Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival

The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival was driven, in its initial years, by the visual arts crowd. The area's status as an arts precinct arose primarily from the many galleries around. With Chemould moving, Bodhi closing, the National Gallery of Modern Art comatose, and other dealers presumably faced with a cash crunch, the focus of the fest has changed. What installations there are seem to be sub-par. The shift away from art is a good thing. There's a substantial programme of Lit, film, theatre, dance and music to enjoy, and people are being drawn to it in unprecedented numbers. On my first visit on Sunday, Rampart Row was so jam packed, strolling casually from stall to stall was out of the question. In addition to the din, the diesel fumes from a dozen generators got to me after a while.
Most events of my interest take place in the David Sasson Library garden, site of the literature-related programme. I've attended a couple of good discussions, but they've been undercut by the sound of workers hammering away just across the road. If it's part of the Kala Ghoda committee's wonderful project to restore heritage monuments in the precinct, I wonder why they didn't shut it down for the duration of the event, or at least ask the labourers to move into the Elphinstone building.
I may have been extra-sensitive to the noise, and to the bowl of generic, over-chillied noodles I ate at All Stir Fry after listening to a panel on food writing, because I was on the verge of being hit by a fever. It has hit now.


Jasmine Shah Varma said...

What a bummer! The outside noise continued today as well. But there was jarring noise from the inside to compete it. You missed Biddu's performance of Aap Jaisa Koi!!
Get well soon.

Girish Shahane said...

Much better already, thanks Jasmine. Biddu must've been entertaining. They've really got a good line-up this year.