Whats in the future ?

The Annual Kala Ghoda Art Festival is something that I eagerly wait for each year (along with the Annual Bird Race), and this year was no different. As usual, the festival didn’t disappoint for the sheer diversity of artwork on display. The artwork varied from the bizarre to the beautiful. A common thread across most of the installations seemed to be threats to our environment – be it garbage, water scarcity or global warming.

As soon as you entered the festival area, you were greeted by a huge statue of a black horse on a pedestal. Around the black horse were life-size (I think) replicas of a menagerie of animals ranging from lions, tigers, cheetahs, elephants to zebras and even a giraffe. The same parking lot area had installations educating children on saving water, and an Eiffel tower that seemed decorated by LED lights. The night time saw the Eiffel tower come alive with lights accompanied by a dazzling display of lights in the vicinity. The rest of the exhibitions were along Rampart row and included a wonderful chalk painting of a horse breaking out of the road, a huge wishing bell and other miscellaneous exhibits. There were also a large number of photographs by various photographers from the city on display.

I went there on both Saturday and Sunday and the first thing that hit me was the crowds. The place was crowded even before the Festival was formally inaugurated. There were people milling around everywhere, crowding around the exhibits, posing for photographs with the exhibits etc. I have been a regular at previous editions of the festival since 2005, and this is the first time I have seen crowds of this magnitude at the festival.

On Saturday, I was supposed to meet up with some pals from college and since I reached a bit early, I decided to head out for one of the Heritage walks. The walk took us into the University Campus and included a visit to the convocation hall and the library. The convocation hall was breathtakingly beautiful, with some really fabulous stained glass panels adorning the windows. The buildings were an excellent example of the Bombay gothic architectural style, and were wonderfully adorned with intricate sculptures and artwork. It was a pity that photography wasn’t allowed in there; otherwise it would have been a great place to shoot in.

The CatAfter the walk I met up with one of pals and we went towards the amphitheatre. Unlike last year, all photographers weren’t allowed in the enclosure, and the crowds made it impossible to shoot from outside (unless you were early enough), so we decided to give the events a miss. After much hunting around, I finally met up with my friends from college (Gargi, Tarvinder and others) and clicked a few pictures before heading back home.

Sunday was pretty much the same, with the crowds making it difficult to shoot the performances, unless you were early enough. So I was reduced to shooting some of the older buildings in the vicinity and also trying my hand at candid street photography. I did however manage to get a few pictures of the author Chetan Bhagat, at his keynote Kala Ghoda lecture. And among other things a cat  decided I was its new best pal. It almost didn’t leave my side :)

So far Kala Ghoda has definitely shown a lot of promise, however the crowds and the somewhat photographer unfriendly rules have made it a bit difficult to get the kind of pictures that I wanted. I hope to catch the premiere of Sunshine Boys on Thursday at the festival as well as hope to salvage some more pictures on the last two days. If you plan to drop by then, do give me a shout out on twitter.

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