9 Reasons To Attend The Kala Ghoda Festival in Mumbai

by Shalini Mimani
mumbai tourism

The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is a nine day long annual festival in the Kala Ghoda area of South Mumbai, that commences on the first Saturday of February and closes on the second Sunday of February, every year. Since its inception in 1999, people travel to Mumbai to attend and even participate in the Festival from all around the country, and even outside. The Kala Ghoda Association, a non-profit organization that aims to upgrade the Kala Ghoda sub-precinct in making it the Art District of Mumbai organizes this festival.

The festival turns 21 this year and is being held from 1stto 9thFeb, 2020. You’re lucky if you’re from the city, but if you aren’t, make sure you travel to Mumbai to attend the festival. Kala Ghoda transforms the already culturally soaked locality to a place rich with performances, art, food walks, leaving something to do for everybody. Mumbai, with its cobbled streets and beautiful architectural delights welcomes people into its fanciest locality, South Bombay. 

Without further ado let us tell you 9 reasons why you must travel to Mumbai to attend the Kala Ghoda Festival this year:

1. Culture

The festival brings to light a lot of cultural aspects. You explore and delve into the city’s rich heritage while walking past the General Post Office to discover what is said to be a dying tradition. The wonderful Flora Fountain, the vintage Irani cafés, the Gateway of India and the cool breeze around the Arabian sea, are some things to experience. You can also hop in for a heritage bus ride on the iconic Mumbai double-decker bus and explore the cultural and historical places further.

2. Talks

Blogger Roxanne Bamboat will walk you through the by-lanes of Kala Ghoda. You can attend the book launch of singer Usha Uthup’s biography. You can also check out Ullas Ki Naav or that of Kaifi Azmi’s birth centenary volume of poems. There’s more tributes to authors like Kiran Nagarkar and Girish Karnad which are certainly much awaited. The talks also include ‘Postcards from Bombay with Jerry Pinto’. Also, ‘India in the New World Disorder: The Economy, curated by James Brunner’ will be included.

You can even attend the panel discussion amongst Vikram Bawa, Mahabanoo Modi Kotwal, Antara Banerjee and Dr Kaizaad Kotwal. They’re talking about whether contemporary media is just about upgrading technology to make art into a series of digital exercises or if there is more to it. Since, sustainability and zero wastage of food is a concern that most chefs share, there is also a talk by chef Moina Oberoi and chef and mixologist Arina Suchde. Also, Sumit Gambhir, Director and Co-founder Neighborhood Hospitality and Monisha Narke will talk about waste management and how to incorporate these tips at home. There are also panel discussions from renowned personalities from the cinema world of both Bollywood films, and Oscar winning documentaries.

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3. Theatre 

You can witness theatre enthusiasts presenting interesting regional theatre dramas to showcase the journey of the art. The performances include Naukrani, a play in Gujarati starring veteran actor Rohini Hattangadi. Salim Ghouse will be performing his solo act, ‘Shakespearewallah’ in English. It revolves around an old actor and a dramatic reading of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. You can also watch short movies and documentaries if any.

4. Standup Comedy

Laughter is the best medicine! And what better an opportunity to tickle your funny bone than the amazing Kala Ghoda Festival. Be ready to laugh your hearts out and wait for those quirky punchlines. There are several stand-up comedy acts to attend which won’t disappoint you. From popular names like Kaneez Surka and Abish Mathew, to some younger players who will be holding fort, a lot is there to happen out front at the KGAF.

Kala Ghoda festival
Image source: Twitter

5. Music

Old Hindi music, jazz or hip hop and more, you can experience it all at the Kala Ghoda Festival. YouTube sensation and playback singer Jonita Gandhi will be performing with her band. She is known for hits like “The Breakup Song” from Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and “Sau Tarah Ke” from Dishoom. Shilpa Rao Jaslok, best known for her songs like “Ghungroo” and “Khuda Jaane”, will be representing Pink Concert for Cancer Awareness. She’s performing a specially curated ghazal set with her band. If you belong to the “old is gold” music club, relive the golden era with singer Mugdha Hasabnis. She will be paying a tribute to the nightingale of India, Lata Mangeshkar in her 90th year.

14-year-old Lydian Nadhaswaram’s who is a child prodigy and renowned internationally will be demonstrating his skills on the piano. 19-year-old singer-songwriter Karshni Nair will be giving a solo performance. Lovers of Hindustani classical music can soothe their ears experiencing a sitar recital by brothers Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash and get blown by witnessing a magical performance by ace percussionist Taufiq Qureshi.

Kala Ghoda festival
Image source: Flickr

6. Dance

Dance is not far behind in terms of diversity, and the festival depicts different art and cultures through stunning performances. From Bharatanatyam to folk dance, from hip-hop to even a confluence of Flamenco and Kathak, multiple genres of performances will be taking place.

One of the best dance teams in India, King’s Squad will be performing their amazing set. Renowned Kathak dancer, Aditi Mangaldas, will be mesmerizing everyone with her performace. The Luminario Ballet of Los Angeles will also be showcasing the dance journey of Contemporary Ballet, Broadway and Acrodance. 24 year old Tanya Saxena, will be performing to showcase the nine emotions or ‘navrasas’ of Bharatnatyam.

Kala Ghoda festival
Image source: wikimedia

7. Workshops

Well, the festival is not just about entertainment. If you’re a fan of learning, you can attend the wonderful workshops, Tracing the Myths and Stories that make Mumbai. Arundhuti Dasgupta, who is an author and writer at Business Standard is someone to watch out for. Then you have Utkarsh Patel, who is a mythologist, author and TEDx speaker, will be exploring the city’s diverse nature and migratory identity of deities through the workshop. There are lots of workshops to choose from so keep checking their list of events.

8. Art

Curated by Geeta Castelino, Ami Patel, Varsha Karale, and Sonal Motla, the Visual Arts section promises to be eye grabbing. Rupali Patole’s LIC winning entry ‘Over The Top Bachpan Baccho’ is an amazing artwork. It showcases the natural connection between God and man, and depicts the bringing back of innocence into today’s materialistic world.

You have Bhavna Sonawane’s Poetries in Modilipi conveys the deterioration of ancient languages and trees in the modern age. Another mind-tapping installation titled, ‘Swinging Forward A Lost Childhood’ is a reminder of lost times, far away from modern gadgets. The theme of the harmful effects of pollution caused by plastic has also found resonance with a number of artists. All these are brought out fantastically through the artwork and installations.

Kala Ghoda festival
Image source: wikimedia

9. Food

A fest without food is like Pizza without Cheese! The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival has more than just food for you. It has food sessions and demos from chefs that make your food even more interesting. You can participate in workshops dedicated to understanding spices or learning how to make nutritious meals anytime and anywhere. There is a plethora of cuisines from street food to fancy food to satisfy your taste buds.

Kala Ghoda festival

So what are you waiting for? Travel to Mumbai to attend this amazing festival. Hire a Scout to get a customised itinerary and to enjoy a more hassle-free trip by traveling confidently with their expert advice. 

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9 Reasons To Attend The Kala Ghoda Festival in Mumbai
Are you interested in music, art and food? The Kala Ghoda festival in Mumbai offers all this and more. Check out 9 amazing reasons to attend it this year!
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