A definitive guide to Bengaluru's unmissable cultural events in 2021
2020 may have been a quiet year for Bengaluru's cultural landscape, but there's lots to look forward to in 2021. The 10th edition of Bangalore Open Air, Gallery Sumukha's 25 anniversary, Bangalore Little Theatre's diamond jubilee and more to happen this year. Here is our guide to the cultural calendar of 2021:
Bangalore Open Air
The annual pilgrimage for all metalheads in the country, Bangalore Open Air, was scheduled for March 2020, but had to be postponed. The festival’s 10th edition is now slated for December 4, 2021, and the organisers are pulling out all the stops. The fest will be spread out over two days and will have headliners such as Swedish black metal band Marduk, American progressive metal band Intronaut and Finnish melodic death metal band Kalmah, apart from a host of homegrown outfits. It will also have licensed merchandise from legends such as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, a first in India. Fans can also expect smaller gigs March onwards, says organiser Salman U Syed.
Gallery Sumukha completes 25 years this year. This will be celebrated with events and shows throughout 2021. The first show is a yet-to-be-titled show of drawings. The exhibition will be hosted at the gallery and will also be a virtual show. Some of the artists whose work will be featured include Bhakar Vadla, Urmila VG, Sumanto Chowdhury and Venugopal VG. The gallery will host another significant event in March — a solo exhibition of works by SG Vasudev to mark his 80th birthday.
In the last decade, Nrityantar has established itself as a well-known dance company for Odissi. Its founder Madhulita Mohapatra is one of the key names in the field of Odissi, in South India. Her first big performance will be a vir- tual showcase during the Shikshaka-Shishya Dance Festival hosted by Kala Premi Foundation, and will be streamed on Facebook in January 2021. However, it is Nrityantar’s flagship Odissi festival, Naman, that will be one of the highlights of the cultural calendar. Expected to happen in August 2021, the festival will feature renowned names from Odissi.
Bangalore Little Theatre
In 1960, city-based theatre group Bangalore Little Theatre performed its first ever play, a staging of The Prodigious Snob by Molière. In 2020, the group had plans to celebrate its diamond jubilee, but of course it all had to be put on hold. Now, as we usher in the new year, the group is ready to celebrate the occasion again. Some of their biggest hits from the years gone by will be on stage over the course of 2021. Expect titles such as Anklet (Silapadikkaram), The Ungrateful Man, Teahouse Of the August Moon, and Three Candles for the Dead. Another initiative by BLT is called Courtyard Theatre. A small crew of two cast members with minimal props will perform plays in intimate settings such as apartment complexes. Scripts such as The Court Jester - Tales of Tenali Rama and Exit Laughing will be performed through this initiative.
Stem Dance Kampni
This dance institute, which has been around for more than 20 years, has a packed calendar for 2021. The first event is the Basant Panchami celebration, held on February 16, when the institute welcomes spring with impromptu dance and musicalperformances. In May, it hosts its international event, Dr Maya Rao Kathak and Choreography Conference that includes an interesting series of talks by artistes, performers, speakers, scholars and choreographers from across the world. July is the month for Mayaarpan, an event when students of The Natya Institute of Kathak and Choreography and Stem Dance Kampni showcase their annual performance. However, it’s the 25th anniversary of Stem Dance Kampni in October that promises to be a visual spectacle with week-long live performances and interactive engagements.
Museum of Memories, Sandbox Collective/British Council
The aim of the arts project, Museum of Memories is to serve as a repository for untold stories that celebrate the heritage of women and queer identities in India. The topics of Indian history and legacy will be examined through the lens of gender, and will give voice and space to unheard voices. This virtual project, that has been curated by a team of young arts professionals Mallika Dabke, Charulatha Dasappa and Aakriti Chandervanshi, is inviting entries from young artists this month. The artworks could range from objects of personal sentimental value and a piece of literature or family folklore, to the stories of heritage. The projects could be on any medium and forms. Ten artists will be selected to showcase their work and the project is scheduled to be unveiled mid-March.
This art space has been collaborating with Paradise Air in Matsudo, Japan for the last three years. This
February, it will showcase work by artists who were in residency. The group show features a conversa-
tion between Indian artists Suresh Jayaram, Sandeep TK and Aishwarya Kumar and their friends at Paradise Air— Jumpei Mori, Shun Owada and Kenji. Suresh will present sculptural installations that represent his impressions of Japanese culture.