Kala Ghoda Arts Festival (‘KGAF’) in Mumbai is one of the largest cultural art festivals in India, with something for everyone. From the 6th to the 14th of this month, the 17th year of KGAF brings us events for Children, Theatre, Literature, Cinema, Dance, Music, Workshop, Street Events, Food, Urban Design, Architecture and Heritage Walks which are free for one and all.
Of the various visual art and installations this year, some of my favourites are ‘Tyre Canopy’ – cycle tyres in colourful palette arranged as a canopy, ‘Cutting Chai’ – one cup of Chai being shared between more than one person denoting the idea of dialogue, community and sharing, ‘Existence:: Creation:: Universe’ – which uses wheat, rice, brass, steel, and other forms to show the greatness of the sun, the 16 phases of the moon and the installation named ‘Food for Thought’ – which reads ‘Does religion comfort or threaten?’
There are heritage walks to take you through the archway to history. Those who love history can enjoy stories of landmark structures and statues immortalized in stone. Do pick up a copy of the Event Schedule from the Help Desk at Rampart Row.
Early birds should not miss the bicycle tour on the morning of Valentine’s Day which will make you fall in love with this city as you ride around her heritage structures. You could also get on to the Open Bus for a breezy tour of South Mumbai Heritage.
What I appreciate the most about this Fest is the variety of workshops covering travel photography, travel writing, creative thinking, traditional mural craft, music, dance and much more. I attended a few last year and found them really worth my time.
Various activities for children such as eco-friendly craft, storytelling, rhymes and songs, workshops et al will be happening at CSMVS Museum Garden. Also, India’s most loved kid’s icon, Rob, will share his creative, simple and fun art tips with a short demonstration on 13 February.
This year, the KGAF is extended by Make in India Festival from 13th to 17th February 2016 at Cross Maidan. While there are food stalls on one side, live musical and dance performances take place in the centre. Being fond of classical dance performances, I quite enjoyed watching Odissi which was based on a theme ‘Open my heart and take away my soul’. Odissi (Odia: ଓଡିଶୀ Oḍiśī), one of the eight classical dance forms of India, originates from the state of Odisha. The oldest surviving dance form of India, a dance of love and passion touching on the divine and the human, the sublime and the mundane. Do not miss the Egyptian Belly Dance performance tonight at 9:40 p.m.
Any event is incomplete without food and some of the food stalls where I spent few bucks are SodaBottleOpenerWala (must try their mawa cake), Mo Mo (steam chicken with spicy chutney), Chef’s Basket (noodles), Ghotala (I like their tag line ‘Sw-egg mera Desi’) and Waffle House. Well, the food stalls reminded me of The Lil Flea at Bandra.
If you like to cook then take a gastronomic adventure at Wisk by Cakesmiths / Westside. The live food demonstrations on baking bread, Canadian and Italian cuisine by well-known Chefs, Gujarati delicacies such as Oondhyu and Panki by chef of SOBO restaurant Soam and a lot more are definitely worth a try.
Not too far, there’s Ballard Estate Festival (BEF) happening every Saturday and Sunday from 11 am-11 pm till May 2016. The limelight of KGAF overshadows BEF for sure.
As there is lot of space available at BEF, I think a lot more can be done to keep the crowd busy. May be the Organizing Committee could have multiple events at the same time so that the crowd can take their pick. Also, a weekend schedule could be useful. Tie-ups with colleges / schools could gather some attention. BEF is a different type of festival and am sure it will grow over years.
The events at KGAF are spread over various locations which are within strolling distance from each other. This is one place and time when the commercial capital of the country shows its artsy side. So don’t miss the KGAF this year and I bet you will be going there every year!