Music and dance festival to celebrate Mumbai's heritage

Updated: Jan 09, 2019, 12:23 IST | Karishma Kuenzang | Mumbai

An open-air music and dance festival to be held on the iconic Asiatic Library steps brings down an amalgam of performances

Yamini and Bhavana Reddy
Yamini and Bhavana Reddy

It all began more than 25 years ago, when the Indian He­ritage Society-Mumbai (IHS) decided to use music and dance as a vehicle to spread awareness among Mu­mbaikars about the city's rich history. The society organised the Banganga Festival in 1992 as an ode to a city landmark attributed to the Shilahara dynasty. And over the years, it has celebrated several heritage sites by organising shows outside the Fort campus of the University of Mumbai, and at Ballard Estate.

Pt Vishwa Mohan Bhatt
Pt Vishwa Mohan Bhatt

More recently, the historic steps of the Town Hall, or the Asiatic Library as it is known, have been the venue for the Mumbai Sanskriti festival. "Mumbai's architectural heritage dates back to 300 BC, and includes the Kanheri caves, forts on the seven islands, shrines of different religions, as well as the gothic and Art Deco buildings. A few years ago, there was a suggestion to construct a multi-storied parking lot at Horniman Circle. So, we made the politician whose idea it was to climb up the Town hall steps, and showed him how he could see the tip of Mumbai as well as the Raj Bhawan from there. What we have inherited must be preserved for the future generations," says Anita Garware, chairperson, IHS.

Anita Garware
Anita Garware

As it enters its 10th year, the annual festival will feature a recital by legendary Jaipur-based Mohan veena player Pt Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, and a performance by Delhi-based Kuchipudi duo, sisters Bhavana and Yamini Reddy.

The siblings are looking forward to performing in the city, where Bhavana feels people connect with their performance more due to the sizeable Telugu community here as well as people who understand Sanskrit. "So, for us, it's about rekindling shared memories. Plus, the audience is different from Delhi's. Here, the shows are usually ticketed and people are dedicated enough to travel to watch the performance. In Delhi, the young people are curious and will come for a show to find out what it's all about," she explains.

While here, they plan to visit the Siddhi Vinayak temple and Haji Ali Dargah. "We go there every time we're in Mumbai as it's refreshing to see that irrespective of religion, everyone visits these places," shares Bhavana.

ON: January 12 and 13, 7 pm
AT: Steps of As­iatic Library, Ballard Estate (for passes, visit MTDC counters at Dadar Ea­st, Gateway of India and Ch­e­tana Book Centre).

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