Mumbai is the home of Bollywood, film songs blare from every nightclub, autorickshaw, radio station
and music channel. There is also a thriving scene of classic rock and death metal, a burgeoning local
hip hop culture, a slow revival of interest in jazz and the occasional regional pop and rock act
performing in the language of their home state. The number of gigs and the variety of acts has jumped
over the last couple of years, thanks in no small part to new venues and a growing interest in new sounds.
India has nearly a 5,000-year history of traditional holistic therapies, such as ayurveda and yoga
and you can experience almost all of them in Mumbai. There are wellness centres across the city,
from barebones facilities like the Kerala Ayurvedic Health Spa, which offer age-old treatments to
swanky five-star spas. If you’re looking for one discipline that will have an enduring effect on
your body and mind, stick with yoga. Be warned: most yoga centres are utilitarian and spartan, so
leave the Louis Vuitton yoga tote at home and experience the science in its most unadorned form.
Mumbai’s local art scene started with three private galleries that began in the 1950s and, a small,
elite group of collectors. The number of galleries has steadily increased in the following years.
The galleries display the works of everyone from Raza, Husain, Akbar Padamsee and on occasion international
artists as well.
Apart from the weekly dose of new releases, Mumbai gets added shots of cinema from a handful of film clubs
and cultural centres that bring international cinema of all hues to the city. Mumbai also hosts three
international film festivals – the Mumbai International Film Festival, Mumbai Academy of Moving Images
festival and the Asian cinema-focused Third Eye festival.
Mumbai’s theatre scene is as diverse as the population of the vibrant city. There are a number of theatre
festivals in the city throughout the year, including the popular Prithvi Theatre festival. The bulk of
Mumbai’s theatre is performed in English, Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati. Gujarati theatre and Hindi drama
consist largely of commercial drama. But some of Mumbai’s most innovative theatre is Marathi, which has
a strong modern history of experimental drama. English theatre has a comparatively small presence in the
city. Yet it has a growing cadre of writers producing original drama and several theatre groups that stage
There are seven classical dance forms in India, but only three – Bharatanatyam, Kathak and Odissi – are regularly
performed in the city. While classical dance continues to rule the stage, the contemporary performances have also
found space in Mumbai and institutes specialising in Western styles such as salsa, modern dance, ballroom and Latin
ballroom dances have gained prominence. To break free from the dogmatic nature of the classical dances, freestyle
dances like Bollywood are immensely popular as well. Bollywood instructors combine the best of classical, Western,
folk and trademark jhatkas (pelvic thrusts) to create an eclectic style.
Restaurants and cafes
Indian cuisine is as diverse as the country itself and nearly all of them are available in Mumbai.
There are a number of high-end restaurants housed at the five-star hotels, but in recent years
a new breed of high-quality, stand-alone restaurants has emerged. Standards vary, but the best of
the five-stars and the new standalones offer food that compares well with top quality restaurants
the world over. There are new restaurants serving authentic Mediterranean and East Asian food and
outposts of popular international restaurants such as Le Cirque Signature and Maritime by San Lorenzo.
There’s a lot of experimentation going on too, with pan-Asian restaurants throwing together dishes
from across the continent, often with Indian twists. There’s no doubt that there has never been a
better time to eat in this city.
Gone are the days when things needed to be ordered from abroad, with all malls springing up in every
locality and international brands dotting the streets, shopping is can be a great experience in the
city. Colaba is king for kitsch and trinkets. Bandra is where boutique stores abound with an eclectic
mix of imported jeans and T-shirts, as well as home-grown designer-wear. Lower Parel has become a hub
of activity since its dilapidated mills were converted into prime retail spaces. The outsourcing boom
has also made once-sleepy Malad a hot shopping destination, with the city’s best-looking mall, InOrbit
and Infinity 2.
The 12 best things to do in Mumbai
Wondering where to start in one of the most captivating cities in India? Check out our picks of things to do in Mumbai. click here here to know more.