It’s a balmy Thursday evening in Mumbai. A screening of short films by independent film-makers is on in a garden. The indoor music features blues and jazz, while an artist exhibits his work or draws on the spot. It may sound like a scene straight out of a gallery or an art festival, but it is the F.A.M Jam festival at The Daily, a pub, being held in collaboration with event agency KRUNK.
“It’s a jam of films, music and art, a combination that is rarely seen, and that too in a pub. The whole idea is to bring art in an environment like that of a pub where people can relax and enjoy it,” says Dishant Pritamani, owner of The Daily and one of the organizers of the event.
F.A.M Jam started on 6 March and will go on till 24 April, with around three people—a DJ, an artist and an independent film-maker—performing or showing their works each Thursday. “It is not a conventional entertainment show that happens on the weekend. Thursday is a day when people start looking forward to relaxing and their weekends,” says Pritamani. “The shows are a mix of entertainment and also encouragement for the parallel art world that is growing in India,” says Sohail Arora, art manager of KRUNK.
For artistes and musicians it’s the initiative that is important. “It is about the encouragement of the bar music that is slowly picking up in India. Although Bollywood music is the most popular with the Indian audience, music, including techno, deep house and groove, is also coming to the forefront through such initiatives,” says Shubham Mehra, a Pune-based DJ and band member of Castles in the Sky, who will be performing on 27 March.
Mumbai-based DJ Varun Patra, who will be performing with his band AlgoRhythm, echoes these feelings: “All forms of music are beginning to get recognition in their own niches in India. As for F.A.M Jam, I’ll play genres such as tech house, techno, house and nu-disco.”
The artistes were shortlisted by Pritamani and Arora in February, soon after the idea took shape in their minds. “The artistes are also selected keeping in mind the casual theme of the entire event. While the musicians are more experimental, the movies are short, and also the artists will paint at the venue. It initiates casual, non-formal communication which isn’t possible in a gallery or a music auditorium,” says Pritamani.
“The whole idea of a single platform/night where different cultural expressions and people could come together and interact makes the performance more interesting,” says Mumbai-based Arfaaz Kagalwala of the music band Fuzzy Logic, who will be performing groovy and deep house tracks on 27 March. And while the music will be played inside, the outdoors will feature three short documentaries: Ravi Shankar (1970) by film-maker Pramod Pati, Sama—Muslim Mystic Music of India (2013) by Shazia Khan, and Folk Nations (2013) by Ehsan Kabir.
Mumbai-based artist Ayaz Busrai, 34, will exhibit around 25 works from his ongoing self-portraiture project called The Dirty Old Man. On 27 March, he will paint on the spot how he may look at the age of 60. “The project is a sort of diary where I document my everyday emotions and situations. Some of my sketchbook works will also be showcased during the exhibition,” he says.
While Busrai believes that a platform like F.A.M Jam “takes the frills away from the boring and formal gallery exhibitions and embodies the expression of today’s dynamic urban culture, open to accepting unconventional outsider art”, for Arora it is “an accessible way to consume art”.
For Pritamani, however, it is something that needs to be done sparingly. “You can’t have events like F.A.M Jam happening every month. People need a breather to come back. I will maybe do another such event after four months.”
F.A.M Jam is held every Thursday, 8pm onwards, at The Daily, Ground floor, behind Shoppers Stop, SV Road, Bandra West, Mumbai.