What is the task of an art educator? – To ignite passion about something and to create what we thought impossible! Tasneem Rajkotwala aspires to be a teacher that is remembered to be one that gave a tiny prod from behind that made you touch the sky. She believes that no amount of technology can ever contest with the deep learning that stems from an artistically rich education.
The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is one of the greatest platforms where creative learning takes place. She believes she is one of the fortunate people who is a part of team that is responsible for creating a deeper appreciation of our rich cultural heritage on a colossal level.
2018 will mark a decade of curating the Children’s Workshops for Nuriya Rao, who joined in 2008 and this will be her 10th consecutive festival. From her very first festival, as a Children’s workshop curator, she has strived to make this space a ‘mini’ fest by itself, involving workshops of all the arts – visual, music, dance, literature, theatre and more – which have been fun, relevant and educating for the young. Coming from a school, where she had been teaching art, Nuriya was keen that students from across the city’s schools should be invited to put up their work at the festival and it wasn’t long before this idea was implemented. With each passing year, the festival now has more schools joining in not only from Mumbai but Pune and Lonavala too and now has a packed Art Installation Exhibition at the Children’s venue.
Mayank Shekhar is a writer, film-critic, and festival programmer/curator. He’s programming consultant with the annual Jagran Film Festival, India’s largest travelling film festival, spread across 16 cities over 3 months, showcasing the best of regional and world cinema. He’s worked on various film festivals, including IFFI (International Film Festival of India), Goa, MAMI, Mumbai, and served on several juries, including the National Film Awards. Shekhar is the first recipient of Ramnath Goenka prize for films and television journalism, and is currently entertainment head with Mid-Day. His latest book ‘Name Place Animal Thing’ on cinema and pop-culture is a critically acclaimed bestseller.
Karan Agarwal has over 13 years of experience in television, advertising and web content, as a writer, director, producer, show creator and podcaster.His most notable work includes the critically acclaimed shows ‘Laakhon Mein Ek’ and ‘Shaitaan Haveli’ on Amazon Prime, the award-winning youth crime-thriller series ‘Gumrah’ on Channel V, the Indian adaptation of the iconic Sesame Street, titled ‘Galli Galli Sim Sim’, India’s biggest reality television show Bigg Boss, and Disney India’s first live-action show ‘Kya Mast Hai Life’. In addition, Karan has also directed ads for brands like eBay, Portico India and Orra Jewellery, under his production house, Kitanu Films. Karan lives in Mumbai, and is currently writing an international TV series.
DR. ANONNA GUHA
Dr. Anonna Guha is a double doctorate in Sociology and in Human Relations. Anonna Guha is a Visharad in Kathak, graded artiste of Doordarshan and a recipient of the Menaka Award for Kathak from Mumbai University. A corporate trainer, she is a recipient of the Woman of Substance Award from Young Environmentalists Group Hiranandani Foundation. Anonna Guha is trained in Hindustani sangeet, drama, ballroom dancing and performs Folk Dances of India based on Nrityanjali’s intensive research of 32 years. As dance curator of the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival for the third year, her desire is to give back what she has received at the Festival as a danseuse – Love, Joy, Romance and Excitement.
Roxanne is a writer based in Mumbai whose main interests are food and travel. She expresses her love for all things edible along with all her travel tales on her website – www.thetinytaster.com. Apart from her own website for which she has won awards and accolades, she write for various publications and lifestyle websites as well about food and travel. She’s currently the lead critic ( for Mumbai ) at Eazy Diner, a restaurant reservation app and website spearheaded by Mr Vir Sanghvi and has hosted and curated a number of food events in the city. She’s had the pleasure of meeting international chefs through her travels and was the only Indian media to meet Chef Marco Pierre White on his trip to Sri Lanka last year. She’s been a part of the Kalaghoda team and has curated the food section for the last 5 years.
In 2016, BharGo (Bharat Gothoskar) gave up his corporate career to establish Khaki Tours with an aim to promote heritage awareness in an informative and fun way. He and his team of ‘Heritage Evangelists’ have covered enclaves during their walks which are not typically associated with the word ‘heritage’, so that Mumbaikars can understand the essence of their own city. The mission of Team Khaki is to generate awareness about heritage and encourage conservation. The Team will be curating 9 walks on 9 days of KGAF which will start at different point in the Fort-Colaba precinct and end at Kala Ghoda. Each walk will be like a pilgrimage to Kala Ghoda and will have 20 pit stops to commemorate 20 years of KGAF!
Indira Chandrasekhar is a scientist, a fiction writer and the founder and principal editor of Out of Print, an online platform for short fiction connected to the Indian subcontinent. Her writing has appeared in anthologies and literary journals across the world. She co-edited the short story antholgy, Pangea, Thames River Press. A collection of her short stories Polymorphism was published by HarperCollins.
Indira has participated in curating the literary gathering, Lekhana for many years and curated the first Mysore Literature Festival in 2017.
She is working on the archival book of the forty-year-old International Music and Arts Society on whose Advisory Committee she sits. She has been closely associated with the G5A Foundation for Contemporary Culture and is an honorary consultant and a member of its Academic Council.
DR. YAMINI A.S.
True to her initials loves being in the liminal state of flux, ‘AS’ making her identity temporal. An assiduous literary researcher for the gendered and socio-economically marginalized communities/writers of South Asia and Canada alongside her research on the Indian Education System, Aesthetics, Culture and Arts Management. The US Consulate has nominated her as one of those individuals who can lead sustainable transformation in India for their Integrated Leadership Program. She has also received the President’s award by Dr. Abdul Kalam for relentless service to humanity. The Times of India featured her as a talented young achiever and more than 150 other regional newspapers for endorsing the indigenous arts of India. She has presented her research papers in several National and International conferences worldwide and has recently started blogging as literaryradicalwomen.
LITERATURE – CHILDREN
Yashasvi is a freelance writer and content developer. She has worked on various festivals for children including Peek-a-book and Mumbai Film Festival. She loves reading and can be found with a book in one hand and a cup of tea in another on most days.
Naveen’s introduction to the music industry began in 2000 when he along with some friends started organising shows in Pune under his first company Noiz Gate Events. Naveen has seen the music scene evolve from a motley crew of people to a small-scale industry over the decade that he has been involved with it. Having worked with Only Much Louder – where he managed bands like Pentagram, Raghu Dixit Project, Shaa’ir + Func – Naveen today oversees a team of people who help run Mixtape and maintain the same standards of efficiency and dedication that he is known for within the music industry. This is his first year curating Music at HTKGAF and is looking forward to the festival with equal parts trepidation and excitement.
With over 2 decades of an advertising background, Geetha chose to explore the space of artiste management and event planning. Her close proximity to classical musicians opened new doors and she was approached to organise corporate shows. She has worked closely with Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia ji, Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma ji, Shubha Mudgal ji, Pt. Ajay Pohankar ji, Sonu Nigam ji, Shankar Mahadevan ji, and a few others.
Geetha is also a writer and has co-authored a book wherein she’s written English synopsis for the 101 poems originally written in Hindi. Besides writing sleeve notes for over 200 classical albums for Saregama (hmv), she has recently edited a soon to be launched book for a first time author.
Nevil can best be described as alive and unconventional. After being a part time bartender in Sydney while studying for over two years it was natural that he wanted to open up his own bar. Although his first venture when he returned to Mumbai was an event company, it wasn’t long before he, along with his partners founded Bonobo.
For over 12 years, Nevil has been associated with theatre, comedy, music and the hospitality industry. His partners and he founded Bonobo offering access to unexplored genres of music making it accessible, local and exceptional. He started Bonobo with the intention to bring different music on a consistent basis to Mumbai and has been doing it for over a decade. From comedy festivals to bringing down international artists to stage productions, Nevil is actively responsible for the planning and programming of events across genres.
He also started, Tapped, India’s first and biggest craft beer festival that celebrates craft beer, food and music. He has been one of the first few in the country to bring down international artists like Shlomo & Danny Bhoy. Nevil has been a part of Mumbai’s cultural events for over a decade.
What he is known for – Bonobo, Jamjar Diner, Cafe Nemo, The Music Arena, Naked Comedy Festival, Homegrown Comedy Festival, Tapped – Craft Beer Festival.
Vidula Warawdekar has studied Economics and has been the chief economist for India in an investment bank. She took a sabbatical from her job that proved to be permanent. Currently she is involved in building vineyard estates in Nashik. Simultaneously, she explored her love for Indian philosophy and art forms and did a diploma in Indian Aesthetics from the University of Mumbai. She has been the curator of stalls since 2011. Her vision is to contemporarise the Indian traditional arts and crafts so that they adapt for a more contemporary space and also to give a platform to new designers who use Indian aesthetics in newer formats.
VARSHA SHIRESH KARALE
Varsha Karale is an art curator and is actively involved in Kala Ghoda Arts Festival committee. She is also the Director OGN Productions.
Varsha started her career by designing coffee table books at Marg Publication as an Assistant Design and Production (1992 – 1995). She then went on to successfully develop a brand ‘Touchstone’ at Tata Press, as a creative head (1995 – 2004) after which she worked as a National Creative Head and Communication Head with WWF India, supporting their projects of conservation (2004 – 2009).
She continuously works on different ideations right from corporate interiors to events, designing coffee table books to curating art shows. She is deeply passionate about Indian art and culture and she brings this passion to he role as curator for the Street section.
Stand Up Comedy
Its her 3rd year of curating the standup section at kalaghoda and each year is different with a set of brand new comics to look out for. Jeeya has been doing standup comedy and curation for over 5 years now and has created a community for herself. this year is no different, with kalaghoda in its 20th year Jeeya has a different theme each day of the festival.
JUUHI BABBAR SONII
2018 is Juuhi Babbar Sonii’s 5th year as the theatre section curator. Juuhi is the recipient of the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puruskaar, the highest national award for the youth towards body of work in theatre. With a lineage like hers and almost 20 years in the profession, she has definitely been an asset to the KGAF Theatre Act! From folk theatre hailing from Rural India to the swankiest performances studded with stars, Juuhi Babbar Sonii has got all of it under Kala Ghoda theatre roof. The years between 2014 and 2017 showcased more than 50 performances each year and this year with more than 60 performances, it is yet another celebration of the best in theatre that the city has ever seen.
Urban Design And Architecture
DR. KAIWAN MEHTA
Born in Mumbai, Kaiwan Mehta, is a theorist and critic in the fields of visual culture, architecture, and city studies. Mehta has studied Architecture (B. Arch), Literature (MA), Indian Aesthetics (PGDip) and Cultural Studies (PhD). He recently completed his doctoral studies at the Centre for the Study of Culture and Society, Bengaluru, under the aegis of Manipal University on ‘architectural ornaments and its relationship to the city and metropolitan experience, with a specific focus on Mumbai’. He authored Alice in Bhuleshwar: Navigating a Mumbai Neighbourhood (Yoda Press. New Delhi, 2009) as well asThe Architecture of I M Kadri (Niyogi. New Delhi, 2016) Since March 2012 he has been the Managing Editor of Domus India (Spenta Multimedia) – the India-edition of the international Domus magazine on Art, design, Architecture and City Studies; and writes prolifically on architecture, aesthetics, and cities. He constantly teaches across universities and academies, while continuing to set up many and varied spaces for para-academic engagement and learning.
Tripti Ayyar, a true blue Mumbaikar, manages her family’s charitable foundation, designs Indian clothes, is an avid reader, a movie buff and enjoys meeting people. This is the 5th year she is curating workshops at HTKGAF. It is her passion for bringing the arts to a wider audience that drives her.
Ami Patel is a visual artist with a master’s degree in Fine Arts from Sir J.J. School of Art. Her works predominantly consist of paintings, installations and murals. She has worked on a number of solo and group shows nationally and internationally. Her love and passion can be seen in her functional art. She also enjoys curatorial projects and this is evident in her work at HTKGAF as she marks her 8th year with the festival this year.
A dental and Oral Surgeon by profession, Tarana is also an avid art collector and patron and started her journey as a Gallerist in 2003 with Gallery Art & Soul. With over 250 art shows of an exceedingly high calibre, she has set her sights on public art projects, wherein she has consulted and procured the art, collaborating closely. These have included Mumbai and Bangalore Airports, the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Bangalore, the Leela Palace, Delhi to name a few.This passion finds its outlet as Curator of Visual Arts for the hugely popular Kalaghoda Arts Festival held annually in Mumbai at the historic Kalaghoda district. Tarana has patiently mentored countless young artists, students and photographers, over 10 years in this role and continues to do so.
From spending 15 years as an advertising professional including working as a Senior Creative Director at Ogilvy, and winning many international and national awards and creating the Kala Ghoda Festival brand identity during her 12 year tenure at Ogilvy: it’s been a full circle for Heeral Akhaury and Kalaghoda. She came back to the Kala Ghoda festival in 2013 as part of the festival team and has been curating the Visual Arts section for the past 4 years.
Heeral has her own brand, Ullu Ke Pathe, which designs eclectic, hand-painted home and furniture collections.
Starting out as a media artist and art educator integrating the use of art and technology with youth voice, identity and expression in Chicago, IL, USA, Rivka went on to lead and develop innovative and inclusive programming for the city of Portland’s Community Television Agency. From civic and culturally engaged arts practises, Rivka took a deep dive into the contemporary art scene in Mumbai at Gallery Maskara. She then explored the latest technology and creative strategies with digital media agencies and now pursues multiple creative and curatorial projects with artists, galleries and creative agencies in Mumbai, India.
Nicole Mody possesses over a decade of experience in marketing and brand building. Backed by her expertise in conceptualizing, creating and marketing large-format public events, Nicole joined the event-management team at Seventy EMG that is credited for two of India’s finest festival properties: India Bike Week and Zambhala. Having worked for three years in the capacity of Senior Manager – Marketing at the company, Nicole sharpened her skills in marketing and content creation.
Nicole Mody currently serves as the Festival Coordinator for the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival – one of Asia’s largest open-to-all multi-cultural street festivals. She is also the curator for food at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, a section she has helped create and popularize in 2012 with Mumbai’s most loved chefs and restaurateurs. She has authored ‘Flavours of Kala Ghoda’ – a book of compiled recipes from her 5 years as curator of the food section at the Festival. The book was conceptualized, written and edited by Nicole and released in February 2016.
In addition to her endeavours associated with leading culture festivals in the country, Nicole is intimately involved with Forsyth Lodge – a beautiful eco-wildlife lodge nestled in the buffer zone of Satpura National Park. She also actively campaigns for Wildlife SOS – an NGO that is dedicated to eradicating the problems of captive elephants in India.
She enjoys food, reading, writing, travelling, and spends a large part of her day sating updated about the latest trends in food, wildlife, and holiday destinations.
Assistant Festival Coordinator
Bhavika Thakkar chucked up a full-time job in TV production in 2015 after 8 years to become a freelancer with no specific direction in mind. Since then she has found many passions which include running, writing and handling events that want to maker her tear hair out! Bhavika has written a feature film script, endless TV show scripts and regularly contributes to some websites where she writes about her love-hate relationship with Mumbai, the city she calls home. This love-hate relationship with Mumbai is also what drove her to work on the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival starting 2017. Having worked with the stalls section her first year, Bhavika jumped at the chance of a larger role at the festival. The energy, the people, the warmth, the passion and the chance to give back to the city is what makes KGAF occupy the most special place in her heart and she looks forward to a long and enduring relationship with the people, the association and the festival.