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Back with a bang: India’s biggest cultural events return after two years

Jodhpur RIFF 2022
When: October 6-10

The magnificent Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur is all set to host over 250 performers, showcasing the best of Rajasthani, Indian and global roots music, as well as collaborations between creators, from October 6 to 10 this year. The 13th edition of Rajasthan International Folk Festival (or Jodhpur RIFF or Jodhpur folk festival) is being held after a two-year interval.

“Folk music is the music of the people, across generations. Jodhpur RIFF’s collaborations, in India as well as in other countries, have grown to evolve into an idiom of sorts for this genre,” says Maharaja Gajsingh II of Marwar-Jodhpur, the chief patron of the festival.

“More importantly, Jodhpur RIFF has played a key role in building a focal point for and nurturing this part of the country’s vibrant ecosystem of cultural heritage by providing opportunities, inspiration and livelihood for traditional Rajasthani artistes,” he adds.

Apart from music from Rajasthan’s Meghwal community, Shabad and Nirguni Bhajans and Kabir Vani in Madhya Pradesh’s Malwi Folk style, one of this year’s Jodhpur RIFF dawns will be ‘A Khasi Dawn’ with traditional music from Meghalaya. Audiences will also be able to learn more about traditional Mexican as well as Kalbeliya dance forms from Jaciel Neri, choreographer and founder of Moving Borders, a Mexican dance production company, and Asha Sapera, a reputed singer, dancer and performer from Rajasthan’s Kalbeliya tribe, among many others. The festival’s programme and tickets are available online at

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Dharamshala International Film Festival 2022
When: November 3-6

When filmmakers and long-time Dharamshala residents Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam started the Dharamshala International Film Festival in 2012, their main aim was to give the local community a platform to watch good alternative cinema. Eleven years later, DIFF attracts audiences from across the country and beyond.

After two years of virtual runs, the 11th edition of DIFF will be back in its physical version with a carefully curated line-up of exciting, unusual and eclectic films, along with interactive sessions with filmmakers and film professionals.

The festival will be held at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA) in McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, from November 3 to 6.

Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest 2022
When: November 9-13

Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest will continue its tradition of presenting leading personalities from among the world’s best authors, thinkers, writers, and artistes for its 13th edition this year. As per its official website, the festival will be held from November 9 to 13. However, no other details have been shared so far.

Mahindra Kabira Festival 2022
When: November 18-20

The sixth edition of the Mahindra Kabira Festival is all set to take place on the historic ghats of Varanasi from November 18-20 alongside the Ganga river. The festival is a tribute to the 15th-century mystic-poet Kabir. Presenting a rich two-day programme and an array of local cuisine, the festival offers an immersive experience inspired by Kabir’s teachings including evocative music performances, curated talks, guided walks, boat-rides and more in a city older than time.

As always, this year too, the festival celebrates Kabir’s philosophy and brings to music-lovers an unforgettable experience of listening to leading exponents of the Banaras gharana, folk traditions, Sufi, and the maestros of the dhrupad, sarod, sitar, and dastango—in a programme that captures India’s cultural matrix.

Like each year, the festival presents unique collaborations between artistes, cultural organisations and Kabir stalwarts. This edition will feature an exemplary line-up of artistes and performers, including the first female dastango, Fouzia Dastango, who will perform a Dastan-e-goi on Kabir’s life; a Manganiyar bhajan singer from Jaisalmer, Bagga Khan; sarod maestro Pandit Vikash Maharaj from the Benares gharana along with his sons Prabhash Maharaj and Abhishek Maharaj; contemporary folk band The Tapi Project; virtuoso string duo Shubhendra and Saskia Rao; and the stellar folk band, The Raghu Dixit Project.

This year, there will also be an abstract art project in association with Ojas Art Gallery, which will be curated by the gallery’s director Anubhav Nath. The project will comprise literature discourses on art, artistes, and their works along with exemplary art displays.

The detailed artiste line-up and programme will be announced soon. For more information, you can visit the website,

52nd International Film Festival of India, Goa
When: November 20-28

Like last year, the International Film Festival of India (IFFI, Goa) will celebrate its 53rd edition as a physical event as well on OTT platforms. The latter will participate in the festival through masterclasses and premieres of exclusive content.

Over the last years, the festival has grown to become one of the oldest and most prestigious film festivals in Asia. It is the only official film festival of the government of India. IFFI is an ‘A’ grade film festival accredited to the International Federation of Producers’ Association (FIAPF). IFFI showcases a collage of the best of contemporary and classic films from around the globe and welcomes an array of noted filmmakers, actors, technicians, critics, academicians, and film enthusiasts to celebrate cinema and the art of filmmaking through its screenings, presentations, master classes, panel discussions, co-productions, and seminars, among others.

This year, IFFI is scheduled to be held from November 20 to 28. Recently, the Union ministry of information and broadcasting opened entries for ‘75 Creative Minds of Tomorrow’, an annual platform at the film festival to be held in Goa. The aim of the initiative is to identify, encourage and nurture creative talents from across various aspects of filmmaking.

Those interested can enter their names at creativeminds/ till September 23.

Bacardi NH7 Weekender
When: November 25-27

Since 2010, Bacardi NH7 Weekender has delivered some exceptional live performances—from the mesmerising Maganiyar Seduction to metal giants like Meshuggah and Megadeth to memorable festival closing acts like Asian Dub Foundation, MUTEMATH, The Raghu Dixit Project and Indian Ocean. It has even brought some of India’s most iconic comedians from Tanmay Bhat to Kaneez Surka, and all the laughter that comes with them. One of the most anticipated music festivals in the Indian calendar, Bacardi NH7 Weekender is about the music, the vibe, and a true festival experience. The festival will be held in Pune, Maharashtra from November 25 to 27. The line-up has, however, not been declared yet.

Magnetic Fields Festival 2022
When: December 9-11

Introduced in 2013, the Magnetic Fields Festival is held at the Alsisar Mahal in Rajasthan every year in the middle of December. During that time, the royal palace turned heritage hotel transforms into a throbbing, pulsing venue to celebrate some of the world’s finest underground music.

Back after a two-year hiatus, the festival will have special showcases such as Four Tet Presents: Four Tet, Chloé Robinson and Anthony Naples, 15 Years of Hessle Audio with Ben UFO, Pangaea and Pearson Sound, and will also rope in exciting dance music acts like Batu_music, SHERELLE, Young Marco, Onra, Saoirse, Jossy Mitsu and more.

Shining a spotlight on Indian talent, the three-day festival will also serve as the debut show for many Indian acts like Elsewhere in India: Murthovic & Thiruda (live), Tyrell Dub Corp, NATE08 Sijya and also host a showcase of Indian record label Export Quality Records.

This year, the South and North stages also get new names—Jameson South Stage and BUDx North Stage. Head over to the festival app or website, to see the full release.

Serendipity Arts Festival 2022
When: December 15-23

The fifth edition of Serendipity Arts Festival (SAF) will take place in Panaji, Goa from December 15 to 23. This year, expect to witness over 120 curated programmes spanning across disciplines such as culinary arts, crafts, music, dance, theatre, visual arts and photography, among others.

In craft, Pramod Kumar KG will highlight the world of specialist books on the art history of India, and Anjana Somany will enliven the world of craft and its rich traditions of materiality through space-making. Quasar Thakore Padamsee will helm the theatre segment and the culinary workshops will be curated by Prahlad Sukhtankar.

Bickram Ghosh and Ehsaan Noorani will curate music with a wide range of live concerts covering a multi-genre range of classical, folk, indie pop, and rock. Geeta Chandran and Mayuri Upadhya will put together classical, experimental and contemporary dance performances and workshops this year.

Jaipur Literature Festival 2023
When: January 19-23

Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF)—considered to be the Kumbh Mela of literature—will be held from January 19 to 23, 2023, at Hotel Clarks in Jaipur, Rajasthan. In the upcoming edition, the literary extravaganza will showcase a plethora of themes and writers curated specially for its loyal community of audiences from across the world, offering an immersive experience of literature, discourse, musical performances, art installations, merchandise, local cuisine and more.
The festival will offer a representation of all Indian national languages and multiple foreign languages with sessions spread across five venues with over 250 speakers. The first list of 25 speakers released recently includes Abdulrazak Gurnah; Anamika; Anthony Sattin; Ashok Ferrey; Ashwin Sanghi; Avinuo Kire; Bernardine Evaristo; Chigozie Obioma; Daisy Rockwell; Deepti Naval; Howard Jacobson; Jerry Pinto; Katie Kitamura; Manil Suri; Martin Puchner; Merve Emre; NoViolet Bulawayo; Rana Safvi; Ruth Ozeki; Sathnam Sanghera; Shehan Karunatilaka; Tanuj Solanki; Vauhini Vara; Vincent Brown; and Vir Sanghvi.
Registration and access to the online edition of the festival will be free and open to all. Registration to the on-ground edition will be available from Rs 200 per day.

India Art Fair 2023
When: February 9-12

The 14th edition of India Art Fair will take place at NSIC Exhibition Grounds, New Delhi, from February 9 to 12, 2023. India Art Fair is a leading platform to discover modern and contemporary art in South Asia. Spread across a 16,000-sq-m venue, it is the biggest event in India’s cultural calendar with pioneering exhibitors from across India presenting some of the region’s most iconic artists, alongside select international participants who bring works that have never or rarely been shown in India. It also hosts an expansive programme of artist-led talks, performances, workshops and projects.

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