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Say Guten Tag to Mumbai

It promises to be ten days of fun, entertainment and an opportunity to learn about the multi-layered landscape of Germany. With curious, quirky additions including a beer garden, Hip-Hop and graffiti artists from Germany as well as German bands in performance, the Mela hopes to give Mumbaikars a better understanding of Germany. The Urban Mela, which starts today, has been organised as part of the Germany and India 2011-2012: Infinite Opportunities most importantly to celebrate the strong ties between the two countries.


The Street theatre group Grotest Maru will be performing over the weekend

Enter Deutschland
Apart from a beer garden, which will serve several German delicacies, the Mela, set up at Cross Maidan will have 15 pavilions with exhibitions on liveable cities. The pavilions combine state of the art technologies from both the countries. The Mela, which has been organised in collaboration with the Max Mueller Bhavan, had organisers on their toes for months together, with preparations for it having begun last year. “When we developed the events for the Urban Mela, we first discussed possible programmes and performances with our friends and partners of the Max Mueller Bhavan in Mumbai,” informs Dr Marla Stukenberg, director, Max Mueller Bhavan. Talking about the upcoming events, she adds, “Many collaborations developed quite naturally since cultural bonds between many artists and performers from both countries already existed.

However, we are glad we are hosting some ‘new faces’ as well, which will help create a basis for further cultural co-operation between India and Germany.”
This Saturday listen to German performers, the Schal Sick Brass Band whose tunes are a combination of Balkans, Afro beats, oriental groove, Scandinavian themes and Jazz. Also, don’t miss stilt walkers who will perform a fairy tale parade this weekend. “It is called Parada Narrnia, and is a fairytale story of a travelling court, which has lost its queen and is looking for her all over the world,” explains Ursula Maria Berzborn, artistic director of Grotest Maru, the street theatre group, which is performing in India for the first time. She explains that the performance is partly interactive and the artistic intention is to get in contact with the audience not through talking, but through body language and on an emotional level. “We are looking forward to connecting, artistically, with Mumbai’s audiences,” she shares.

The mela will also feature a photography exhibition titled Berlin-Mumbai by Aneesh Bhasin and an event called Pecha Kucha which is a fun gathering where creative people get together for one of the world’s most popular design events. Key in to Indo-German Hip- Hop, look up the Urban Art Project, a B-Boy competition and a Book Design Exhibition, along with book readings, and a host of other events.

Two nation-connect
“The Indo-German Urban Mela addresses relevant urban transformation processes in India. Our Mela provides glimpses into urban architecture, education and urban art, science, education, technology and business that all play a crucial role in shaping the future of city spaces,” says Stukenberg. “We are convinced that the Mela will strengthen Indo-German ties. Both countries are economic powerhouses, Germany has a reputation in the field of technology and engineering while India is one of the big emerging markets in this world,” she concludes.

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