Your favourite cultural fest is back, and it’s even bigger and better.
This year’s Hindustan Times Kala Ghoda Arts Festival will have more giant art installations, a more diverse mix of themes in the dance, drama and music sections, and even an extended timeline.
In addition to the nine-day festival, from February 6 to 14, there will be a three-day Make in India cultural fest at Cross Maidan, being organised by the Kala Ghoda Association.
So, whether you’re crazy for selfies or a heritage hog, it’s time to join the rest of the city and head to the art district.
The theme this year is Crossing the Threshold. The music and dance sections are interpreting this as a celebration of fusion, while the uber-popular visual arts section — responsible for those quirky and vibrant giant public art installations — is giving its artists the freedom to represent the theme through everything from colours and textures to symbols of unity.
“We have twice the number of installations this year, and the ‘venue’ has grown from Rampart Row and the parking lot to including part of Cross Maidan and key traffic islands through the city,” says Tarana Khubchandani, curator of the visual arts section.
In addition to browsing, buying, exploring, eating and taking selfies, you can expect to swap books through one such massive installation at the David Sassoon library, or be wowed by the likes of flautist Hariprasad Chaurasia and singer Shubha Mudgal at Cross Maidan.
In a first, two Kala Ghoda-inspired books are set to be launched at the fest too — Flavours of Kala Ghoda by Nicole Mody, featuring iconic recipes from 17 local restaurants, including the bhut jolokia chicken burger recipe from Woodside Inn; and Kala Ghoda: Celebrating Mumbai’s Art District, edited by restoration architect Abha Narain Lambah, which will shine a spotlight on the area’s architecture, restoration and relevance.
Kids can expect a slew of interactive readings and special performances, nature-themed art and craft activities and creative workshops. There’ll even be renowned sculptor Arzan Khambatta and painter Sunil Padwal conducting a session on making art from waste material such as styrofoam plates and plastic cutlery.
“There’s nothing quite like the audience of Mumbai, which enjoys culture, food, spaces and a festive atmosphere with a unique kind of zest,” says KGAF director Brinda Miller. “Every kind of programming has an audience here. There will be some attending a Rabindra Sangeet performance and others at an Ayushmann Khurrana gig or maybe even attending both with equal fervour. At Kala Ghoda, I don’t think anybody feels inhibited. Even the people putting the festival together, especially the volunteers, return every year happy to just help in any way they can.”