Art, not tea, to be served at Cafe Samovar

Apr 10, 2016, 06:52 IST | Tanvi Deshpande

The space once occupied by the iconic Café Samovar in Jehangir Art Gallery will soon host exhibitions by budding artists

For all those who shed a tear or two when the iconic Café Samovar shut shop last year, here's some news. While the café isn't reopening, the management of Jehangir Art Gallery has decided to convert the space into what it was originally meant for — an art gallery.

The area will be transformed into an art gallery. Pic/Suresh Karkera
The area will be transformed into an art gallery. Pic/Suresh Karkera

The gallery is going to boast of a glass façade and will overlook the pristine garden of the adjoining Prince of Wales museum, sources confirmed. With permission from the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC) in place, the management is planning to complete work before the monsoons.

Jehangir Art Gallery is an important part of Mumbai's cultural legacy. And almost as famous as the gallery was Café Samovar, which closed down in 2015. Samovar started as a humble space in 1964, offering tea to its patrons, and went on to become a favourite haunt for artists, theatre personalities and other celebrities. Veteran actress Jaya Bachchan had previously mentioned that she enjoyed her first date with Amitabh Bachchan at Samovar.

However, the space belonged to the trust. When a legal battle ensued, the court ruled against the owners of Samovar and they were asked to vacate the premises. The trust has now decided to convert this space into a verandah art gallery for budding artists. It will hold exhibits of paintings, as well as sculptures.

The space previously had a concrete and lean-to roof. This will now be converted into a glass roof, which will give it the appearance of a large window. The gallery will have a combination of light and dark colours. Dark-coloured fabric may be used as backdrop for artworks.

Apart from the MHCC, the trust has also received permission from the museum authorities for the project. "Now that permissions are in place, we want to start work immediately. It will be great, if we can complete it before monsoon," Adi Jehangir, chairman of the Jehangir Art Gallery Trust said.

He added, "Several artists want their works to be displayed at Jehangir, but the waiting period is as long as five years. This verandah art gallery will be an intimate space for innovative displays."

Go to top