Friday, 14 June 2019, saw around 65 children and youth from Govandi, travel to the heart of the city, to perform at Apnalaya’s Annual Cultural Show, ‘Ye Bhi Hai Mumbai, Meri Jaan.’
With almost no empty chair at the YB Chavan auditorium, this concert showcased the depth of talent in Govandi, to an audience which included VIPs, media, non-profit organisations, representatives from the Australian and British Consulates, the Chief Minister’s Office, as well as the general Mumbai public.
Children performed a variety of dances, skits, mime and rap acts that highlighted key themes and realities of everyday life, in Govandi. In total, there were 11 stunning performances – highlights included a 9th standard girl, Saniya Mistry, who composed a rap act about the condition of Govandi; a group of students with hearing impairment performed a vibrant dance on their hopes and dreams; and a group of 6 youth from Govandi who wowed the audience with their charisma, talent and passion for dance, in a performance titled ‘An Artist’s Journey.’
The event was choreographed and directed by the children and youth themselves, who are beneficiaries of, or volunteers at, Apnalaya. A show for them and by them, the overall experience highlighted what children and youth can do if opportunities and platforms are made available to them.
Joining the event as Chief Guests of Honour, were renowned personalities Ratna Pathak Shah, an eminent actor and director best known for her work in theatre, television and Bollywood films; and Geetanjali Kulkarni, an actor who has acted in professional as well as experimental plays in Marathi and Hindi theatre in India.
“It gave me so much joy to see these children and even their family take part today. What we saw today was very special and whatever appreciation we can give, we should. A new perspective on Govandi was shown today; one only hears of the problems but today I saw the other side. We should get together and listen to them, “we can all be volunteers!”! What a message” said Ms Ratna Pathak Shah.
“I’m extremely happy that I came today, looking at these children perform it gave me so much energy and happiness! I know how much effort is needed to pull this performance off, what they did is brilliant! All the dialogues and dances were amazing! I would love to work with the children, learn from them and teach them whatever I know,” said Ms Geetanjali Kulkarni.