A class act: Expect a chapter full of drama and fun in Mumbai

With 70 plays, authors Jeet Thayil and Kiran Nagarkar and sets by Anu Menon and Rohan Joshi, the festival is set to be a class act

mumbai Updated: Feb 03, 2018 12:56 IST
Yesha Kotak
Yesha Kotak
Hindustan Times
mumbai news,kalaghoda arts festival,kala ghoda
A walk on poetry at David Sassoon Library last year. (HT File )

Why did the bookworm cross the road? Because there was stand-up on the other side! This year’s literature, comedy and theatre line-ups at the Hindustan Times Kala Ghoda Arts Festival offer an engaging mix of events and artistes.

“The theatre section will see 70 plays staged by experimental, amateur and seasoned artistes, in Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati and English, up from 54 last year,” says section curator Juuhi Babbar Sonii. “There will also be workshops, readings and one-woman acts.”

Expect humour and pathos, tales of struggling middle-class families, alienated young migrants, and character who don’t even realise they’re being fools!

In a an off-beat play called Spot On, Makarand Deshpande will play a scientist who goes on strike, and must battle the consequences for him and his family. The literature section will explore translations, and connections between literature and Hindi cinema, literature as folk tradition, and regional-language literature. The Commonwealth prize-winning Keki Daruwalla and poet and cultural theorist Ranjit Hoskote will launch their new books; authors Jeet Thayil and Kiran Nagarkar will launch theirs.

Attendees will turn performers, and much-awaited performers will return, as Hope Street Poets sees people read out their own verse. These will include the renowned Adil Jussawala, Sampurna Chattarji and Barnali Ray Shukla, and first-timers such as Smita Sahay, who has moderated events but never performed. “Hope Street has been a must-attend every year for me because that is where all the poets congregate,” Sahay says. “This year I will be reading a feminist piece from my anthology, Veils, Halos and Shackles.”

The stand-up comedy section will feature performances by Dhruv Deshpande, Anu Menon (aka Lola Kutty) and Anirban Dasgupta. “Of the four days of stand-up comedy events, one day is dedicated to women and has an all-woman line-up,” says stand-up section curator Jeeya Sethi. “Of the 40 comics, about 15 are females. At the events, you will come across popular faces such as Rohan Joshi, and up-and-coming stand-up comics such as Unnati Marfatia, Dhaval Datar and Aishwarya Mohanraj.” Among those making the transition from attendee to performer is Navin Noronha, 26, who has been visiting the festival every year for a decade. “I’ve spent so much time in the audience all these years that I think I now know what people expect and enjoy and I’ve prepared content accordingly,” he says. “I’m really excited about performing here because Kala Ghoda has that flavor of street but raises even stand-up to the level of art.”

First Published: Feb 01, 2018 13:21 IST