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Take to Mumbai’s streets in cheer

Local culture and folk arts were what it was all about

mumbai Updated: Feb 05, 2018 00:11 IST
Yesha Kotak
Visitors enjoy the installations at Kala Ghoda on Friday.
Visitors enjoy the installations at Kala Ghoda on Friday.(Satish Bate/HT)

The festive spirit was evident at Rampart Row on Sunday as the street came alive with a Koli parade, folk dance performances, handicraft stalls and revellers from across Mumbai and beyond, on Day 2 of the Hindustan Times Kala Ghoda Arts Festival.

Local culture and folk arts were what it was all about. Bahurupiyas, or impressionists from rural Gujarat and Rajasthan, plan to attend the fest daily, dressed up as different characters. On Sunday, they were wearing the costumes of a genie and that of Kachhi Ghodi — an Indian folk dance — performers .

“We have youngsters and experienced street artistes performing here,” said Varsha Karale, curator of the street section presented by Nerolac and powered by Valentine.

“The bahurupiyas take two hours to put on their make-up and transform themselves daily. Today, I am asking this genie to grant my wish — that the festival is a success,” she said.

A group of Kolis younger than 20 participated in the first-ever parade representing their community at the fest.“We want people to know about our deity Ekvira Aai. Not a lot of people know about our culture and traditions. This festival is a good platform for us,” said Sejal Mhaskar, a college student from Chembur who was part of the parade.

“Considering that this festival only comes around once a year — and that there is no other time in the city when one can experience all forms of arts in one place — it becomes a must-visit over the weekend,” said Keith Rodriguez, 30, a vlogger from Santacruz.

About 25 youngsters currently working as fellows with different departments of the Maharashtra government had set up a stall at the festival to promote tribal art.

Facilitated by Sahabhag, the state government’s social responsibility cell, it featured Warli art and products made from bamboo, papier-mâché and khadi by tribals from Jawhar, Dahanu and Chandrapur.“Initiatives like these will help provide employment to the tribal community,” said Priya Khan, officer on special duty to the CM.

It was these artefacts that captured the attention of the Bhuva family from Malad, who took a fancy to a deer head made of waste paper.“We’ve been visiting the Kala Ghoda festival for the past three years. We specifically look for traditional products made in villages, as we are unable to find them during the rest of the year. Last year, we found a stall selling torans made of discarded plastic bottles,” said Anuj Bhuva, 38.

From handloom saris from Nagpur to cotton kurtis from Jaipur, products made by Navy officers’ wives, stalls selling wacky T-shirts and paintings from Mysore, creativity was on full display at the festival.