My experiences at Bengaluru Habba

Meghna Raghunathan jots down her experieces at Bengaluru Habba.

The first day

On Saturday the 12th of December, I left my house ready to reconnect with my childhood, at the Children’s film festival, part of the Bangalore Habba 2009. As I went up the escalator towards the movie theatre, the numerous posters and signs, left me in no doubt that I was in the right place. It was 9.50 AM when I reached the ticket counter.

I excitedly asked for passes which were supposed to be available at the venue. The man behind the counter looked at me, somewhat amused and told me he couldn’t issue me a pass because I wasn’t a child. Still hell bent-on “enhancing my knowledge” and experiencing “wholesome entertainment” as advertised on the website I asked again, with a little more desperation. The man behind the counter, after offering me a wide variety of other movie options, informed me that tickets were available only at select Airtel offices. I called a few offices, but in vain.  After a lot of phone calls, a trip to the theatre and money wasted on bus fare, I returned home hoping for better luck on my second attempt of experiencing the Bangalore Habba.

The second attempt

The night of December 12th, was my second attempt to experience the Bangalore Habba. I walked onto the terrace of UB city and heard music coming from the amphitheatre. I was at “Jazz nights”, another one of the Habba’s events. Before I reached the amphitheatre  I was sidetracked by the feast laid out by Toscano and Khansama.

Lack of funds prohibited me from doing anything other than look longingly, but my attention was soon diverted to the displays of sculpture all over the terrace. At the entrance, a metal bull caught my eye, but as I continued to walk around I literally stumbled upon a sculpture of women which was displayed on the ground, with a few minor bruises I made my way to the amphitheatre.

Turns out the music I was hearing was coming from the speakers and the band was still getting warmed up. While I was soaking in the lively atmosphere and great smelling food, curfew constraints prevented me from staying any longer. Once again highly underdressed, and extremely hungry, I walked out of UB City unsuccessful.

Great Indian art trail

On December 14th, I decided to take a walk on the Great Indian art trail, also part of the Bangalore Habba 2009. The Habba is divided into two parts, the great gallery trail and the Masters of Contemporary art, which is held at Chitra Kala Parishat. I walked into the art gallery and was greeted by the enthusiastic organiser, Essmath Khaleeli. While the show was still being set up, I sat myself down to watch a movie on Jackson Pollock, a series of movies on western artists screened everyday at as part of the “Masters of Contemporary art”.

The fact that the films are about western artists, introduces a contrast to the exhibition of only Indian artists.  This is an exclusive art collection design to take one through the progression of modern art in India. The categories of paintings vary from art in Bengal to women artists. She explained how each painting portrayed a unique style from the more traditional style of Jamini Roy to newer more contemporary artists like A Balasubramanium.

As I went through the art, I too noticed the transition from traditional art forms to more contemporary derivations of the same. The exhibition is designed to let people observe and absorb art that they can relate to. According to Essmath, the point of this exhibition is to “give Bangalore something they enjoy”. Her enthusiasm for art incited a general buzz in the gallery. She explained that Indian artists have a “will to dream” and we have made great deal of progress in the field of art. Chandrakanth, an aspiring artist who came to view the gallery said that there were a lot of “big artists” at this exhibition and it is a very special opportunity to see it. From paintings by Amrita Shergil, to movie screenings, it seems like the Chitra Kala parishat is the place to be. The exhibition is on till the 20th of December.   ⊕

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