Kalaa Utsavam, the pioneering Indian arts extravaganza of Southeast Asia, is back with a bang! Get ready for a cultural journey like no other, where celebrated artists and emerging talents from India and Singapore will ignite the stage. Brought to you by Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, this festival is a promise of daring performances celebrating the power of female divinity and desire, as well as a thought-provoking exploration of Indian culture, both in urban hubs and across the sprawling diaspora. Here are six must-see events that beautifully capture the spirit of Indian arts and culture.
1. பச்ச பங்களா ரெட்ட கொலடா (Twin Murder in the Green Mansion) by Agam Theatre Lab
Murder mystery meets comedy? Twin Murder in the Green Mansion takes inspiration from British play “The Play That Goes Wrong”. Image credit: SISTIC Singapore
Prepare for a theatrical catastrophe of epic proportions, where "Break a leg!" takes a twisted turn as the Chutney Drama Society stumbles through their opening night performance of Pachae Bungalaa, Rettae Kolaedaa. With an unconscious leading lady, a corpse with a talent for staying alive, a flustered detective, and a butler who butchers words, chaos reigns supreme. Amidst technical glitches, forgotten lines, and scenery gone rogue, this riotous blend of Monty Python and Sherlock Holmes unfolds as a gloriously disastrous whodunit. Twin Murder in the Green Mansion is a side-splitting tribute to the British classic, The Play That Goes Wrong. Get ready to be in stitches from start to final curtain!
Enter a hilariously fantastical world with பச்ச பங்களா ரெட்ட கொலடா (Twin Murder in the Green Mansion) by Agam Theatre Lab from 24 to 26 November 2023 at the Esplanade Theatre Studio. Tickets are priced from $28.
2. Four Friends and the Hunter
Embark on a journey into a mystical Indian jungle with your family and witness the unfolding of a tale inspired by Indian fables. Image credit: Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay
Once upon a time, in a remote Indian jungle, four inseparable buddies resided – a sprightly deer, a chatty parrot, a wise turtle, and a quick-witted rat. Their harmonious world is disrupted when an unwelcome guest, a menacing hunter, appears on the scene. As they scramble to avoid his clutches, disaster strikes, and one of them falls into the hunter's snare! What's the plan to rescue their ensnared comrade? How will these pals rally together to outsmart the hunter? Discover their ingenious teamwork in a tale inspired by the timeless Panchatantra, ancient Indian fables that have stood the test of time.
Dive into the heartwarming narrative of Four Friends and the Hunter from 18 to 19 November 2023 at the Esplanade Recital Studio. Tickets are priced from $22.50.
Walk down the inspired path of FORBIDDEN through the mesmerising movements of Aditi Mangaldas. Image credit: Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay
World-renowned contemporary kathak dancer and choreographer Aditi Mangaldas takes a fearless leap into the uncharted territory of deep-seated apprehensions and societal taboos surrounding female desire with her electrifying solo performance in FORBIDDEN. As mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik suggests, female fantasy often unsettles us. Aditi's three-part journey—Awakening, Playing the Game, and Burning—unravels the themes of dreams, adornment, and liberation. You’re invited to witness her spirited reclamation of desire, transcending cultures, and reinventing contemporary dance based on Kathak. FORBIDDEN is an audacious, provocative odyssey in the liberation of women’s sexual desire.
Explore the realm of the FORBIDDEN from 24 to 25 November 2023 at the Singtel Waterfront Theatre at Esplanade. Tickets are priced from $32.
4. The Great Indian Mix – Kumar Spills the Tea
Iconic comedian Kumar is at it again! This time, with wisecracks and hilarious stories on classic Indian culture. Image credit: Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay
Step into Kumar's uproarious universe, where the iconic Singaporean comedian commands the spotlight with his latest comedic masterpiece, The Great Indian Mix. Embark on a riotous voyage across the vast tapestry of the Indian subcontinent, delving deep into its vibrant people, cherished traditions, peculiar quirks, and universally relatable Indian experiences. Kumar serves up the full Bollywood symphony and sizzling South Indian masala, dishing out humour on family dynamics, extravagant weddings, quirky superstitions, and the timeless clash of tradition and modernity, all seasoned with sharp social commentary and Kumar's signature wit. This show guarantees a laughter-packed roller-coaster ride that promises enlightenment and a hilarious twist on the world's most diverse culture.
Laugh your hearts out at The Great Indian Mix – Kumar Spills the Tea on 24 November 2023 at the Esplanade Theatre. Tickets are priced from $40.
Dance away to the beats of Bollywood hits and original songs by Euphonic Masala. Image credit: Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay
Get ready to be swept away by the dazzling spectacle of BARAAT, a high-voltage concert that magically transplants the vivacious spirit of an Indian wedding onto the grand stage. Dive headfirst into a mesmerising performance where the musicians and vocals of Euphonic Masala unleash a medley of Bollywood chart-toppers, complemented by their ingenious mash-ups. The fun doesn’t end there; prepare to be charmed by a handful of exclusive compositions specially crafted for this event, promising an indelible, utterly unique musical journey that you won't want to miss.
Catch BARAAT on 17 November 2023 at the Esplanade Annexe Studio. Tickets are priced at $20.
6. Bollywood Dance Workshop
Are you the next Bollywood star? Learn the classic moves of Bollywood dance in this hands-on workshop. Image credit: Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay
Ready to unleash your inner Bollywood star? Join the dance extravaganza with Royalusion's vibrant Bollywood Dance Workshop, perfectly suited for beginners! Founded in 2021, they're all about celebrating diversity and pushing artistic boundaries. Get ready to groove, move, and discover the magic of Bollywood dance from the ground up. But here's the twist – you won't just learn the basics; you'll be encouraged to sprinkle your own unique spice into the mix!
Get ready to hit the dance floor at the Bollywood Dance Workshop on 18 November 2023 at the Esplanade Annexe Studio. Tickets are priced at $15.
Revel in the vibrancy of Southeast Asia’s first Indian arts festival
You’ll be spoilt for choice amongst the many incredible events that Kalaa Utsavam has to offer that span across theatre, dance, and concerts for over a week. With an eclectic lineup of programmes for all ages, be sure to mark your calendars and jump into the exciting world of Indian arts and culture!
Top image credit: Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay