Text and Photographs by
Natalie Pedder Bajaj
All roads led to South Mumbai, as the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival’s week-long carnival of literature, theatre, dance, music, films and visual art, saw Mumbaites throng downtown to partake in activities that ranged from rock concerts, literary workshops, culinary classes, heritage walks and even a treasure hunt for kids!
The festival held every Feb since 1999 is a fun filled fiesta that aptly reflects the life and times of the city. The pavement installations and kitschy art were not only fascinating to look at, but had local flavour woven into them as well – like the giant pyramid of ‘cutting chai’ glasses that echoes our penchant for tea or the black sculptured crows strewn around that did not look one bit out of place! Even the ‘Noise Pollution’ ears conveyed the sound assault we have to deal with everyday.
Interestingly, dustbins were scattered around that encouraged one to throw away their doubts and fears (only wish there was a pad and pencil available for us to actually do so). The ‘Smoking is Injurious to Health’ installation really hit home with cigarette butts stubbed out in an ashtray of human bones (yuck!).
The most buzz was around Rampart Row as the road was lined with eclectic street shops and food stalls selling nibbles from popular restaurants around the area. Whether you wanted to browse the art shops, gawk at the over-the-top installations or simply nosh on some spicy chaat, Kala Ghoda had all the bells and whistles.
Renowned santoor Maestro Pandit Satish Vyas , pop rock band The Other People, Austrian music composer and drummer Lukas Ligeti, Ali Zafar and bollywood biggies Vishal and Shekhar were some of the musical acts that performed at the Cross Maidan Garden and the Asiatic Steps.