‘The Grand Theatre’, the dazzling centerpiece of NMACC
Beyond the National Center for the Performing Arts (NCPA), the Royal Opera House, Prithvi Theater and assorted venues – each with their own nostalgic associations and strengths – Mumbai has craved a state-of-the-art, world-class cultural hub for years. Well, that gap has finally been filled, with the massively lavish Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Center (NMACC) that opened today, March 31.
This multi-disciplinary center – half a decade in the making and located at the Jio World Center in the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) – is a marvel of four floors of state-of-the-art exhibition halls and futurism and redundancy from the Ambanis. three theatres. As soon as we enter for a preview, the atrium itself is enough to take our breath away and throw us slightly off balance: the space is surrounded by a massive NS Harsha installation ( seeker’s paradisehundreds of faces staring into the sky) and lead up to a large cantilevered staircase.
Nita Ambani, founder and chairperson of NMACC, says, “A cultural hub for our nation aims to preserve and promote Indian arts.” “I hope our spaces nurture and inspire talent to bring communities together in India and around the world.”
We are given a tour of the crown jewel of NMACC, The Grand Theatre. The mist machines and impeccable sound isolation of the theater give it an air of entering the sanctum. Above us, a programmable, lotus-shaped ceiling sculpts and changes colors via 8,400 Swarovski crystals.
The 2000-seater theatre, one of the largest in India, takes its plan and design cues from the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, which was originally designed by David Rockwell. However, there are also India-specific adjustments, such as the broad curvature of the auditorium and a steep rake. “For example, in Indian dance, the movements from the feet to the head must be fully visible to the audience,” says a representative of the NMACC.
Smaller theatres, called The Studio Theater and The Cube, offer a more intimate, bespoke experience, and can seat 250 and 125 visitors respectively (Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival, which is returning in physical form later this year, It will use these venues as well as the Grand Theatre).
Dancers gear up for ‘The Great Indian Musical: Civilization to Nation’, starting April 3
kicking things off with a production of Kendra The Great Indian Musical: Civilization to Nation, directed by Firoz Abbas Khan. A sensory journey through India’s own arts, says Firoz, could not have been staged in its present form without technological advancements. The production featured a live score by 350+ performers and the Budapest Scoring Orchestra. 3D effects are also achieved by dropping a scrim in front of the proscenium.
The director shared, “Initially, we wanted to showcase some of the best performing arts of India and trace the journey of these traditions.” “As far as the scale of the imagination and execution of this musical is concerned, the production would have looked very different if it were the theater we were working in.”
Initial events also included ‘India in Fashion’, a costume art show on the influence of Indian clothing and designs around the world, from Victorian England to the Hippie Trail, and ‘Sangam/Confluence’, an art exhibition that showcased Indian creations. has been displayed. and international artists such as Bhupen Khakhar, Rakib Shaw, Cecily Brown and Francesco Clemente. On display from April 3 to June 4 at a modest price, the series features more than 50 artworks co-curated by Jeffrey Deitch and India’s Ranjit Hoskote.
‘Sangam/Sangam’ set to kickstart art house gallery at the Center | Photo Credit: Mitsun Sony
Ranjit, a renowned poet, art critic and independent curator, is particularly thrilled about the future prospects of The Art House Gallery at NMACC.
“This beautiful four-story space is calibrated to global museum standards, and lends itself well to workshops, educational programs, and a changing array of exhibitions and installations,” says Ranjit.
He believes that The Art House – like the rest of NMACC – will enable India and the world to interact in an area of ”reciprocity, experimentation and sharing”.