After a great fortnight of revelry with music, dance, some great food, wine and literature, the Celebrate Bandra festival organised in partnership with the Hindustan Times, drew to a close at the Bandra Fort amphitheatre on Sunday evening.
The amphitheatre looked like all of Bandra, from the Goan grandmas to the suburb’s expat population, had been squeezed into it.
The closing ceremony was a great blend of all things that were part of the Celebrate Bandra experience this year and the audience was treated to performances by singers Anushka Manchanda, Dominique Cerejo, qawalis, Indian dances, a Michael Jackson tribute with a medley of five songs (including We Are The World, in keeping with the green theme) and a beat boxing performance.
Bandra residents and outsiders alike who had been part of the last festival in 2007 agreed that its quality had dramatically improved this year. “I enjoyed myself so much more than the last time! It’s better in every way.
The music, which was a large part of the festival, was a great mix of classical Indian and western folk. I especially loved the early morning Indian classical performances at the Bandra promenade,” said Bandra resident Doris D’Souza, 53.
“We raised the bar on all counts at the festival this year. The quality of all programmes we organised has been so much better and so many new venues were included this year as well,” said Neale Murray, festival director.
In fact, with the festival growing stronger than ever this year in its fourth helping, the spirit of Bandra, with its infectious joie de vivre, even managed to touch souls outside Mumbai.
“For a poems on Bandra competition that the festival had, we even received one entry from Kolkata! So Bandra has truly become a place where diverse people come together,” said Darryl D’Monte, festival convener.
And what a coming together it was. Spread out over two weeks, the festival saw over 400 performers converge with lots of live music, dance, stand up acts and finger licking food and wine tasting events.
The Bandra amphitheatre, a venue for many live performances during the festival was often packed to capacity with over 3,000 people in the audience.
All that attention it drew also made Celebrate Bandra a perfect time to drive home the ‘Go Green’ message that was its theme this year.
“The art installations made with refuse and placed outside their everyday settings made an impact. The refuse floating in the sea at Bandstand especially, puzzled many people and this is exactly the purpose that such art has. It makes you think of how you use and abuse these everyday objects,” said D’Monte.
The ‘Say no plastic bags’ campaign has also found a foothold thanks to the festival.
“We have managed to run a shop-to-shop campaign building support for alternatives to plastic bags. It’s going to take a long time to realise but Bandra has an active citizenry that could make the suburb plastic-free,” said Jayanti Shukla, joint treasurer, Celebrate Bandra Trust, who leads the Plastic Free Bandra movement.