Culture carnival

Published: Dec 01, 2013, 10:24 IST | Rinky Kumar |

Listen to a popular British rock band, watch the love story of a poet and a dancer unravel through puppetry, be enthralled by a sci-fi thriller and hear new-age producers share their success mantras at the Journey, a one-day cultural festival in the city

Mumbai is gaining a reputation of being home to cultural festivals that not only entertain and inform audiences but also give people an opportunity to get up close and personal with their favourite artistes across genres. Joining the spate of such festivals is a one-day event called The Journey, organised by Johnnie Walker, which will be held next month at the Mehboob Studios.

It will feature performances by legendary British rock band The Alan Parsons Live Project, the South African-based puppet group, The Handspring Puppet Company, maverick producer John N Hart Jr, who has produced acclaimed films such as Boys Don’t Cry and Revolutionary Road and young filmmakers Shane Carruth and ‘Q’ aka Qaushiq Mukherjee. The event is aimed at giving audiences an opportunity to interact with experts, share progressive ideas and connect with like-minded people through performances, workshops and demonstrations.

The international artistes share why they are looking forward to their stint in Mumbai:

Rock and roll

About the band:
The Alan Parsons Live Project will open the festival. The British progressive rock band, which was active between 1975 and 1990, is best known for its track Sirius, better known as the Chicago Bulls theme that was also played during the 2012 European Cup soccer matches. The current band consists of Alan on acoustic guitar, keyboards and vocals, PJ Olsson on vocals, Manny Foccarazzo on keyboards, Guy Erez on bass, Alastair Greene on guitar, Danny Thompson on drums, and Todd Cooper on sax, percussion and vocals. This is not the first time the band is performing in India. It had come here earlier in 2007. Alan says, “I have fond memories of India. We stayed at the Taj Mahal hotel opposite the Gateway Of India. I had a suit made there that I wore to the Grammys in Los Angeles. We drove down to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal and it was totally breathtaking and magical. We also went to Kerala and indulged in many Ayurveda treatments. India is an amazing experience and we can’t wait to return.”

What to look forward to:
The band will perform their previous hits from 1976 to 1987. “The audiences still love and cherish our earlier work. They prefer us playing our old tunes,” says Alan.

Puppet tales

About the group:
A puppetry performance and design company established in 1981 by Adrian Kohler and Basil Jones, the Handspring Puppet Company is situated in Cape Town, South Africa. The duo says, “We are coming to India for the first time and really looking forward to sharing our art and our story with Indian audiences.”

What to look forward to:
They will perform Ouroboros, a love story between a poet, Andre and a dancer, Nokobonisa. Jones says, “Ouroboros is an ancient symbol depicting a serpent swallowing its own tail and forming a circle. We are constantly re-creating ourselves, and stories in our lives begin anew as soon as they end. The cyclical action of the Ouroboros is not only reflected in the central theme of the play but is also captured in the circular staging of the work. This tale of dreaming and the cycles of life has been created with evocative imagery. At its heart, it is a love story between a dancer and a poet finding the courage to commit. Using the magically transforming powers of the puppetry medium, these two characters are able to appear as several versions of themselves.”

Moving images

About the director:
Shane Carruth made his debut as a filmmaker with a sci-fi movie Primer in 2004. The film, which is about the accidental discovery of a means of time travel, won the Grand Jury Prize and the Alfred P Sloan Award at the Sundance Film Festival the same year. Carruth’s new film, Upstream Color, is an existential sci-fi thriller and puts forward a constellation of narrative strands. He says, “There is a selfish motive to have the exclusive preview of Upstream Color at the festival. It is a means for me to travel to India which is something I have wanted to do for a long time.”

What to look forward to:
Upstream Color is about two people whose lives and behaviours are affected by a complex parasite, which has a three-stage life cycle where it passes from humans to pigs to orchids. Carruth says the idea for the movie stemmed from his love for personal narrative. “I have always been interested in personal narratives and how they came to being and what can be done once they’re set. I got really curious about whether your environment or behaviour dictates how you see yourself, or whether it’s the other way around. The more I started playing with this thought the more interesting it became. Since much of the film tries to communicate in tone rather than dialogue and in universal arch-types rather than contemporary or culturally specific themes, I’m hopeful that Indian audience will have the same experience as the western audience.”

When: December 14,
5 pm onwards
Where: Mehboob Studios, Bandra
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