Friday, February 10, 2006
The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival and the LIC Golden Jubilee Exhibition.
LIC is celebrating its Golden Anniversary this entire year, and has planned an elborate annual schedule for the world to sit up and take notice. As part of this, an exhibition has been organised at NCPA wherein the development of LIC as the leading insurer in India has been highlighted. It also involves a LASER show depicting the expanse of LIC all over the world. The display has images of the LIC policy held by Mahatma Gandhi, witnessed by C Rajagopalachari and Sri Pyarelal. Also the current standing of LIC in the Insurance market is well brought up. The exhibition is worth a dekko and if you are lucky, you may also stand a chance to win some prizes by participating in a quiz about LIC. College students can flash their IDs and win chocolate hampers. I have already been there yesterday, when I went to visit the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, Mumbai.
Yes, finally Ninad can rest now. I have commented enough on his views of the various festivals that Mumbai is enjoying, and now I express my own here. As we all know by now, The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is now on at 'some' places in Mumbai. (If you don't know it, well its your fault, dear Mumbaikar). Ninad strongly feels that the festival is just another chance for the 'celebrities' to party. But, one visit to the festival and you realize that these views are, well, baseless to say the least. Though I completely agree that a large proportion of the crowd was 'elitist' (which I am sure, Ninad took for granted), the presentation and the look of the Festival was not at all intended to be so. And you could find many middle-class families and loads of collegians too. So the first thing is, the festival is not organised from the point of view of catering to the interests of only a section of the society, it is open for all who care to be a part of it.
This is no place to critique a festival, but since I have started, I will elaborate a bit. The artifacts on display were worth a look. And whats more, they weren't too heavy on the pocket too. Mugs, Plates, Wall-hangings and books, all encompassing the spirit of Mumbai. The Bambaiyya lingo was everywhere: Bole Toh, Jhakkas, Bhidu and the other cliched entrants into the spoken language of a typical Mumbaikar. There were kids all over the place. A group of kids from a children's home had also come. The place was all fun and high-spirited, which only stresses on the fact that Mumbai needs festivals like these to keep up its reputation as a melting pot of different cultures and people. Although you cannot expect the 'Kala Ghoda' Festival to be held at any place, but Kala Ghoda itself, you can hope that atleast the Mumbai Festival covers a larger part of Mumbai.
I noticed one thing though, that would please Ninad and hurt him as well. A recently launched book on display, 'Above Bombay', depicting aerial views of Mumbai by Jehangir Sorabjee is the point of contention. First of all, I do not percieve a rationally strong reason for some one publishing a book on current Mumbai, to name it 'Above Bombay' and not 'Above Mumbai'. Secondly, I noticed something that I always discuss with Ninad. As I finished looking at the pictures, there was a text which went something like, 'And the city ends here...'. You know what the last part of the city is, supposedly some place by the name 'Versova' . Disturbing isn't it? Yes it is. Do they not consider the farther suburbs as being part of Mumbai? Isn't Gorai Beach comparable or rather, more serene than the Juhu Chowpatty. Isn't the National Park in Mumbai? Many questions crossed my mind and I couldn't read further, as someone standing near me took the book from my hand and starting gazing at Rajabai Tower, Churchgate station, Chowpatty and other locales of Mumbai. I left, wondering who the photographer really is and did I mis-read any of text that appeared. Anyone with more information, please correct me if I am wrong.
Then after roaming around the Jehangir Art Gallery, David Sassoon Library, Westside and Globus I again visited some stalls that were a part of the Festival. Again I felt the same, this is not for the elitists only, it is just that we tend to think this way and look at such efforts as money spinners for the organisers that we do not feel like going to these places by travelling cross city in heavy rush. However,I definitely hope that the Mumbai Festival organising committee takes notice of dissatisfied souls as Ninad's and furthers the expanse of the Festival to truly cover the ends of Mumbai - The City and The Suburbs alike!