Visit: Haji Ali Dargah
Explore: Elephanta Caves
Do: Take a day trip of Essel World
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Mumbai, the seat of the Hindi film industry and the quintessential cosmopolitan city of India, is a treasure chest for admirers of art and music. From Sufi to trap music, plays, stand-up performance, visual art galleries and more, there is an abundance of fun and soul-stirring live performances on offer. It takes some skilful navigation to find the ones most in sync with your taste. This rundown on some of the best places to catch live performances in Mumbai will set you off to a good start:
This iconic landmark in Mumbai that was revived by veteran actor Shashi Kapoor as a tribute to his father, the legendary Prithviraj Kapoor, is nothing short of a melting pot of talents. The theatre showcases theatrical performances and plays from Tuesday to Sunday, every week, mostly in the 6-9 p.m. time slot. The annual Prithvi Theatre Festival held in November witnesses participation from Mumbai-based troupes as well as Indian and international theatre groups. The festival often has a theme to it, such as the Mumbai Musicals or Kala ki Desh ki Seva Mein, to name a few popular ones from the past.
Location: Juhu Church Road
The Finch is a fine-dining multi-cuisine restaurant that blends a titillating gastronomic experience with an exciting line-up of freshly brewed beers and live music. It is set in an old factory in Powai that has been landscaped tastefully to give the place a funky ambience. The Finch organizes live music performance through the week, with a special focus on promoting young and upcoming artists. The music played here ranges from blues to funky jazz, soulful, folk, melodic soft rock, and even regional. It also organizes performance by some of the best known home-grown and international bands, every now and then. If you are an ardent music lover, The Finch surely is place worth checking out. Given the wide spectrum of musical genres played here, there is something for everyone. The finger licking good food is definitely an added bonus.
Location: Andheri East
National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA)
Popularly referred to as the NCPA, the National Centre for the Performing Arts holds the distinction of being ‘the first multi-venue, multi-genre cultural centre in South Asia’. The NCPA is THE destination to get a glimpse of India’s vast and artistic heritage. The centre holds over 700 events in a year, ranging from drama, opera, contemporary dance, jazz, orchestral concerts, and chamber music. The premises house five theatres and several galleries that are ideal for large productions like ballets and fully-staged operas. The venue hosts performances by some of the leading artists from different fields, besides staging shows by world-renowned orchestras such as BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Vienna Philharmonic, Bavarian State Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and London Symphony Orchestra.
The Cuckoo Club is an offshoot of the Hive at Khar, set up because the founders thought they need a bigger space than the auditorium available at the Hive. The Cuckoo Club is an endearing mini-theatre with a seating capacity of 120. Housed in an erstwhile banquet hall behind the Candies building, the place has a palpable indie vibe that just blends seamlessly with the kind of art it promotes. The auditorium itself is divided into two levels to recreate that stall-and-balcony effect, and it all comes together very well to offer an intimate theatre experience. It is a contemporary arts performance venue, rehearsal space, black box theatre, and a co-working space rolled into one. The performances here range from plays to stand-up comedy, open mic and more.
Cat Cafe Studio
This place is truly a one-of-its-kind ode to cats and cat lovers. The cafe that started out in 2010 to allow cat lovers to lounge in the company of the cafe’s feline residents while sipping on freshly-brewed coffee or reading a book, added an art studio to its premises in 2015. Amid heart-warming purrs of 30 to 40 cats hosted by the cafe, you can also indulge in artistic endeavours exhibited here on a weekly basis. The idea of this art studio is to give budding creative professionals a platform to exhibit their talent to the city of dreams and beyond. The weekly events held here include photography and painting exhibitions, fashion exhibitions, reading sessions by poets, and performances by musicians, writers, stand-up comedians, motivational speakers, and dancers. The eclectic mix of skills on display at the Cat Cafe Studio makes it purr-fect for just about every art lover.
With these quaint venues are more, Mumbai certainly quenches your appetite for art and culture. Which one of these catches your fancy?
A journalist by profession, Arushi has ventured into freelance writing to be able to do the two things she loves doing most – writing and spending time with her bundle of joy. When not writing, she likes to be in the company of books and food, or hitting the road to explore new places.