We walk down a small lane in Bandra’s Pali Village, and into a nondescript iron wrought gate. Sandwiched between popular eatery Candies and a salon is The Cuckoo Club, the suburb’s newest cultural space. Masons are painting the walls as we enter — and the place is being readied for its soft launch on January 4.
Its founders are Sharin Bhatti and Sudeep Nair, the duo that runs The Hive in Khar. “The Hive is an experimentation and multi-disciplinary meet up. We felt the need for a space to share experiences — that’s the primary concept behind what we do,” Nair says. With The Cuckoo Club, Bhatti and Nair are going a step further, and scaling up. “We realised we need a slightly bigger, more serious space, where we could hold curated events,” he says.
The space, previously a banquet hall, has been cut across two levels. The 1,500sqft ground level is just a bare room — a black box theatre — which means that the stage and seating will be moveable, and the lights and sounds will be flexible. The setup will change depending on the artists’ requirements. “We’ve left some parts of it bare so that when artists come and start using it, we can modify the space based on their feedback and usage. Some of them have started rehearsing here already,” Bhatti says. The venue will host everything from music gigs and plays to installations by visual artists. They hope to seat 80 to 100 people in the audience for a show.
A smaller adjoining room forms the waiting area. This room also has a loft partition, which can be accessed via a small ladder. There are plans to put out mattresses, stock up books and turn it into a mini library of sorts. As in The Hive, a co-working space will also be created within The Cuckoo Club eventually.
“When people walk in, we want them to be surprised by the layout,” Nair says. “We’ve been working on the space for three months. We’ve bootstrapped, without any sponsor support. The only support we’ve had is from artists and audiences.” While they’ve relied on the feedback of a few designers and architects, they have largely called the shots themselves.
On the upper level, the founders also hope to set up a cafeteria, and a small bar (something The Hive doesn’t have). It will also house a lab that will see hardware and software enthusiasts experiment with various projects. “We’re trying to promote the inventor culture. We’ll provide them with the tools to build — power drills, 3D printers, etc. Once the products are ready, they can demo it downstairs. So people can actually see, use, feel and experience them,” Bhatti says.
The overall programming calendar will include aerial silk dancing, and plenty of events related to magic and illusion. With this new venture, Bhatti and Nair are also making what they term their first serious commitment towards indie cinema. “Between The Hive and here, you will be able to watch a film every day, for the entire year. It will be a curated, independent theatre,” Nair says. From screening films by lesser-known directors to supporting Indian filmmakers, to hosting premieres of indie films, there are big plans for this space.
What: Improv workshop by Kaneez Surka
When: January 8: 4pm to 8pm; January 9: 10am to 7pm; January 10: 1pm to 5pm
Tickets: Rs 6,870 on insider.in
Where: The Cuckoo Club, Pali Hill Road, Next to Learner’s Academy, Bandra (W)