Entertainment in South India

  • Top ChoiceEntertainment in Mumbai (Bombay)

    Royal Opera House

    India's only surviving opera house reopened to suitably dramatic fanfare with a 2016 performance by Mumbai-born British soprano Patricia Rozario, after a meticulous six-year restoration project that saw the regal address returned to full British-rule glory. Architect Abha Narain Lambah combed through old photographs of gilded ceilings, stained-glass windows and a baroque Indo-European foyer to restore the three-level auditorium. Commissioned by King George V and originally completed in 1916, it's now owned by the Gujarati Royal Family of Gondal. Portraits of famous playwrights and musicians are painted on the dome-shaped ceiling and gold-painted wallpaper dominates the exquisite detailing at this Chowpatty-area landmark. It has seen a cornucopia of India's creative talent grace its stage through the decades, including Marathi artist Bal Gandharva, actor Prithviraj Kapoor and singer Lata Mangeshkar. After catching a second wind as a cinema hall from the 1930s onwards, the ROH fell out of favour as single-screen cinema conceded to multiplexes, and it was shuttered in the 1990s. Facilities include a cafe and jazz bar and the venue hosts musical performances and plays. Brief tours are ₹600 (just turn up when an event is not on) but if you want to dig a bit deeper, visit with Khaki Tours or local historian Simin Patel (www.bombaywalla.org).

  • Top ChoiceEntertainment in Pune

    Shisha Cafe

    It's a magical atmosphere anytime, but live jazz Thursday nights at alfresco Shisha are a Pune institution. Snuggle up on Iranian-style lounges downstairs or reserve a seat at a marble table under hanging Arabian carpets in the elevated main stage area. It's inside a nightlife enclave in Mundhwa called ABC Farms.

  • Entertainment in Mumbai (Bombay)

    Liberty Cinema

    The stunning art deco Liberty was once the queen of Hindi film – think red-carpet openings with Dev Anand. It fell on hard times in recent years, but is on the rebound and is now hosting films again. It's near Bombay Hospital.

  • Entertainment in Bengaluru (Bangalore)

    Humming Tree

    This popular warehouse-style venue has bands (starting around 9pm), DJs and a rooftop terrace. The cover charge is anything from zero to ₹300. There's a good finger-food menu and happy hour until 7pm.

  • Entertainment in Bengaluru (Bangalore)

    M Chinnaswamy Stadium

    A mecca for cricket-lovers, hosting many matches per year. Check online for the schedule of tests, one-dayers and Twenty20s.

  • Entertainment in Kochi (Cochin)

    Kerala Kathakali Centre

    In an intimate, wood-lined theatre, this recommended long-running arts centre provides a useful introduction to Kathakali. It also hosts performances of kalarippayat (4pm), classical music (8pm to 9pm Sunday to Friday) and traditional dance (8pm Saturday), plus early-morning yoga (₹400) and meditation (₹250) sessions and a range of short- and long-term courses, including Kathakali (from ₹650 per hour).

  • Entertainment in Mumbai (Bombay)

    National Centre for the Performing Arts

    This vast cultural centre is the hub of Mumbai’s highbrow music, theatre and dance scene. In any given week, it might host experimental plays, poetry readings, photography exhibitions, a jazz band from Chicago or Indian classical music. Many performances are free. The box office is at the end of NCPA Marg. Twice a month tours are given for pre-approved students studying architecture, design, sound engineering, etc – contact Shrikant Padhye (spadhye@ncpamumbai.com).

  • Entertainment in Mumbai (Bombay)

    Quarter

    The Royal Opera House's signature entertainment venue (besides the Opera House itself, that is), the Quarter counts unique spaces like an airy, glass-fronted cafe and mozzarella bar, a Creole-cuisine-inspired restaurant and, most interestingly, a live-music venue evocative of a 1950s art deco jazz bar. Tributes to Miles Davis and Latin jazz quartets highlight one of Mumbai's most exciting new entertainment venues.

  • Entertainment in Mumbai (Bombay)

    Prithvi Theatre

    A Juhu institution that’s a great place to see both Hindi- and English-language theatre or an art-house film, with the Prithvi Cafe for drinks. Its excellent theatre festival in November showcases contemporary Indian theatre and includes international productions.

  • Entertainment in Panaji

    Deltin JAQK

    Deltin JAQK has three floors with 50 tables. Admission includes gaming chips to the value of ₹2000, or ₹4000 with the premium ticket. There’s a lavish buffet on the dining floor and floorshow entertainment from 9pm. All tickets include free drinks until midnight (then free drinks only at gaming tables).

  • Entertainment in Panaji

    Kala Academy

    On the west side of the city, in Campal, is Goa’s premier cultural centre, which features a program of dance, theatre, music and art exhibitions throughout the year. Many shows are in Konkani, but there are occasional English-language productions. The website usually has an up-to-date calendar of events.

  • Entertainment in Periyar Tiger Reserve

    Mudra Cultural Centre

    Kathakali shows at this cultural centre are highly entertaining. Make-up and costume starts 30 minutes before each show. Arrive early for a good seat; use of cameras is free and welcome. There also two kalarippayat performances nightly. Schedules are usually reduced during the low season.

  • Entertainment in Periyar Tiger Reserve

    Kadathanadan Kalari & Navarasa Kathakali Centre

    Hour-long demonstrations of the exciting Keralan martial art of kalarippayat, as well as Kathakali, are staged here every evening. Timings may change depending on the season. Tickets are available from the box office throughout the day.

  • Entertainment in Mumbai (Bombay)

    Canvas Laugh

    A popular comedy club that hosts around 50 shows per month, with twice-nightly programs on weekends (most comedians use English). It’s 900m west of Lower Parel train station inside the High Street Phoenix shopping complex. Book tickets online.

  • Entertainment in Mumbai (Bombay)

    Wankhede Stadium

    Test matches and one-day internationals are played a few times a year here in season (October to April). Contact the Cricket Association for ticket information; for a test match you’ll probably have to pay for the full five days.

  • Entertainment in Panaji

    Deltin Royale

    Goa’s biggest and best luxury floating casino, Deltin Royal has 123 tables, the Vegas Restaurant, a Whisky Bar and a creche. Entry includes gaming chips worth ₹1500/2000 (weekday/weekend). Unlimited food and drinks included.

  • Entertainment in Munnar

    Punarjani Traditional Village

    Entertaining (though aimed at tourists) daily performances of Kathakali and kalarippayat, 7km southwest of Munnar. Same-day tickets are usually available but for the best seats consider booking ahead.

  • Entertainment in Bengaluru (Bangalore)

    Indigo XP

    Always buzzing, this huge venue hosts bands, DJs, acoustic musicians and stand-up comedy. On the upper floor there's a large terrace for dining and lounging. Also a good place to catch the cricket or footy.

  • Entertainment in Bengaluru (Bangalore)

    Ranga Shankara

    All kinds of interesting theatre (in a variety of languages and spanning various genres) and dance are staged at this cultural centre. Hosts an annual mini-festival in late October/early November.

  • Entertainment in Mumbai (Bombay)

    NCPA Box Office

    Box office for Mumbai's National Centre for the Performing Arts. You can also book online at Book My Show (https://in.bookmyshow.com).