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Screen + Sound + Stage
January 02, 2015

Ethnic Extravaganza

Text by Nittal Chandarana

From Sufi to surfing and from dancing to Derby, Verve’s cultural roundup takes you exactly where you need to go

Art, culture, literature, sport and music come together in the initial months of the new year to produce a dynamic bunch of festivals. A number of interesting events will leave you with the pleasant dilemma of picking one cultural extravaganza over another and you begin to wish you owned Hermione’s time-turner to get you EVERYWHERE. Verve gives you a handpicked list.

1. Cheat Treat: Rann Utsav, Kutch, Gujarat
Type: Cultural
Ask for Leave: On till March 2015
Indulge: An endless expanse of white sand, Kutch itself is beautiful. Pitching tent on the ashen land juxtaposed by the colourful activities of the state; folk dances, music, handicrafts, ethnic cuisine and much more.
If not this, then: The Vadodara Festival (January 23 – 26, 2015) offers performances by Yanni, A. R. Rahman, Isha Sharvani and many more.

2. Cheat Treat: Kochi Muziris Biennale, Kerala
Type: Cultural
Ask for Leave: On till March 17
Indulge: Art, literature, cinema, dance; an influx of cultural activities at the biennale. Whether one visits as a participant or an onlooker, there is much to experience at the event. You can read more about it here.
If not this, then: Mumbai takes pride in its Kala Ghoda Festival (February 7 -15, 2015), which offers a similar experience, but on a smaller scale.

3. Cheat Treat: Jaipur Literature Festival, Rajasthan
Type: Literary
Ask for Leave: January 21 – 25, 2015
Indulge: A host of eminent writers congregate at the most prestigious literature festival in the country. Book launches, discussions, contests, musical sessions all happen at the Diggi Palace Hotel which plays host to speakers Javed Akhtar, Akhil Sharma, Anupama Chopra among others.
If not this, then: The Lucknow Literary Festival (February 13 – 15, 2015) sounds like a lark with a great amount of Lucknowi culture ingrained in the festival. Dastangoi, Kavi Sammelans and Mushayras add flavour to the event.

4. Cheat Treat: India Art Fair, New Delhi
Type: Art
Ask for Leave: January 29 – February 1, 2015
Indulge: A number of international and Indian artists will come together to showcase a wide spectrum of artistic practices including painting, sculpture, new media, installation and performance art. Prime among them being Atul Bhalla’s walkthrough maze of turnstiles, French artist Daniel Buren’s installation work and Francesco Clemente’s tent installations.
If not this, then: The Story of Light Festival, Goa (January 14 – 18, 2015). International artists and scientists come together to explore and revolutionise the use of light. This festival attempts to bring art and science together in a bid to give a unique experience in a way that is the most palatable to the public.

5. Cheat Treat: India Derby Weekend, Mumbai, Maharashtra
Type: Sport
Ask for Leave: Don’t. It’s on the weekend of February 4 – 5, 2015
Indulge: There are stallions and then there’s betting. Whip out those summery hats and regal dresses — our derby is a suitably fancy event. You can play favourites but it’s usually the dark horse that wins!
If not this, then: Oh, there’s nothing quite like it. Surely, you can spare a weekend for all the fancy.

6. Cheat Treat: India Surf Festival, Ramchandi Beach, Odisha
Type: Adventure, Sport and whatnot
Ask for Leave: February 6 – 8, 2015
Indulge: Yes, India has a surf festival! And besides surfing, there’s also longboarding, paddle surfing, yoga workshops, art and music. With the stay being in tents, this one seems like nirvana for sportspersons and hippies alike.
If not this, then: International Kite Festival, Ahmedabad (January 14 – 15, 2015). This may sound like an extension of our yearly Uttaran, but the variety of kites paint the summer skies in a beautiful mosaic.

7. Cheat Treat: World Sufi Spirit Festival, Nagaur and Jodhpur, Rajasthan
Type: Music
Ask for Leave: February 9 – 11, 2015 (Nagaur) and February 13 – 15, 2015 (Jodhpur)
Indulge: A celebration of qawwalis and songs from Persia, Iran, France and India alike, prominence of the bansuri, shehnai and the clarinet.
If not this, then: If it’s indie music that floats your boat, SulaFest, Nashik (February 7 – 8, 2015) is where you must head. Jump for joy as Young the Giant is part of the line-up this year.

8. Cheat Treat: Khajuraho Festival of Dances, Madhya Pradesh
Type: Dance
Ask for Leave: February 20 – 26, 2015
Indulge: A smattering of Indian Classical dances is presented at this festival. This is the one festival on our list which has remained truly native to the country. The others are either lined by international acts or speakers. Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Odissi, Kathakali, Mohiniattam showcased in their purest form.
If not this, then: Attakallari Biennal, Bengaluru (February 6 – 15, 2015). Touted as South Asia’s largest contemporary dance festival, this one not only has performances but also workshops, master classes, writer’s residencies and sees the participation of countries from all over the world.

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