A dentist, a legendary dancer, a performer from as far away as Toronto — these are some of the first-timers you can expect to engage with at the bouquet of events that make up the HT Kala Ghoda Arts Festival.
Dr Sandesh Mayekar is conducting a workshop on dental health, because “it is the most neglected area”, he says.
Veteran Bharatanatyam dancer Sudha Chandran has performed a routine depicting the deities Kali and Durga.
Toronto-based Odissi dancer Enakshi Sinha, Kathak performer Keka Sinha and London-based drummer Sachin Torne are also coming together for the first time, to perform a Shiv Tandava routine that incorporates live chanting of shlokas in the background.
“It’s great to be back home and performing on such a big platform. It makes me want to keep coming back,” Enakshi said.
“The festival means a lot for every Mumbaiite and participating in it gives me a sense of fulfilment,” added Chandran. “It is great to see art and culture being appreciated.”
Danseuse Anita Ratnam from Chennai is a frequent visitor to the city but this is her first time as a participant too.
Presenting a neo-classical mix of contemporary dance and Bharatanatyam, Ratnam says performing at the fest is important to her because it signifies urban revival.
“In a city where there’s hardly any breathing space between the residential and commercial zones, the festival is a big break and is a levelling platform. I’m here to take the energy of the crowd and share it back with them,” she adds.
War journalist and writer Nikhil Chandwani conducted a film-script writing workshop, there was a weaving demonstration and a tie-and-dye workshop that took place for the first time too.
Curator for heritage walks, Kruti Garg, says that the section this year has installed an artwork titled Inner Reflections, reflecting the viewer in a silhouette of heritage structures of the city.
There is also a Poetry in Motion session where poet Arun Kolatkar’s Kala Ghoda series of poems will be enacted during a heritage walk.
If you’re just strolling along Rampart Row, check out first-time stalls that are offering customised plates made from recycled aluminium, applique clothes for children and intricate artwork on home décor products.
Borivli resident Amita Gada came with her 3-year-old daughter to instil in her a sense of belonging to the city. “This is my first time and I will ensure that I bring my kids every year because this is one platform where the city comes together and this is what the city is about.”