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Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2023 : Major Highlights


Kala Ghoda Arts Festival (KGAF) is here once again! The Kala Ghoda neighbourhood in South Mumbai, India, hosts an annual celebration that lasts nine days and always starts on the first Saturday of February and ends on the second Sunday. Everyone, including kids, may find something special at the renowned festival. Throughout the festival, there are particular activities, workshops, and programmes for all ages. The Kala Ghoda district has a long history and is now the epicentre of cultural activity. The major event took place in the Kala Ghoda neighbourhood in South Mumbai over the course of nine days, from February 4 to 18. Here are some of KGAF’s best highlights : 

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1. The Art Installations

Sumeet Sanjay Patil’s poem “The Intellectual Crow” is a tribute to the cunning of the “thirsty crow.” The story’s inscription is hand-painted on the bird’s wings. In the story, the parched crow is unable to sip water from a water jug. The water level then rises and he can drink it when he has filled it with little stones.

The goal of Hetal Shukla’s art project, “Crypto Automobile,” a car with keyboard-style controls, is to raise public awareness about the growth of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in the art world. According to the artist, the future of art lies in cyberspace, and it is time to start a conversation about this prospect for both artists and art enthusiasts.

The artist Pooja Bhansali claims that the “#beyourownhashtag” work shows the crossing over of four bars that symbolises one’s inclination to rely on one’s own power and maintain oneself during difficulties.

The art installation titled “Joy” was dedicated by artist Munawwar Sharifi to his late wife Afroze, who he claims always towed him when he crashed. The artwork illustrates how one must advance with the help of their own convictions because they are the source of power. The majority of the installation’s materials are recyclable.

The artisans behind Wandering Whites Handcrafted Jewellery’s art piece, ‘The Rising of the Phoenix’, created it. They created jewellery from materials that had either been discarded or had outgrown their original purpose.

2. Children’s Workshops

  • Puppets and Stories by Talking Turtles Storytellers
    Fun time with the glove buddies nonstop! With the aid of a puppet, storytelling was transformed into an amazing experience that exposed us to expressions and ideas that are completely alien to us. The silly or not so ridiculous part of you can be shown when you put your hand inside a puppet.
  • Astro-Voyage with National Council of Science Museum
    In the course of the Sky Observation programme, the telescopes were used to show the infinite observation experience  in the night sky.
  • Mulla Nasruddin and Ella + Bangla poetry readings of Sukumar Ray by Sampurna Chattarji
    Discovering the connection between Mulla Nasruddin, the legendary Sufi prankster, and two 13-year-olds named Shashank and Ela, as well as how writing can be therapeutic. Then, Bangla poetry by Sukumar Ray was read.
  • Origami Workshop for DAIS students
    Children in the second grade at Dhirubhai Ambani International School took part in a futuristic origami project directed by architect and artist Bobbie Vijayakkar.
  • The A to Z of Indian Cities by Rati Malaiya
    Kids were encouraged to appreciate our country’s vast diversity, which encompasses its geographic, cultural, gastronomic, and linguistic qualities, through a fun, interactive lesson that included games.

3. Theatre

  • Bullshit Jobs (English)
    When do you indulge in your passions? No doubt throughout your free time. Then, what occurs throughout the rest of the day? A satire about the growing amount of meaningless work that we all diligently complete every day. Few business professionals get locked in a lift with the lift operator. A heart-pounding drama about their decisions and lives then unfolds.
  • Star (Marathi)
    Star, age 21, is frantically looking for Nabha, a girl who received his brother’s heart as a transplant. Star has a strong sense that his sibling is still alive inside of her and that they can reunite. Numerous untold tales from Star’s prior existence slowly come to light when he meets Nabha. Along the journey, various misconceptions and unknown facts concerning organ donation are dispelled.
  •  Adhyaat Mee, Sadhyaat Tu, Madhyaat Ma, Kuni Naahi (Marathi)
    Two young men who were experiencing an existential crisis decided to rebel against the rules of the system and society. They encounter characters who represent the secrets of life. In addition to taking them from mythology to modern science, the adventure also takes them through the worlds of “Lust,” “Cruelty,” and “Power.” This is the “Chaos” recipe. Chaos also produces more chaos, as we can all imagine!
  • Amrita, Saahir, Imroz (Hindustani)
    Women can always find inspiration and honour in Amrita Pritam’s life and works. She is not just a Punjabi poet, and her writing has brought her renown beyond national boundaries. The drama centres on a facet of her that was influenced by the people that entered her life. Hindi, Marathi, Punjabi, and English are mixed together even though Marathi is the original language.
  • Kahani Junkasur Ki (Hindi)
    As you are aware, fast food is destroying our way of life. In a novel Edu-tainment structure, our skit tells the tale of Junkasur, an imaginary character who enjoys overindulging in food and is comparable to Bakasura, a mythological character from the Mahabharata. 

4. Cinema

  • The Human Factor by Rudradeep Bhattacharjee (English, Documentary)
    The amazing tale of the Lords, a Parsi family of pioneering musicians who played together for more than 60 years in Bombay’s film orchestras, is told in The Human Factor, but it is not just their story. It is also a significant yet unrecognised period in Indian movie history.
  • Panel Discussion
    Open discussion on how the harmful love ideals shown in Bollywood movies cause an issue that affects women’s safety and leads to horrible atrocities. The purpose is to raise awareness and provide a safe, open forum for challenging the assumption that harassment motivated by romantic interest is acceptable and has to be questioned jointly with the Mumbai Consulate of the United States.
  • Best of KASHISH – Indian Shorts Package (Fiction)
    Representation of LGBTQ+ People in Indian Web Series Indian online series have taken up the challenge by having outstanding representation of the spectrum in the web series and anthologies across all languages, whereas mainstream cinema still lag far behind in providing accurate and equitable depictions of the LGBTQ+ community.
  •  Chungking Express by Wong Kar Wai (Cantonese, Fiction)
    Two love-struck Hong Kong police officers discover that they are drawn to completely different types of women: Cop 223 has broken up with his five-year girlfriend, and he is now attracted to an enigmatic woman wearing a blonde wig. When Cop 663’s ex leaves his keys in a nearby cafe, a fresh female working the lunch counter captures his attention.
  • All that Breathes by Shaunak Sen (Hindi, Documentary)
    Two brothers rush to save a victim of the volatile times: the black kite, a majestic bird of prey vital to their city’s environment, as legions of birds fall from New Delhi’s darkening skies.

5. Dance

‘Together We Rise’
Celebrating 75 years of Indian Independence with our rich and diverse cultural heritage and our folk dance styles, presented by young Mumbai artists, is the Folk Dances of India with Open Forum for Principals.

Kathak workshop by Pandit Ram Mohan Maharaj
Pt. Ram Mohan Maharaj, the late legendary Padmashree Pt. Sambhu Maharaj’s son, was born into the elite Kalka Bindadin Gharana of Kathak. Senior students will learn technical aspects of Kathak such as Expressions, Tukde, Tihaai, Padant, Thumri, and Tarana in this class. New students learnt Footwork, Chakkars, Movements, etc. in the class.

‘Utkarsh’ by Ananya Parida and Rudraprasad Swain (Odissi)
The Bhubaneshwar artists’ performance illustrates the evolution of humanity, the passage of time, and the passage of life via the intricacies of Odissi music.

‘Shrinkhala’ by Pooja Pant Dance Company Kathak
This Mumbai-based dance company’s “Shrinkhala” ensemble performance highlights the contributions made by numerous generations of Kathak dancers. 

6. Music

Songs of Himalayas by Shantanu Moitra
Shantanu Moitra, a prominent music composer of notable movies including Parineeta, 3-Idiots, and Madras Cafe, conceptualised and oversaw the project. On his 100-day expedition over the Himalayas, Shantanu composed music along the way. He intersperses this musical performance with gripping tales and breathtaking mountain imagery.

Riatsu x Dario Klein
The Goethe-Institut, Mumbai’s residency programme actiRHYTHM is home to Dario Klein and Riatsu (Shadaab Kadri). Riatsu is a Bombay-born ambient electronic musician. Dario Klein is a well-known live performer, DJ, producer, and Ableton Live instructor.

A Band of Boys
A Band of Boys, the first and only boy band in India, marks its 21st anniversary in 2023. Members include Chin2 Bhosle, Karan Oberoi, Sherrin Varghese, Siddharth Haldipur, and Danny Fernandes. One of the most popular musicians of the Indipop era, responsible for songs like “Meri Neend,” “Gori,” “She Drives Me Crazy,” “Ishq,” “Nain Katari,” and others that reached the top of the charts. At KGAF 2023, a specially selected collection of their originals, including both classics and recent albums, were performed!

7. Heritage Walks 

From Sassoon to Sassoon – a heritage bus ride
Dr. Saul Sapir, a Baghdadi Indian Jew born in Bombay, led a tour through the city’s rich history with a focus on the Jewish history of the Baghdadi community in collaboration with Avid Learning, St+Art India Foundation, and the Israeli Consulate General in Mumbai.

Walking Through Your Neighbourhood
Nisha Nair, the creator of The People Place Project, led an ethno-mapping walk, which was later followed by a workshop and discussion that critically examined the findings from the walk and the “Walking City.”

Mumbai Aaj Kal
An exhibition organised at Khaki Lab to learn how Mumbai has developed over the past 100–150 years.

8. Food 

Irani Chai vs. Parsi Raspberry Chai and chat with Dr. Kurush Dalal

The legendary anthropologist and culinary expert Dr. Kurush Dalal spilled the beans conversing about Irani tea and plenty of everything about Parsi cuisine. Is it Irani, then? Delectables were savoured at Ideal Corner, as our favourite storyteller enlightened on the differences and captivate you with tales.

Cocktails for Dummies A tale and taste of cocktails with Blind Gilt

What does “shaken, not stirred” mean in 007’s martini preference? What precisely is a martini, then? Vinayak Singh of Blind Gilt walked us through the foundations of making beverages, who also shared the histories of several famous concoctions and let us sample some delectable beverages we can make at home.

Mezze Mazza Culinary workshop & tasting by Chef Efrat Dvir in association with The Consulate General of Israel

Do you like mezze? Have you developed a falafel fetish? Ever wished you could roll vine leaves like a pro? Then this was the perfect affair to learn from renowned Israeli chef Efrat Devir and sample some of her favourite salads, mezze, and main courses.

Is Indian Food Back… Again?

The most modest Indian food, khichdi, was once only served at home and to sick people. After then, it appeared on MasterChef US, became the star of a celebrated London restaurant, and is now referred to as an “Ayurvedic health dish.” Chef Varun Inamdar, Koli cook Sadhana Tai, and author Saee Koranne-Khandekar discussed: Is Indian food back…again? When our homey meals leave the kitchen for more glitzy surroundings. 

Anthropology of Food : In search of the lost foods of Bombay

East Indians, Pathare Prabhus, and Bhandaris are some of the oldest immigrants to the majestic city of Bombay. Why the most delectable cuisines of ancient Bombay aren’t consumed today baffles us. Dr Kurush Dalal, Rajan Jayakar and Yash Bhanage shared these and other musings with Roshni Bajaj Sanghvi. 

Concluding Remarks

The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival’s popularity may have inspired the organisation of several other arts and cultural events during that time of year, when Mumbai experiences chilly temperatures and early sundown. Kala Ghoda is a haven for talented artists. Artists, foodies, fashion designers, and fans of architecture throng to this area. The Kala Ghoda Association has contributed to the physical improvement of the area by renovating buildings and facades, putting in pedestrian-friendly street furniture, and upgrading amenities with the help of cash from The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival and donations from kind sponsors.

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