It’s that time of the year when your cultural calendar is as packed as your OTT viewing list. Performance venues large and small, are witnessing a resurgence of crowds as they gather to watch new work, old productions, and everything in-between.
At this juncture, a grand venue is preparing to arrive on Mumbai’s already robust performing arts scene. The Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre (NMACC) located in the Jio World Centre at Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) in Mumbai is a multi-disciplinary art space that boasts three different theatres of varying sizes. It opens its doors to the public on April 3 and has released its programming calendar for the month ahead.
Art, fashion history and spectacle
True to its interdisciplinary claims, NMACC’s opening calendar has something for everyone and intends to showcase every space for performance/ exhibition it has.
The opening exhibition titled Sangam/ Confluence, by American and Indian curators Jeffrey Deitch and Ranjit Hoskote, will feature the works of Indian artists Bharti Kher, Bhupen Khakhar, Ranjani Shettar, Ratheesh T, and Shantibai and international artists Anselm Kiefer, Cecily Brown, Francesco Clemente, Lynda Benglis, and Raqib Shaw. An audio guide with Hoskote’s voice will accompany the exhibition.
The second opening exhibition delves into fashion and history and looks at Western couture inspired by India. It’s been curated by Hamish Bowles, global editor-at-large, Vogue, and designed by Patrick Kinmonth and Rooshad Shroff. The exhibition features work by renowned designers including Manish Malhotra, Tarun Tahiliani, Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Anamika Khanna, Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla, and many more. It comes with an audio tour, too.
The third and final opening act comes in the form of a performance titled The Great Indian Musical: Civilization to Nation, by Feroz Abbas Khan. Known for his larger-than-life work including the musical Mughal-e-Azam, Abbas has pitted this one as interactive theatre and pulls all the stops, with music by composer duo Ajay-Atul, costumes by Manish Malhotra, choreography by Vaibhavi Merchant, and more. A 55-piece live orchestra led by the Budapest Scoring Orchestra will also be a part of the performance.
It will take place at The Grand Theatre, which at 2,000 seats is the largest of the three theatres at the newly built centre.
Beyond the opening
While the opening days are about grand spectacles, the programming for the rest of the month is diverse and features both big names and smaller ones.
At the 250-seater Studio Theatre, is a line-up of stalwarts in music. Rajasthani folk singer Mame Khan with his group of Manganiyar musicians will perform Rajasthani and Sufi music on April 3. This, on April 4, will be followed by a Hindustani classical recital by Kaushiki Chakraborty.
Popular qawwal Ustad Munawwar Masoom presents an evening of Khusrau’s work on April 5, followed by Carnatic classical show by exponent Aruna Sairam (April 7), Gujarati folk music by Hardik Dave (April 6), fusion music by band Samarpan (April 8), and a coming together of Hindustani classical and Carnatic music with "Milap: A Medley" by Purbayan Chatterjee and U. Rajesh (April 9).
Also read: 75 musicians who made us fall in love with Indian classical music all over again
A dose of theatre
Opening their theatre calendar for the month is Elephant in the Room, a widely-acclaimed solo performance by Yuki Ellias, scripted by Sneh Sapru. Following this are performances of Shabana Azmi and Kanwaljit Singh’s Kaifi aur Main, Anupam Kher’s Kuch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai, and Motley Theatre’s Ismat Apa Ke Naam with Naseeruddin Shah, Ratna Pathak Shah, and Heeba Shah in the cast.
Mohan No Masalo (April 11), a Gujarat play with actor Pratik Gandhi in the lead, will tell the story of a young Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi before he became a freedom fighter.
Also read: Naseeruddin Shah: Audiences should remember a play like they would... a gentle caress
Something for Gen-Z
The Cube, the smallest of the performance spaces at the venue with a 125-seat space, is flexible and allows for unconventional work. The line-up here is dominated by indie, electronic, and fusion music in a bid to attract a younger audience.
On April 3, Sarang Kulkarni and Shikhar Naad Qureshi come together with the former’s indigenous electric guitar-meets-sarod in the Zrod, and Sarang of djembe and drums. Singers and songwriters Mali and Kamakshi Khanna come together in a show, and musician Tarun Balani will be seen playing an electronic act accompanied by Parizad D’s visual design.
There’s a semi-classical performance by musician Ronkini Gupta (April 11) and a contemporary dance performance by Diya Naidu titled "Bardo Beings" (April 12), followed by a Q&A with the team.
Besides the opening performances, the calendar for the rest of the month is open for bookings and features works like QTP’s Every Brilliant Thing and Tamaasha Theatre’s Same Same But Different, among others.
Tickets are available on https://nmacc.com/ or www.bookmyshow.com