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Why Bandra is an emotion, and totally must visit locale of Mumbai

Why Bandra is an emotion, and totally must visit locale of Mumbai

Why Bandra is an emotion, and totally must visit locale of Mumbai
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By Pawas Jain  Oct 13, 2022 4:34:33 PM IST (Updated)

Despite its rich history and numerous cultural landmarks, the beauty of Bandra today lies in its extremely young Gen Z audience roaming around in Pali Hill and Hill Road, often thronging cultural events, art galleries and poetry festivals.

Its almost intriguing how Bandra in Mumbai has emerged as an unassuming centre of Art, Culture and Events in the last few years. Hailing from Jaipur, as an outsider, I had always known Bandra as a popular spot for upscale pubs, plush eating joints and hangout places. But, exploring the locality after moving to Mumbai was a pleasant discovery layered with art, culture and celebration.

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Historically, Bandra has been the home to the iconic Bombay Art Society housed in one of the most contemporary architectures of the area and the legacy of Mehboob Studio always stood as the strength of Bandra being the hub of performing arts. However, it would be naive to even imagine that this is limited to elderly art connoisseurs.
The beauty of Bandra lies in its extremely young Gen Z audience roaming around in Pali Hill and Hill Road, often thronging cultural events, art galleries and poetry festivals. Walking down Pali Hill, not only brings back the old world charm and nostalgia, but you cannot get enough of the beautiful houses, striking graffiti and modest art galleries.
Trying to understand this demographic, one walks down to the newly opened art gallery and event venue, Art and Charlie, founded by Ayesha Parikh. Again, to see a millennial who has previously spent her life consulting in corporates across the World, being the founder of an art gallery in the narrow lanes of Bandra, is a breath of fresh change.
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On being asked if Pali Hill was the first location choice for Art and Charlie, Ayesha says, "Pali Hill is at the heart of Bandra’s social life. It’s brimming with restaurants and bars, and now there’s more to do than just drink. It’s already a great gathering place. We hope people pop in to Art and Charlie to have a coffee date or come in curious for our new exhibit if they have 15 mins to kill before meeting their friends for dinner in the area"
However, it is quite important to understand the business sense and model behind such art galleries, in an era of fast technology movements. Ayesha deep dives into the business behind Art and Charlie and its future, "Our primary axis is fine art. At our core we are an art gallery and art sales are important to us as well as our artists. I strongly believe that there is potential to grow the art market, and it has not saturated yet. Art market as a percentage of the furniture / interior design market is much higher in the West than in India. US, UK and China currently reign in the fine art market and there is no reason for India to be lagging so far behind in the long run"
Interestingly, its not just art galleries that make this part of the city of dreams, so special and culturally oriented. You will often see groups of people collecting almost every day of the week for poetry open mics and literary events. One such upcoming and extremely talented Hindi poet commanding a massive social media following, Shubham Shyam says,
"Bombay has been supportive even in general, but places like The Habitat situated in the heart of Mumbai, have given an amazing stage to budding artists.
When open mics slowed down after the pandemic and artists did not have a platform to perform, The Habitat opened itself again for open mics in no time! I can totally vouch for the fact that if it was not for event venues like The Habitat, I would not be known today"
Hundreds of artists like Shubham Shyam have found their footing with a platform to showcase their talent in these beautiful lanes of Bandra.
Drum circles at The Stairs, also known at St. Stephen's Steps at Mount Mary, immersive theatre experiences such as Prison Games performed by Ethiros Theatre Group, stand up comedy open mics and improv events at unassuming, but creative venues like Adagio just add to the charm of Bandra.
And trust me, all of the above just scratch the surface of this upscale, culturally rich locale of Mumbai. As found written in a very popular cafe at Carter Road, "Bandra is an Emotion". So don't miss to take a walk around Pali Hill in Bandra West, next time you are in Mumbai.
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