United Colours of Singapore: Rich variety on show at Kalaa Utsavam fest

Theatre. Music. Dance.

India. Pakistan. Singapore.

A colourful spread of aesthetics is ready to enthral Singaporeans this month at the Kalaa Utsavam, the Esplanade's Indian festival of the arts, set to open its 15th edition on November 18. With flavours from Pakistan and local artists in Singapore, this is more than an Indian festival.

The nine-day-long festival’s specialty is that it is looking beyond Indian shores.

In Concert with Strings featuring Meesha Shafi (Pakistan) Photo courtesy: Esplanade.com

Pakistan’s pop-fusion heart-throbs, Strings – Bilal Maqsood and Faisal Kapadia – will be joined by stunning model-singer Meesha Shafi, who made waves in the Coke Studio series that became a raging phenomenon on the Indie music scene, first in Pakistan and then worldwide.

Strings, who earlier performed in the Singapore festival in 2012, are only the light icing on the cake at the event that has a serious fare.

Stree Shakti by Bharathaa Arts. Photo courtesy: Facebook

Stree Shakti – home-made in Singapore by Bharathaa Arts, is a dance show woven around three magnificent muses of India’s epic literature – Savitri, Kannagi (from the Tamil epic Silappadhikaram) and Gandhari, the blindfolded mother of the Kaurava princes in the Mahabharata.

Veteran Indian actress Arundhati Nag takes the stage for the play Bikhre Bimb – Broken Images. The Hindi-play is travelling overseas for the first time and the best part is that it is being subtitled in English – which means nearly anyone on the island can catch it. Nag plays a novelist who questions her identity and rootedness to language after a novel she writes in English gains her fame.

Popular mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik

Popular mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik and classical pianist Anil Srinivasan will come together at the festival to bring out the nuances of how goddesses in Indian mythology wield influence – in power and strength and in more subtle ways.

These are only some of the highlights of the festival. But it’s quite clear that there is an unprecedented range of offerings that cater to various tastes.