Updated on: Saturday, February 01, 2020, 08:09 PM IST

Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2020: Crowdfunding shows the way

SHUBHANGI MISHRA learns how the KGAF team braved all odds to put up a ‘Unity in Diversity’ magnum opus
Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2019 |

Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2019 |


Kala Ghoda Arts Festival (KGAF) 2020 is one of the biggest arts and cultural festival of India. It is celebrated in Mumbai and people from all over the world come here to explore the various things that the festival has to offer. This free event is spread over a period of 9 days and has a wide array of attractions for the viewers to watch and participate in. Almost 500 different events take place during this period of KGAF 2020.

Festival Coordinator for this year, Nicole Mody says that while there is no overall common theme for the festival and each section has chosen their own theme to display their work, they all fit together beautifully under the umbrella of unity in diversity.

“Usually, it's visual arts that sort of leads the show. This year the visual arts theme is ‘thread’. Thread meaning bandhan, thread meaning unity, thread meaning ties that bind. And through that, the children’s section maybe chose dotted because ‘dotted’ is a circle that again symbolises unity and binding,” says Nicole Mody.

Differentiating this year’s festival from the rest, the 21st edition of the KGAF has invited people to raise funds for it through a crowdfunding platform. Festival organiser Kala Ghoda Association, has, for the first time, invited people across the country who have been a part of the festival over its 20-year heritage to help them bring it alive. Extending an invitation to all Mumbaikars, the initiative is a call for support to carry forward the festival’s legacy in preserving Mumbai’s cultural heritage. After being sponsored for the past 20 years, the association now seeks to bring in the public who have enjoyed editions of the Festival as stakeholders in this annual magnum opus.

The reason for this crowdfunding was financial constraints that the organisation was facing due to the bleak economy. As a result, traditionally the music finale that happens at the steps of The Asiatic Library has been replaced by a dance finale. However, Nicole says that amidst all this, the spirit of the team stands strong.

“Everyone has rallied. Production teams have rallied, even the people we approach for permissions, for licenses have also understood and are working together because Kala Ghoda has been around for 20 years. It's almost like a public service we do for the city,” says Nicole.

Talking about the work that goes behind the scenes, Nicole says her biggest challenge has been being available 24x7 for everyone. As the coordinator of a festival of this scale, her main job is coordinating with the various teams, their curators, artists and making sure that there is a method to the madness.

“It's a lot of coordination. I mean, information flow is very important because you're dealing with so many people and people from different places in their lives as well. So some people may have full time jobs and can only speak to after 8, 9 or 10 at night. I have had calls at 12 o'clock late night, talking about this art, this photography, etc!” she shares.

Apart from being a complete visual treat for the attendees, KGAF aims to preserve and refurbish the heritage arts district of Mumbai. Year after year, small scale entrepreneurs and local artisans have showcased their creativity through clothes, bags, shoes, home décor items and more. The stalls section provides a platform for lesser known Indian arts and crafts to shine. Many NGOs also come in collaboration to provide exposure to the traditional Indian crafts.

According to Nicole, other than the exposure these artisans get, it is a huge learning experience for them. Being a part of a festival that is 9 days long, there is quite a lot each participant learns and understands about their audience. She believes that the festival is a great space for test marketing as there is a wide range of people who attend the festival.

Finally, when asked what one must take back and gather from their experience at KGAF 2020, Nicole says, “We are as strong as we have ever been. Our commitment to Bombay (Mumbai) and to the art has not wavered and will not waver; we are as much a part of the city, as much as the city is a part of us.”

When: February 1-9, All day

WheRE: Kala Ghoda Area, Fort, South Mumbai


Various events happening at the festival-


Fiction from the City: Looking In Looking Out

WHAT: Rehana Munir, Jane Borges, Richa Mukherjee and Amrita Mahale in conversation with Indira Chandrasekhar.

WHEN: February 9, 7:40pm to 8:40pm


What's in a book: Watch a book Club in action

WHAT: One of the city's most committed book clubs, 'READERS' shares its passion for books and for reading.

WHEN: February 9, 8:45pm to 10:00pm



Maati Baani

WHAT: The brainchild of Kartik Shah and Nirali Kartik, MaatiBaani literally means the ‘language of Earth’. Their sounds focus on collective roots with elements of poetry to bring together folk fusion on one platform.

WHEN: February 6, 7:45pm to 8:35pm

WHERE: Cross Maidan, Mahatma Gandhi Road, New Marine Lines, Marine Lines

Melody Front

WHAT: Melody Front, an indie-fusion band, will perform old and new Hindi film songs with a mix of Hindustani Classical, Flamenco, Jazz and Electronic music elements.

WHEN: February 3, 6:15pm to 6:45pm

WHERE: Cross Maidan, Mahatma Gandhi Road, New Marine Lines, Marine Lines


Esplanade Road Heritage Walk

WHAT: Walk around what were once Fort walls that enclosed a town to see what came up when the walls came down

WHEN: February 3

WHERE: Esplanade Road

Nariman Lighthouse Heritage Walk

WHAT: What happened on the night of 26/11 at Nariman House? Hear stories of courage and sacrifice amidst the horrors and pay your respects to the martyrs and victims

WHEN: February 6

WHERE: Nariman Lighthouse


Legacies: Food

WHAT: Nicole Mody, Zeba Kohli, Saee Koranne Khandekar and Aman Khanna in conversation with Tara Deshpande.

WHEN: February 5, 5pm to 6pm

WHERE: David Sasson Library Garden

Kashmiri Khazana

WHAT: Learn traditional recipes that are cooked in Kashmiri households and understand the nuances of Kashmiri cuisine and its delicate flavours with Jasleen Marwah.

WHEN: February 8, 4pm to 6pm

WHERE: Fab Café, Kalaghoda

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Published on: Sunday, February 02, 2020, 07:00 AM IST