by Shrutee K/DNS

Mumbai: With the end of January drawing near, one of the city’s most anticipated cultural extravaganzas was back with a bang at Worli Festival 5.0. Held over the 26th and 27th of January, this year saw the event mark its fifth anniversary with a ‘Worli Life’ theme, celebrating the vibrant cultural and social fabric that makes Worli special. Supported by the Shree Sankalp Pratishthan charitable trust helmed by Sangeeta and Sachin Ahir and organised by the Oaks Management Consultancy Pvt. Ltd (OMCPL), the two-day festival was a celebration of life, art, and music. Worli’s iconic sea-face promenade was transformed for the weekend, with two stages set up for musical performances, in addition to art installations, food zones, live games, and a flea market.

The first day of the event kicked off in the presence of Sangeeta and Sachin Ahir, and Rahul Gomes, Managing Director of OMCPL. Speaking at the opening ceremony, Sangeeta, a leading Bollywood film producer, said, “It’s fantastic to see all of Mumbai’s energy congregating at this iconic city landmark. What makes this occasion even more special is that it’s Republic Day, and we’re thrilled to see so many people here to honour this highlight in our nation’s calendar.”

A host of performers subsequently took to the stage, with variety enough to keep everyone in the crowd happy and moving to the music. The classical stylings of percussionist Omkar Salunkhe melded poetry with his music, while flutist and composer Milind Date had listeners swaying to a selection of ragas. Renowned Bollywood playback singer Hrishikesh Chury serenaded the crowd with a song in honour of Republic Day, as beatboxers Euphony and vocalist CharuSemwal, finalist in season 3 of Indian Idol, looked to the future. The night was capped off by a spirited performance from Angrezee Biryani, who made sure the crowd left on a high. In the midst of the music, the children weren’t forgotten as the mascots of ImagicaAdlabs were on hand to meet their fans and groove to the tunes. 

Day two kicked off at dawn with Morning Ragas, a show featuring Hindustani classical singerPandit Ratan Mohan Sharma, which served as a moving tribute and commemoration to the nation’s soldiers and veterans. The event subsequently kicked the energy up a notch with a Zumba session, with enthusiasts young and old coming together to dance their way to fitness. They were accompanied by music from the day’s performers, led by the upbeat tunes of The Dual Core Band, playing everything from classic hits such as ‘Beedi Jalaile’ and ‘Tare Gin Gin’ to the latest hits like Gully Boy's ‘Apna Time Aayega’. 

This was followed by the melodious Sufi-western blend of fusion singer Shibani Kashyap, who delighted the audience with a tease of an unreleased song, a cover of ‘Chandni Raatein’, and the poppy hits of India’s first aptly named boy band, A Band Of Boys, with their unique blend of Indipop. After a weekend of music, food, and fun by the sea, the crowds headed home, with lighter hearts and a deeper love for the city they call home. The idea for the Worli Festival arose when a group of like-minded, culture-loving residents came together in 2013 with a common purpose – to celebrate the neighbourhood and city that they loved.

To highlight and share the growth and glory of Worli, and all that it symbolises: its rich cultural heritage, encompassing the old and new of the city; its potpourri of residents, from timelessKoli fishermen to the inhabitants of billionaires’ row; its unmatched location and stunning vistas of the Arabian Sea; and perhaps most importantly, the special place it holds in the heart of every resident of the city. And so it was that theWorli Festival came to be.


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