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Mumbai's Best Art And Culture Events In Summer 2014
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Mumbai's Best Art And Culture Events In Summer 2014

Picture of Anete Jekabsone
Updated: 7 October 2016
Despite the heat and heavy rains brought by the monsoon season, Mumbai, often dubbed the cultural capital of India, has a lot to offer this summer. From modern art exhibitions to stand-up comedy sketches, from traditional Hindu festivities to contemporary theatre, from classical Hindustani music concerts to the latest trends at the consumer lifestyles, Mumbai caters to every artistic and cultural whim.


Taking a line for a walk, Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation

18 February – 31 August

The exhibition Taking a line for a walk in Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Museum showcases 45 excellent drawings by acclaimed modern Indian artists, including Tyeb Mehta, Akbar Padamsee, Manjit Bawa, Sudhir Patwardhan and Laxman Shreshta among others. The exhibition aims to reclaim the spotlight for the art of drawing, often outshone by diverse modern art forms, and underlining its significance as an art form in itself despite common perception of drawing as a reference sketch or preliminary draft for ‘real’ painting. Curated by the Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation, established in 2001 to take care of one of the largest private collections of modern and contemporary Indian art, the exhibition will run until the end of summer.



National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) summer exhibitions


The upcoming exhibitions at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) in Mumbai will showcase artworks of diverse artists such as Amrita Sher-Gil, Kulwant Rai and Rahul Mehrotra, as well as the best pieces from the Air India collection. Opened to the public in 1996, the bright semicircular galleries of the NGMA Mumbai regularly host exhibitions of contemporary and modern Indian and international artists. The exhibition of the artworks by Amrita Sher-Gil, also known as India’s Frida Kahlo, is particularly not to be missed, as the NGMA holds over 100 of her paintings. Currently most expensive female painter in India, this enigmatic artist throughout her mysterious life and sudden death at age of 28 has captured imagination and influenced generations of modern Indian artists.



Comedy Festival – Cheer!


Established only two years ago, the three-day comedy festival “Cheer!” is a long-awaited event on Mumbai’s stand-up comedy scene. The festival will feature new comic plays, witty sketches and diverse stand-up shows, as well as carry out various practice workshops on how to perform and write stand-up comedy, aimed at beginner comedians and anyone interested in the stand-up comedy or improvisation theatre. Bringing together talented actors, directors, writers and comedians from all over Mumbai, the festival aims to promote the emerging Indian stand-up comedy scene, celebrate its comedians and simply spread wit, joy and laughter. The line-up will be announced shortly.

National Centre of Performing Arts, NCPA Marg, Nariman Point, Mumbai, India, +91 022 2282 4567


Bandish – Indian Music Festival of Legendary Indian Composers


The annual Indian classical music festival celebrates the composers, poets and performers of the traditional form of Hindustani traditional composition known as bandish. Roughly translated as “binding together”, bandish revolves around a fixed rhythmical and melodic composition, often accompanied by poetic verses. Following the oral tradition of passing on the compositions generation to generation, there are no written notations, and each performance relies on a singer’s skill and interpretation. Founded in 2010, ‘Bandish: The Festival of Legendary Composers’ invites celebrated musicians and singers to perform the works of renowned composers and poets such as Mirza Ghalib and Faiz Ahmad Faiz.

National Centre of Performing Arts, NCPA Marg, Nariman Point, Mumbai, India, +91 022 2282 4567


Courtesy of NCPA


Celebrating Vivaha

25 – 27 July

Celebrating Vivaha is one of India’s largest consumer wedding and lifestyle exhibitions. Started in 2003 by the House of Vintage, a publisher of one of the India’s most popular wedding magazines, the exhibition showcases the latest wedding trends. This encompasses every tiny aspect of the huge enterprise which is an Indian wedding, from precious jewellery to magnificent bridal gowns, through exotic honeymoon destinations to reputed astrology and numerology experts. The exhibition attracts eminent wedding industry professionals and large numbers of grooms and brides-to-be. The traditional Indian wedding can last for days, welcoming from 100 to a jaw-dropping 10,000 guests. As much as the wedding celebrates a young couple, it also honours the newly founded bond between two families and serves as confirmation of social standing. Thus, the exhibition provides an exciting insight in particularities of local wedding traditions.

JV Marriot Hotel, Juhu Tara Rd, Juhu, Mumbai India, +91 11 26854070


Pratibimb Marathi Natya Utsav


Pratibimb Marathi Natya Utsav is a recent addition to vibrant theatre scene in Mumbai. Started in 2010 by the National Centre of Performing Arts, this experimental theatre festival aims to showcase and promote the best of contemporary Marathi theatre. The festival deliberately covers wide ranging themes, as well as different theatre forms, with revived and completely new plays, ranging from one-act light-hearted comedies to engaging murder-mysteries, experimental tragedies, musicals and social dramas. Each performance is usually followed by a discussion between the actors and the audience in order to enhance better understanding of the contemporary Marathi theatre scene.

National Centre of Performing Arts, NCPA Marg, Nariman Point, Mumbai, India, +91 022 2282 4567


Coconut Day

10 August

Coconut Day, also known as Nariel Purnima, marks the end of monsoons and the start of a new fishing season. On this day, Mumbai fishing communities worship Samudra, God of Sea, and Varuna Deva, God of Rain, by painting and decorating their boats with flower garlands, releasing small floating oil lamps onto the water and offering coconuts, considered the purest of offerings, to the sea. In doing so, the fishermen pray for the successful fishing season and protection from any misfortunes. The processions are accompanied by chanting and dancing, and a celebratory meal of sweet coconut rice is often prepared in the households.

This event will be held in various locations across Mumbai


Malhar Festival


Malhar Festival is one of the largest and oldest inter-college festivals in India. Held annually on the grounds of St. Xavier’s college since 1979, the three-day long festival is famous for showcasing the talent of emerging artists in fine arts, literature, theatre and music. The festivities include various workshops, seminars, talks and contests, last year attracting up to 30,000 people. Incorporating elements such as dance performance, contemporary art exhibitions, classical Indian music concerts, beat-boxing competitions, creative writing workshops and stand-up comedy shows, the Malhar Festival indulges every artistic and cultural whim, while maintaining a light and fun atmosphere.



17-18 August

Janmashtami, also known as Dahi Handi, is a popular annual festival marking the birth of Lord Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu and the symbol of love and divine joy. As part of the colourful celebrations, many clay pots filled with buttermilk, known as handi, are positioned at considerable height all around the city. Groups of young people, called Govinda Pathaks, then compete with each other by forming impressive human pyramids in order to reach and break the pot. Although traditionally breaking the pot and spilling the buttermilk as a symbol of shared achievement through unity was an end goal in itself, nowadays, hefty prize moneys are often offered to handi breakers, and many groups tour the city trying to break as many handi as possible.

This event will be held in various locations across Mumbai


Ganesh Chaturthi

29 August – 8 September

Ganesh Chaturthi, a ten day long Hindu festival of the birth of Lord Ganesh, is widely celebrated all over India and abroad, but nowhere else they reach such heights and spectacular proportions as in Mumbai. Weeks and even months prior to the festival, local artisans make beautifully decorated clay idols of Lord Ganesh in various shapes and sizes. Whilst the smaller figurines are reverently worshipped at home through prayers and devotional songs, the biggest statues, known as Ganesh mandals, are installed in public spaces. The local communities consider having the biggest and most elaborate mandal a matter of pride, thus creating a fierce competition between the artists. The best Ganesh mandals can reach up to 30 metres high and are decorated with lighting, mirrors and flowers. The celebration reaches its peak on the eleventh day, when thousands of processions, accompanied by drums, devotional singing and dancing, carry the idols to the seaside to be immersed in the water.

This event will be held in various locations across Mumbai