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Kala Ghoda Goes Green

Friday, February 02, 2018

Every year at around this time, the city erupts in artistic fervour, and this year is no different. The 48hrs Team tells you which of this year’s Kala Ghoda Arts Festival events you absolutely should not miss!

One of Mumbai’s most loved art festivals is upon us, and thousands will flock to the glorious art district of the city for the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival (KGAF). This year’s theme — sustainability and green living — percolates into every aspect of the festival, from the street art and food to the stand-up comedy gigs. We speak with the festival’s curators to tell you what to expect. We’ve even picked events you should attend.

This year’s theme — Hara Ghoda

The past few years have seen climate change hotly debated as we come to terms with the fact that we have only one planet and we have to protect it and safeguard natural resources, whatever form they may take. Healthy living, organic foods and dwindling natural resources have been thrust into the limelight, and this year’s KGAF theme revolves around these concepts. Art attempts to align itself with nature as it celebrates the natural history of the world. On stage and in the spotlight will be the wonders of nature, through performance and art.


The theme here is ‘wordfire’ and the literature at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival will focus on synergies between literature and other mediums of creative expression. Literature curator Anjali Purohit says, “On offer is an eclectic programming that includes sessions around the themes of translation, the connection between literature and Hindi cinema, literature as folk tradition and sessions around Marathi and Gujarati literature, as well as the finest poets and fiction and non-fiction authors.”

Don’t miss:

Literature, Writing and Hindi Cinema

Screenwriters Varun Grover, Darab Farooqui and Akshay Manvani will be seen in conversation with Vinita Agrawal discussing the relationship between the seminal works of literature and Hindi cinema.

When: February 3, from 8pm to 8.45pm
Where: DSL Garden

From Literature to Cinema: Natural Siblings

Rakhshanda Jalil, Suresh Chabria and Arunava Sinha will be taking a look at the translation from the written word to celluloid.

When: February 8, from 6pm to 6.45pm
Where: DSL Garden

Mumbai Noir

Arti Surendranath explores Mumbai’s landscape of hard-boiled heroes and femme fatales with Noir Crime Fiction author and filmmaker Piyush Jha.

When: February 10, from 5pm to 5.30pm
Where: DSL Garden


This year’s theme is ‘Horse Power’ and bringing that to the stage are Zakir Hussain, L Subramaniam, Papon, KK, ONEmpire, the Mehli Mehta Music Foundation kids, and many more. Music curator Arpana Gvalani tells us that stalwarts Indus Creed will be bringing their rare classics to the stage, while Benny Dayal will showcase his Signature Bollywood funk sound. She says, “KGAF is probably the only festival in the country currently covering such a wide range of genres, so come with an open mind. You never know; you may walk in a fan of Zakir Hussain, and walk out an Indus creed fan.”

Don’t miss:

Mallika Mehta

Touted as the Adele of Mumbai, Mallika’s melodious voice will mesmerise you.

When: February 4, from 5.30pm to 5.40pm
Where: Cross Maidan

Shastriya Kids

This band of kids is set to perform a unique musical combination of classical and semi-classical, bringing alive the concept ‘essence of life’.

When: February 8, from 5.30pm to 5.50pm
Where: Cross Maidan

Benny Dayal

Arpana tells us, “I am super excited about Benny Dayal’s show! I can’t disclose specifics just yet, but I have been told this KGAF appearance of his will be a rare one.”

When: February 10, from 8.15pm to 9.45pm
Where: Steps of the Asiatic Library


Here are our picks of theatre across languages.

The Ballad Of The Pied Piper (English)
Based on the poem The Ballad of The Pied Piper, the play showcases the hilarious journey of two fools and their donkey.

When: February 3, 5.30pm
Where: NGMA

Her Letters (Hindi)
The play borrows from Rabindranath Tagore’s short story, Streer Patra, and strives to rediscover women within our historical context.

When: February 5, 5.30pm
Where: NGMA

Hey Ghyaa Ek Phool (Marathi)

The play is an adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, and won first prize at the Maharashtra Rajya Natya Spardha.

When: February 6, 7.30pm
Where: Horniman Circle Gardens


The KGAF’s heritage tours will show you colonial-style architecture around the city in a new light, aligned with the ‘Green is the new black’ theme. Heritage Walks curator Kruti Garg tells us, “The walks at this year’s festival focus on embracing the elements of nature — earth, water, air and fire — in architecture, reinforcing their coexistence as an in-built expression that respects its natural context and its reflection in cultural heritage.”

Don’t miss:

Embracing Modernity – Ballard Estate Walk

A walk that takes you down the tree-lined business centre of Ballard Estate to help you appreciate the well-articulated facades and urban vistas.

When: February 3, 10.45am 

Colaba Green

Discover the natural and cultural heritage of the mini island that is Colaba. Constantly evolving and with a history of change, explore Colaba in a new light.   

When: February 9, 4.15pm


A walk that covers the Atash Behrams in the city, learn about the world’s oldest monotheistic religion through the culmination of cultural beliefs and nature that is embodied in architectural form.

When: February 10, 1.30pm

Heritage Bus Tour

Witness the sights and sounds of the city that never sleeps while riding in an open bus on a tour of the old town that was Bombay, with the cool breeze in your hair.

When: February 3, 4 and 10


With food workshops and cook-offs, the theme ‘Hara Bhara’ is brought out by encouraging people to eat local. Food curator Roxanne Bamboat tells us, “There is a lot of emphasis on mindful eating, less wastage and understanding local ingredients. The food workshops are full of interesting yet educative sessions that highlight different types of food, regional cuisine, ingredients and techniques. Each one is geared to helping people better understand the food they eat and encouraging them to cook at home and experiment with healthier options.”

Don’t miss:

Mehek Mandlik

Chef Mehek takes you through the world of chocolate and teaches you about chocolate desserts fit for all parties and occasion.

When: February 6, from 8pm to 9pm
Where: Cross Maidan

How to eat Ayurveda

Ayurvedic principles helps us in all walks of life, so why not include them in our food? Amrita Rana talks about how to go about it.

When: February 8, from 7pm to 9pm
Where: Cross Maidan

Waste is wonderful

Varun Inamdar tells you how to make the best use of leftovers and incorporate them in simple, but mouth-watering dishes.

When: February 10, from 8pm to 9pm
Where: Cross Maidan

Flavours From The Coast

Roxanne says, “Sandeep Shreedharan will be talking about the amazing vegetarian dishes that are integral to coastal cuisine. Everyone thinks food from the coast is only fish-driven, but he’s highlighting lovely vegetarian fare.”

When: February 9, from 6.30pm to 7.30pm
Where: Cross Maidan


The Urban Design section at this year’s KGAF will focus on the potential of design and its influence on social and cultural aspects and people’s everyday lives. The theme is ‘Fields of Gold’, not just for economic reasons, but also for the cultural and intellectual development of societies.

Don’t miss:

  • The Life of Conservation: Art and Architecture in changing times by Babara Beckett and Mr. Philippe von Niederhausern Vikas Dilwari
  • Architecture and what is changing in India: Notes from Delhi by Madhav Raman (Anagram)
  • Design, Terracotta, and Domesticity by Zameer and Ayaz Basrai


Spanning a range of topics and techniques, the KGAF workshops will help you discover what lies dormant in your subconscious, waiting to be freed. Workshop curator Ami Patel tells us, “Workshops let you interact with musicians, writers, photographers, travellers, painters, dancers, waste upcyclers and other fascinating people, each promising to outdo the other in over 50 sessions.”

Don’t miss:

The Travel of Art

Learn the rare art of handcrafted Japanese ceramic pottery from sensei Hiroshige Kato.

When: February 4, from 11.30am to 1.30pm
Where: Artists Centre

Be Your Own Barista

Calling all coffee lovers. Coffee master, Mithilesh Vazalwar, teaches you three new techniques to brew your own exotic blends.

When: February 6, from 2.30pm to 4.30pm
Where: Artists Centre

Rhythmus Happy Feet

A workshop on movement and games based on rhythm and storytelling.

When: February 6, from 11.30am to 1.30pm
Where: Somaiya Centre for Lifelong Learning


A natural synchronisation of rhythm and footwork, the dance performances at the KGAF will involve a confluence of cultures, hosting dancers representing dance communities from the world over. Dance curator Dr. Anona Guha tells us, “Each year, the effort has been to bring an eclectic mix to the audience. This year we have over 850 performers!”

Don’t miss:

Heaven on Earth by the Arya Sisters

German artistes Dil and Delbar Arya’s ballet performance, with elements of contemporary and Flamenco, depicts the struggle of two ensnared beings reaching for the heavens to achieve a natural state of being boundless.

When: February 3, from 9pm to 9.25pm
Where: Cross Maidan

Naga Dance by Myriad Arts

A synchronized Naga community dance performed by men and women, presented by Shreyas Desai and his group.

When: February 6, from 9.30pm to 9.50pm
Where: Cross Maidan

Benaras by Sharmishta Mukherjee

A Kathak performance that comprises of a bouquet of six compositions, it aims to capture the varied nuances of the oldest city in India, Benaras.

When: February 7, from 7.50pm to 8.50pm
Where: Cross Maidan


This year’s theme is Green Genies. In addition to workshops covering art and craft, dance, music and creative writing, the Children’s Art installation ‘Shades Of Green LIFE’ will be displayed throughout the festival. Curators Nuriya and Tasneem tell us, “Topics from climate change, garbage segregation, nature poems, drama and yoga will focus on the green theme, which will be loads of edutainment for the kids.”

Don’t miss:

The Big Gigantic Puzzle

Kids will create a gigantic puzzle at KGAF, but the catch is that they also have to make the puzzle pieces!

When: February 6, from 4pm to 5pm
Where: CSMVS Museum Garden

Treasure Trails

Send your child out to discover the hidden treasures of India.

When: February 10, from 11am to noon
Where: Outside Karl and Meherbai Khandalavala Gallery

Faces of Gaia

Agastya Foundation will encourage children to imagine and create a face for ‘Gaia’, our Mother Earth, using her own elements of soil, pebbles and paints which are organically made from flowers.

When: February 4, from 1pm to 2pm
Where: CSMVS Museum Garden

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