Kala Ghoda Arts Festival: The Black Horse Is Back – In All Its Glory

29 January 2014

The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival now in its 14th edition has changed – but for the better. At a first glance, there is no involvement from the Times of India (TOI) anymore. Core competitor Hindustan Times (HT) has acquired the mandate and we even have a theme - ‘Momentum’. The festival itself is definitely seeing movement… Secondly, we have a new addition– an architecture and urban extension segment that is seemingly in line with the festival theme. And lastly, this year’s edition is scheduled to take place a tad earlier (so as not to coincide with Valentine’s Day) from 1-9 February.

Then & Now

A decade ago, when Kathak exponent Uma Dogra performed at the festival, it was not at the Horniman Circle Gardens but at the Rampart Row where the steps of the amphitheatre were packed. We had to actually climb onto a tree and watch the danseuse perform.

Then, four years later - when Baycity Lights was still Something Relevant and vocalist Aazin Printer had not decided to take up filmmaking or go solo as Mr Printer - music performances were held at Rampart Row as opposed to Cross Maidan. I then had the pleasure of witnessing the famed Mallika Sarabhai and her troupe present their contemporary interpretations through dance as well as watching Susheela Raman enthusiastically belt out her unique fusion of Tamil-Rajasthani songs at Cross Maidan.

What I fail to understand this year is the inclusion of commercial cinema in the line-up – Raanjhanaa, The Smurfs, and Mickey Virus - which have all seen a multiplex release. What I so happily remember is catching Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood and Robert Wiene’s The Cabinet of Dr Caligari on those huge projectors under the vintage fans. If organisers had assumed that these films wouldn’t garner a crowd, then, I must say, they were highly mistaken.

Stalls have grown in number, crowds have doubled and commerce has infused its sensibilities with art to put together what one might call an enthralling presentation of culture in an art deco setting with a modernistic touch. And this year’s theme only about sums it up. Momentum – I agree.

Our Picks

February 2 – I have seen tabla maestro Anuradha Pal perform as an accompanist and I would strongly advise not to miss her
February 7 – Filter Coffee isn’t like any other fusion band. With a lovely touch of percussion to their rhythmic soundscape, this will be the perfect end to your evening.
February 8 – Both outfits performing on this day – Rakesh & Friends as well as Aman & Ayaan Ali Khan are masters of their craft. Though we would also tell you to give Rakesh Chaurasia’s troupe a try for their sheer element of surprise.
February 9 – Don't miss playback singer, songwriter and guitarist Nikhil D'Souza who will be followed with Farhan Akhtar’s live band.

February 2 – Jerry Pinto is best known for his sense of humour. He will be reading from his collection of fart stories at the Kitab Khana.
February 5 – Gulzar. You know very well he doesn’t make many public appearances so this will be a rare opportunity to catch the reticent poet read from his book 'Ali Baba'.

Visual Arts
Check out Gibson's GuitarART for Good at the Coomarswamy Hall created by Brinda Miller, Sunil Padwal, ArzanKhambatta, JaideepMehrotra, SeemaKohli, and PareshMaity. MadhushreeDutta’s cinema posters might also be worth a peek at the same venue.
More installations can be seen at Galley 7, Delhi Art Gallery, Artists Center, David Sassoon Library, NGMA, Amphitheatre, Westside, the Museum Garden, and the Ramapart Row.

February 2 – You won’t get the opportunity to watch Fearless Nadia so easily again. Go catch her in Diamond Queen
February 3 – Who doesn’t love Tom Hanks? You would be a fool to miss the Oscar nominated Captian Phillips. Also catch the critically acclaimed Shahid on the same day.
February 6 – Guru Dutt – this name captures all that there is to do with cinematography in India. Dutt was cynical, extremely creative and way ahead of his time. Don’t miss a documentary about him being screened at the Max Mueller Bhavan.
February 9 – The Lunchbox has won a Filmfare and Nawazuddin Siddiqui has won an award for his performance in the movie. Give it a go.

Kala Ghoda Arts Festival Website
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Words: Divya Naik


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