AN INSIDER'S GUIDE TO THE KALA GHODA ARTS FESTIVAL
If the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival were a person, it would turn 20 today. That’s as old as a University student — a person old enough to vote and drive. I say this to drive home the measure of time that has passed, making KGAF India’s oldest festival. From a handful of venues in 1999 to over 30 venues today. From 20 programs in 1999 to over 500 programs across 15 sections in 2019. From an eclectic festival to a festival for the people, by the people, KGAF has come a long way. And in its 20th edition, it’s showing no signs of slowing down.
Editor’s Note: The festival runs from February 2 to 10, 2019. Kindly check the festival website to confirm event times, which are subject to change.
Venue: David Sassoon Library Gardens
The Bombay Plan, Sunday Feb 3, 6:45 pm to 7:55 pm
The Bombay Plan was the name given to a set of proposals made in 1944 by leading industrialists of the time — including Jamshedji Tata, Ghanshyam Birla, and Ardeshir Shroff — that detailed the post-Independence economic development for the country. Lord Meghnad Desai, Sanjaya Baru and R. Gopalakrishnan will speak on this unique plan for development in India.
Gandhi Between the Wars, Tuesday Feb 5, 5:10 pm to 6:10 pm
As KGAF commemorates 20 years, we also pay tribute to the Mahatma on the occasion of his 150th birth anniversary, with Srinath Raghavan expounding on the American interest in Gandhi between WWI and WWII.
And Justice for More – Section 377, Saturday Feb 9, 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm
Justice Chandrachud, known for his momentous and eloquently written judgement on Section 377, discusses the implications of Section 377 and the power of the Indian Constitution in safeguarding society.
Venue: CSMVS Lawns
Ooey Gooey by Nutty Scientist, Sunday Feb 10, 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm
If your kid is nuts about slime, bring them to this hands-on workshop where they can get down and dirty making slime, conduct fantastic experiments, and maybe even make some toothpaste while they’re at it! If you as a parent are cringing, remember: Daag Achhe Hain.
Know Your Art presents SH Raza, Sunday Feb 10, 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Since you’ve already managed to drag the kids out, it’s a great opportunity for them to learn about one of India’s foremost artists SH Raza, using concepts of math, geometry, shape, and colour to create their own unique masterpiece.
Venue: Various (see below)
Hamid, Saturday 2 Feb, 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm, Coomaraswamy Hall, CSMVS
Catch the public premiere of Hamid, the heart-wrenching story of a Kashmiri boy who tries to call Allah on the number 786 after his mother tells him that his father is now with God. The screening will be followed by an interaction with the cast and crew of the film.
Zoo, Sunday 3 Feb, 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, Coomaraswamy Hall, CSMVS
Shot entirely on an iPhone 6, Zoo is a dark, edgy film that is a must-watch for every film buff. And if you’re an aspiring filmmaker, you should stick around for director Shlok Sharma’s talk on mobile filmmaking.
Actor in Law, Sunday 3 Feb, 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm, Visitor Centre, CSMVS
Actor in Law, made in Pakistan, is veteran actor Om Puri’s last film before his death. After the screening, his wife, Nandita Puri, will look back on the stalwart’s decades-long career.
Venue: The food section at KGAF this year has moved from stalls vending food to restaurants dishing out a special KGAF menu. From Woodside Inn to Burma Burma, 31 restaurants will partner with the festival to ensure no one goes hungry!
Irani Chai!, Saturday, Feb 9, 9:30 am onwards
If you want to whet your appetite before you gorge, register for Irani Chai! a culinary walk curated by Roxanne Bamboat that will take you on a deep-dive into the Irani cafés in the area. Want more? The walk will end at Coomaraswamy Hall where you can catch the screening of The Last Irani Chai, a filmy ode to Mumbai’s iconic cafes.
KGAF has become a pilgrimage of sorts over the years with people from across the country making their way to its hallowed grounds and taking from this the heritage walks this year will all culminate on the main festival street!
Get your walking shoes and get set to explore Mumbai like never before. From Dockyard Road to Dalal Street and Hutatma Chowk to Oval Maidan, the stories on each corner of this city are waiting to be discovered.
Venue: Various (see below)
Sounds of Vrindavan, Monday Feb 4, 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm, Cross Maidan
Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia will banish all Monday blues as he performs with the students of his Gurukul.
Apache Indian, Saturday Feb 9, 7:55 pm to 8:35 pm, Asiatic Steps / Shaan, Sunday Feb 10, 8:15 pm to 9:45 pm, Asiatic Steps
If you’re a ’90s kid from India, these two names are sure to evoke nostalgia and memories of the Golden Age of pop in India. We all danced to Love-o-logy and Chok There, and it’s time to dust off your dancing shoes from two decades ago and relive the glory of Indian pop music.
Venue: Various (see below)
One of KGAF’s most underrated but most engaging section, the workshops are always somewhere you should visit to complete your festival pilgrimage.
Monday Feb 4, 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm, Somaiya Centre
If you’re stressed and need a breather go learn the original art of t’ai chi.
Wednesday 6 Feb, 11:30 am to 1:30 pm, Artists’ Centre
Looking to be the next TEDx speaker? Get some tips from Siji Varghese as he shares insights on how you can be the next one up there.
Thursday Feb 7, 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm, Artists’ Centre
Get a slice of the drone pie as Gaurav Singh teaches you how to make your own drone. Then you can plan how to build your own drone army and take over the world.
Sunday, Feb 10, 11:30 am to 1:30 pm, Artists’ Centre
If you’re looking to expand your sensory capabilities, learn to create your own piece of art while being blindfolded and, in the process, how to value the use of all your senses.
Feature photograph courtesy the Kala Ghoda Association