Upcoming two-day festival in Mumbai celebrates womanhood

Updated: Dec 07, 2016, 15:30 IST | Joanna Lobo

An upcoming festival wants you to take a two-day break from your drudgery and celebrate being a woman

Women participants  of Festivelle
Women participants of Festivelle. Pics/ Poonam Bathija

Women, this is for you. Next week, enjoy a two-day festival featuring music, entertainment, workshops, food and retail therapy at an event dedicated to women. Yes, Festivelle is open only to women and features only female performers and speakers.

The idea is the brainchild of actresses, and friends, Gul Panag and Shruti Seth."We want to celebrate women. They don’t get a moment off at work or at home. And even if they do, they kill time by doing something; that’s the way the female brain functions. Here, we want to get them together and say, ‘We think you’re overburdened, so please come and check out what we’ve planned for you, and take a break’,” says Panag.

gul and shruti
Gul Panag and Shruti Seth

The debut edition of Festivelle features discussions (‘exchange of ideas’) on topics such as Real Orgasms Are Our Birthright And We Shall Have Them, Lessons We Can Learn From Kim Kardashian, Sisterhood: Cheaper Than a Shrink, Why Every Woman Must Have a Secret Stash, and It’s Good To Be a Bad Mom. Some of the country’s leading stand-up comedians and musicians will also be taking the stage.

Men, this event isn’t for you. In fact, the only men at the event will be artistes Prateek Kuhad, Ankur Tewari, Sapan Verma and Kanan Gill. All the other participants are women — comedians Kaneez Surka, Sonali Thakker, Anuradha Menon and Neeti Palta, singers Alisha Pais, Manasi Scott, Maalavika Manoj and Nush Lewis; and speakers Shaili Chopra, Meghna Pant, Anjali Kripalani, Lalita Iyer, Kiran Manral, Pooja Bedi and Mini Mathur, among others.

The duo have been targeting corporates to send their women employees to the festival, and online communities (Sheroes, Mumbai Moms, Baby Chakra), too. As of now, children aren’t allowed at the event."I know this may alienate a lot of mothers but if you have a child with you, you are going to be distracted all day and that defeats the purpose,” says Seth, adding that they’re still trying to figuring out a crèche or a babysitting service.

In addition to the discussions, workshops, music and comedy events, there will also be a shopping area and food stalls."We want to create an environment offering varied activities. What you come and experience at Festivelle is up to you. You can also choose to do nothing but sit under a tree, stare out at the sea, sip on wine and enjoy the energy around. Give yourself the time off,” says Seth.

Neeti Palta, stand-up comedian
“I do observational comedy and talk about things I experience. I want to see how an all-women audience will react to my jokes. I’m expecting they will be more supportive. Maybe there will be women out there going through a similar experience and not bold enough to speak out about it. When they come for an event like this and hear other women talk about these issues, I hope it helps them."

 

Maalavika Manoj, singer-songwriter
“What our country should be doing more of now is celebrating women. We have to create a culture of appreciating women. Even though this event is happening in an urban space, it could hopefully permeate to other parts of India. All the women performing here are talented and many come from male-dominated fields where they are used to comments that link their talents to their gender. Why can’t they be treated as equals?"

 

Nush Lewis,
singer-songwriter
“I would’ve liked it if men were also allowed, so they could come and see what women are bringing to the table. But, overall it’s a great concept and is going to be a lot of fun. It would be a great space for women from different fields to meet each other and motivate each other to do better."

A walk through Mohammed Ali Road's Khau Galli

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