her group. This electrifying dance performance is inspired by the rhythms of Salsa, Flamenco, belly dance and Samba. If you’re looking to attend something different and unique, then you should definitely attend Play it, so 17 dances about something by Polish troupe Dada Von Bzdulow Theatre. With 17 plays including conventions, pop culture, contemporary art and cinema, this performance signifies a new era in the work of this dance troupe.

National Anthem in sign language:
February 7, 5.30pm at Cross Maidan
From Classical French Music to Flamenco: February 8, 7.30pm, at Cross Maidan
Sounds of Silence: February 10, 9.15pm at Cross Maidan 
Zumba Dance workshop: February 10, 6pm at Cross Maidan
Play it: February 12, 6.30pm at Cross Maidan

Live performances have always been one of the biggest draws of KGAF, with several artists treating crowds to foot-tapping music at planned as well as impromptu gigs. The Symphony Orchestra of India has been a headliner act for several of KGAF’s past iterations, and this year as well they will be gracing the expansive Cross Maidan with their 70-piece orchestra, which will leave you spellbound with their range of opera, ballet and chamber music, along with their symphonic repertoire. Other bands that you can look forward to include Cinnamon Gully, a Mumbai-based blues band, Voctronica, India’s first all-vocal band, which will treat you to beat-boxing, Indian classical music, blues, pop and rock, and singer Shibani Kashyap with her band.
For some exciting instrumental music, check out Yshai and Itamar, who will present music inspired by Middle Eastern, jazz, Brazilian and flamenco traditions, with a synergy between guitar and percussion. Another great act that we’re looking forward to is The Merasi, who are an underprivileged community from the deserts of Rajasthan, known for their rich musical legacy of over 38 generations! Finally, we’re really excited about Amit Trivedi, known for his off-beat music and lyrics, who has composed for several Bollywood films.

Symphony Orchestra of India:
February 8, 6pm at Cross Maidan
Cinnamon Gully: February 8, 8.25pm at Cross Maidan
Voctronica: February 13, 6.20pm at Cross Maidan  
Shibani Kashyap: February 14, 6.20pm at Asiatic Library 
Yshai & Itamar: February 12, 8.45pm at Cross Maidan 
The Merasi: February 12, 7.30pm at Cross Maidan 
Amit Trivedi: February 15, 8.15 at Asiatic Library

If you’re a big fan of fashion, then you should attend Going beyond Fashion with Nachiket Bharve, a workshop that will be hosted by renowned fashion designer Nachiket Bharve. At the workshop, he will share tid-bits from his journey as a designer and give you insights about fashion adhered to by the stars, and how it can be converted to street fashion. On the food front, Sancho’s will be organising a masterclass with chef Vikas Seth, where you can learn about Mexican cuisine. If you’re lucky enough, you will also get an opportunity to cook with Vikas!  Another interesting workshop that we’ve already planned to attend is Hopping Chef. The workshop revolves around the origin of Bombay food and will teach you about the bhujing method of cooking, which combines local fish, vegetables and spice blends.

KGAF also has several workshops that will interest your children. One of the most interesting ones is the People of Mumbai workshop by Arzan Khambatta and Sunil Padwal, where children will get to make 3D human figures in the form of totem poles. Another exciting workshop is Miraaya’s WoQ (Wizzards of Quizzards). This fun, interactive workshop will test how well your children know Mumbai and teach them interesting facts about the city, with the help of audio, visuals and games. Another creative workshop is the ZeeQ Workshop, where Lalon, a graduate from NID, will teach children how to make toys from organic materials such as bamboo, wood and terracotta.

Going Beyond Fashion with Nachiket Bharve:
February 8, 5pm at Artisans’
Masterclass with chef Vikas: February 12, 3.30pm at Sancho’s Colaba
Hopping chef February: 14, 4pm at Westside
People of Mumbai: February 7, 12pm at Museum Gardens
Miraaya’s WoQ: February 8, 3pm at Museum Gardens
Zee Q: February 12, 3pm at Museum Gardens

Art & Exhibitions
KGAF features several prolific art workshops and exhibitions, all of which are equally unique and interesting. Contemporary Aerial Photographs of Mumbai’s Suburbs By Robert D. Stephens will include shots of the city’s northern suburbs from the sky. These contemporary aerial photographs are something that we really don’t want to miss! If heritage walks interest you, then you must attend the Heritage Bus Tour, which is an hour-long open bus tour in and around South Mumbai Heritage. You can witness landmarks such as the Gateway of India, Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai University, High Court, Victoria Terminus, Asiatic Society and several others. The tour will begin from gate no.2 of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) museum.

Contemporary Aerial Photographs:
Every day, from 11am to 7pm
Heritage Bus Tour: February 7, 5.45pm onwards

Over the past few years, literature has been getting more and more attention, with the success of several literature festivals and the birth of several new ones — and we completely love this! This year’s KGAF features a number of panel discussions and workshops on a wide variety of subjects. Sachin Through the Covers, moderated by Ayaz Memon and featuring Dilip D’Sousa, Kiran Desai and Vikram Sathaye in conversation, will discuss Sachin Tendulkar using art and literature. One of our personal favourites is The Literary Life of Bombay, which will have Anjali Purohit, Jane Bhandari and Menka Shivdasani exploring the history of reading circles and the platforms for poetry in Mumbai. Dilip S’Sousa, who is an award-winning journalist, will also be holding a writing workshop that will help you learn how you can translate your vacation memories into a memorable narrative. The City as a Protagonist, will feature EP Unny, Fahad Samar, Mayank Austen Soofi and Vishwajyoti Ghosh, bringing you their insights as authors whose writing is associated with a certain city and its ethos. Another poetry-based event is Translating Poetry for the 21st-century Reader, which will feature a conversation between Mani Rao and Sampurna Chattarji, as they interpret classical and contemporary Indian poetry for today’s reader.     

Sachin through the covers:
February 7, 5pm at DSL Garden
The literary life of Bombay: February 7, 6.45pm at Artists’ Centre 
The city as a protagonist: February 10, 7.30pm at DSL Garden 
Translating poetry: February 11, 5.30pm at Artists’ Centre

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