Stars from Bollywood, Hollywood and beyond rubbed shoulders with the who’s who from around the world to mark the opening of Mumbai’s newest cultural hotspot – the Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre (NMACC).
International fashion icons and global Indian celebrities collided with sports stars and political and business bigwigs to welcome the brand-new multi-disciplinary cultural space – for days of festivities over the weekend.
Dubbed a “sensory journey of India’s cultural history through costume, performing and visual arts”, the cultural centre has been created around the vision of founder Nita Ambani to preserve and promote Indian arts. "An ode to our nation, the Cultural Centre aims to preserve and promote Indian arts. I hope our spaces nurture and inspire talent, bringing together communities from across India and the globe," says Nita Ambani, the wife of Indian business mogul Mukesh Ambani.
The gala launch featured blockbuster shows over the course of three days – a musical theatrical extravaganza called 'The Great Indian Musical: Civilization to Nation'; a costume art exhibition called 'India in Fashion'; and a visual art show called 'Sangam/Confluence'. The aim was to showcase the diversity of India's cultural traditions and their impact on the world while showcasing the diversity of spaces at the Cultural Centre.
The Great Indian Musical
Dubbed India's biggest-ever musical, it had a line-up of exceptional Indian talent along with a Tony and Emmy award-winning crew, conceived and directed by Feroz Abbas Khan. The visual spectacle featured over 1,100 costumes designed by celebrated fashion designer Manish Malhotra.
India in Fashion
Curated by prolific author and costume expert Hamish Bowles and designed by award-winning exhibition designer Patrick Kinmonth along with Rooshad Shroff, this exhibition showcased over 140 pieces of costume documenting India's impact on the global fashionable imagination.
The India-inspired pieces have been sourced from some of the biggest museums and unseen personal collections from around the globe. The exhibition's spectacular set featured costumes from iconic brands such as Chanel and Dior to key historical pieces dating back to the 18th century.
Hollywood star Penelope Cruz looked resplendent in a pink gown and greeted the shutterbugs with 'Gracia' – Thank You in Spanish. She was joined by fellow Hollywood star Tom Holland and the glitterati of the fashion world – supermodel Gigi Hadid and designer Law Roach. 'Spider-Man' star Zendaya turned heads with her look in a blue sequined saree and her namaste greeting.
Nita Ambani said in her address: "Bringing this Cultural Centre to life has been a sacred journey. We were keen to create a space for both promoting and celebrating our artistic and cultural heritage in cinema and music, in dance and drama, in literature and folklore, in arts and crafts and in science and spirituality.
“A space where we showcase the best of India to the world and welcome the best of the world to India."
The Centre is conceived as an inclusive space, with free access for children, students, senior citizens, and the differently abled. It will focus on community nurturing programmes, including school and college outreach and competitions, awards for arts teachers, in-residency Guru-Shishya programs, art literacy programs for adults etc.
The Cultural Centre is home to three performing arts spaces: the majestic 2,000-seat Grand Theatre, the technologically advanced 250-seat Studio Theatre, and the dynamic 12S-seat Cube. It also features the Art House, a four-storey dedicated visual arts space built per global museum standards to house a shifting array of exhibits and installations from the finest artistic talent across India and the world.
(With ANI inputs)