On a cool Sunday evening at Cross Maidan, patrons of the arts, led by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, came together to inaugurate the Hindustan Times Kala Ghoda Arts Festival.
Among those present as Fadnavis lit the ceremonial lamp were Nitin Chaudhry, business head of Hindustan Times, Mumbai; Shirin Bharucha, Brinda Miller and Maneck Davar of the Kala Ghoda Association; Ashish Shelar, city president of the Bharatiya Janata Party; and art scholar Saryu Doshi.
“This is the first time in the festival’s history that we have had the state’s chief minister present on stage,” said Maneck Davar, honorary chairperson of the Kala Ghoda Association. “This is also the first time we have partnered with a government initiative, Make in India. With over 450 events this year, we are proud to say that this is a festival for the people.”
Fadnavis, speaking after Davar’s introduction, said it was his honour to be at KGAF. “You, and by that I mean both the organisers and the audience assembled here, have made this festival a part of the fabric of the city,” the chief minister added.
“Usually, such festivals have a very limited focus. But at Kala Ghoda, the entire spectrum of Mumbai and its many residents is reflected.”
Commending the inclusion of the Make in India week, he added: “This is a celebration of India, Maharashtra and Mumbai.”
Among those present in the 800-strong audience was visual artist Tosha Gandhi, 27, who has been attending KGAF for three years. “Mumbai needs people to bring our artists together, and that’s what this festival is doing,” said the Jogeshwari resident.On stage, Chaudhry quipped: “We will not make you suffer our speeches. Rather, I wish you all a festive 10 days as you enjoy the Hindustan Times Kala Ghoda Arts Festival. With over half a million people expected, it is now one of the largest in the world. It’s all thanks to you all assembled here.”