Kalaa Utsavam – Indian Festival of Arts 2022

18 – 27 Nov 2022

Kalaa Utsavam – Indian Festival of Arts is an annual festival at Esplanade that celebrates Indian arts during the festive period of Deepavali.

Festival message

The Indian culture spans myriad art forms and genres that branch out from its long history. Presenting this diverse and extensive culture in Singapore is no mean task. Over the past two decades, Kalaa Utsavam – Indian Festival of Arts has been a champion for the Indian arts and this year from 18 – 27 Nov 2022, the festival builds on the relationships developed over the years with artists and arts groups, while also introducing new and exciting artists and art forms that audiences can look forward to.


In the unique position of being the first Indian arts festival with a multi-genre focus in Southeast Asia, Kalaa Utsavam has sought to be a catalyst for excellence by developing and supporting the creations of both international and Singapore artists through debut performances by up and coming artists and premieres of new work, all telling their unique stories. Keeping in line with that vision, this year’s edition will also feature the return of international artists such as sitarist Anoushka Shankar, and newly co-produced works by Apsaras Arts, Bhaskar’s Arts Academy and playwright A Yagnya.


Through ARISI : Rice, Apsaras Arts explores the importance of rice from a Southeast Asian perspective; Bhaskar’s Arts Academy collaborates with playwright Alfian Sa’at for Marabu – Footprints of an Artistwhich pays tribute to the late doyenne Mrs Santha Bhaskar; and upcoming local playwright A Yagnya’s Between 5 Cows and the Deep Blue Sea… which is directed by Alvin Tan will explore traditional Indian matchmaking and the struggles of a Tamil girl. Presented as part of PopLore – A Year of Singapore Popular Music in celebration of Esplanade’s 20th Anniversary, we welcome back the ever-popular Vasantham Live which will chronicle the evolution of the Indian pop scene in Singapore.


Kalaa Utsavam also features many exciting and upcoming musicians, such as Punjabi outfit Band Walle, Tamil group D.N.S.V and a night of soul and R&B with singer-songwriter Shak’thiya.


The festival has also had the wonderful opportunity of featuring many leading musicians from overseas. Whilst this could not be achieved in the past two years due to the pandemic, this year we are thrilled to welcome world music icon and sitarist Anoushka Shankar, collaborating with Austrian percussionist Manu Delago and our very own Orchestra of the Music Makers; Maverick Indian carnatic vocalist T M Krishna and his ensemble; and popular Malaysian hip-hop collective #PU4LYF who are primed to bring the house down.


We also take immense pride in featuring the works Can I Make You a Suit, Mate? by Singapore stand-up comedian Rishi Budhrani as he takes us down memory lane with a comedic monologue based on his father’s experiences as an immigrant from India, and The Indigo Jackal directed by Grace Kalaiselvi which adds to the list of popular children’s productions that were commissioned in the past few editions of the festival. The festival will also feature workshops, talks and a slew of free programmes for everyone’s enjoyment.


We express our heartfelt thanks to Kalaa Utsavam 2022’s Principal Sponsor, the High Commission of India, Singapore, and supporter The Silent Foundation. Having said that, no festival is possible without all of you, our audience and fans. We thank you for the unwavering support that has been extended to us over the last 20 years. As we step into a new frontier into the next decade of the festival, we invite you to join us once again on this journey of exploring and marvelling at the sheer diversity and beauty of Indian culture and arts.


See you at Kalaa Utsavam!


V M Sai Akileshwar

Programmer, The Esplanade Co Ltd


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