The Deepavali spirit continues thanks to this much-loved cultural festival showcasing popular and classical music, dance, theatre, literature, storytelling, and more!
Though Deepavali might have passed, the festival continues thanks to the beautiful lights adorning Little India, and the 15th edition of Kalaa Utsavam at the performing arts venue Esplanade this November (18 to 27). For a giant slice of Indian arts and culture, do not miss this annual extravaganza showcasing an impressive line-up of award-winning Indian artists from Singapore and beyond. To celebrate this 10-day shindig, we’ve rounded up our top 10 highlights that you should scribble in your diary now. Happy Deepavali!
Representing the dance corner is the Kalakshetra Repertory Company and Singapore’s Bharathaa Arts. Expect mythical tales of love and virtue to unfurl during their poetic performances. Also taking to the stage is a theatrical production of Girish Karnad’s Bikhre Bimb – Broken Images (featuring veteran actress Arundhati Nag), in a piece that explores the relationship between language and identity inspired by the vast number of successful Indian authors writing in English. It’s won rave reviews in the past and we reckon it’s not to be missed. Alternatively the one-woman show, You Are Here, by Singapore artist Pooja Nansi is set to be a masterclass in weaving poetry with storytelling.
Combining the force of music and literature is renowned author Devdutt Pattanaik, and master pianist Anil Srinivasan through their exploration of Indian mythology in Tales in Black and White. Meanwhile, the worlds of music and film collide in a production of King of Ghosts: Soumik Datta stars on the sarod accompanied by musicians from Singapore’s Orchestra of the Music Makers to revive the award-winning 1965 film, Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne.
Music lovers will appreciate the mix of both popular and classical tunes. Expect a special 40th anniversary edition of the Vasantham LIVE! Samarpanam in the largest gathering of local Indian musicians, actors, actresses and radio DJs on a live stage led by Mohd Raffee, as well as top Pakistani pop rock duo, Strings, who’ll be wowing the crowds with their most popular hits. The Guru Vandanam – To Sir with Love show will be flying the classical flag during an evening celebrating the late music supremo Lalgadi Jayaraman. We also heard Academy Award nominated Bombay Jayashri will be headlining!
Finally (and one for the little ‘uns!) don’t miss Utterly, Butter-ly Stories of Krishna. This dance theatre production follows the adventures of Hindu deity Krishna as a young boy. Expect much loved traditional stories to be danced and acted out in front of your very eyes.
If you don’t manage to grab a ticket to any of the above, fret not! There is a string of free performances taking place throughout the 10-day festival including nightly music performances at the Concourse, dance performances at the Outdoor Theatre, and free talks on topics ranging from yoga to the sari! Find out more about some of these performances via podcasts you can find here.
This article is sponsored by Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay.