Details: The MonsterWorld concert happening at the Garden Square 1 Theatre Ln., in Brampton is bringing a slew of high-energy urban musicians (Parichay, The Band Destiny, Flower City Bhangra, etc.,). This annual event has become the staple of summer. The Concert is free. Contact: For schedule and performers visit here
Eid Bazaar (Chaand Raat)
Details: PGA International will be hosting its annual Eid Bazaar again this year at the Swagat Banquet Hall, 6991 Millcreek Dr. in Mississauga from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. The bazaar will feature an array of goods such as food, jewelry, beauty products, etc. Contact: For more information visit here
Friday, June 7
5th annual Sansar Gala
Details: This celebration of Bollywood cinema is to support new research study for the deeper investigation of heart disease in South Asians. The black-tie gala will take place at the Paramount Eventspace, 222 Rowntree Dairy Rd., Woodbridge, ON. From 6:30 p.m. onward.Contact: For tickets and more visit here
Toronto Desi Soiree
Details: This event for South Asian (desi) singles by DeskiKnot is happening at Midtown Gastro Hub, 1535 Yonge St. Toronto from 8-10 p.m. Contact: For more information about tickets, etc. visit here.
Details: Brampton Soccer Centre at 1495 Sandalwood Pkwy. E. is the place to be to enjoy an evening of Garba and sangeet with Achal Mehta. The event will start at 6 p.m. Cost of tickets is $20/person. Contact: For tickets and other information, visit here.
Saturday, June 29-30
A World of Culture
Details: Diversity Tour presents, A World of Culture, a two-day extravaganza taking place at the David Pecaut Square, 215 King St. W. in Toronto. The event will feature music, dance, a global food village and more. Contact: For more information visit here
In their upcoming show, Rhythm Rewritten, happening in Toronto and other cities in Canada, the duo combine the timeless grace of Kathak with the intricacies of tap dance without diluting the sanctity of either.
You can watch their incredible chemistry and footwork, Thursday, May 16 at the Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Dr. Toronto at 8 p.m. This show is a must-see for everyone that loves dance, art, culture, and music.
“Our performance is all improv,” says Seema, who was trained by the renowned Chitresh Das with whom Jason created the award-winning ‘India Jazz Suites.’”
“What is incredible about Jason’s dance is his ability to focus and really listen to what’s happening around him, which he absorbs and recreates through his body,” she continued. “Even though (the energy), is coming out of the tap shoes, it’s, in fact, going through his whole body. Jason’s dance decisions are made in a split second…”
Sounds intriguing, no? Check out the video.
Witness the battle of the feet in Toronto
The staccato sounds produced tap shoe complement
the musical cadence of the Ghungroo (bell anklet) in a mesmerizing way. A fact
that the world was able to witness because Chitresh Das, a jazz aficionado, imagined
Kathak as a force that could easily blend with other forms.
In 2004, the American Dance Festival in
North Carolina invited Chitresh Das to be part of the line-up. The event also featured
a Flamenco company as well as three tap dancers including Jason.
When Jason and Chitresh Das jammed, they
both experienced an incredible connection, both personally and as artists.
“That was my first exposure to Kathak and I was fascinated by the rhythms, energy, storytelling and precision of the dancers,” Jason recalled with nostalgia. “Dada (as Das was known) was a larger-than-life personality. He had an incredible desire to preserve his style and promote it to the world. I admired that because in tap dance too, we strive for the same thing.”
And thus, began a friendship and collaboration
When Seema and Jason are on stage, each feeds off the energy of the other as well as draws strength from an enthusiastic crowd.
Case in point. Students across various IIT Campuses in India gave Seema and Jason rousing feedback when the duo performed on their campuses. The audience was loud, energetic and enthusiastic.
So, what can you expect at the Rhythm Rewritten concert?
Simple, an hour-and-half performance, from two stellar artists that understand music and dance and communicate without a word.
The show will feature two solo acts with
Seema showcasing her Kathak IQ and Jason exhibiting his outstanding abilities.
Then, the two will jointly perform together.
“It’s kind of like a concert but it’s also a conversation between individuals and styles (of dance), between cultures, time, generation, etc,” Jason explains. “We both build bridges within our art forms without changing it. Unlike a fusion act where the lines get so blurry that you don’t know what’s what, we use a traditional vocabulary to express a current conversation.”
Rhythm Rewritten concert features Debashis Sarkar (vocals), Jayanta Banerjee (Sitar), Satyaprakash Mishra (Tabla), Ian de Sousa (bass), and Theo Hill (piano). For tickets, visit here.
If you’re a serious film buff, not the Bollywood song-and-dance kind, but of cinema whose characters and storyline end up connecting with you on a personal level, albeit through subtitles, then, the International Film Festival of South Asia (IFFSA) — Toronto, may be just what you need. The festival running until May 20 at multiple venues across the Greater Toronto Area, kicked-off Thursday, May 9.
Well-known actor Manoj
Bajpayee (Satya) was among those in
Toronto for the screening of his acclaimed film Bhonsle. The film follows the unusual friendship between Ganpath
Bhonsle, a retired cop (Bajpayee), and a pair of Bihari migrants; a young woman
and her brother.
Bajpayee—who also co-produced
the project— talked about how the movie almost didn’t happen.
Migrants and migration
are hot potato issues in India (across the globe too). At least half a dozen
producers passed it because they feared the film’s sympathetic premise would step
on the toes of some stridently anti-migrant political leaders.
When the shooting was finally underway in 2017, the Devashish Makhija directed film, ran out of money on the 10th day, forcing a desperate, but determined Bajpayee to reach out to an old producer friend of his and ask for $50,000. The friend came through. The rest is, Bhonsle.
“My basic nature
(since childhood) is that I am very stubborn,” Bajpayee told the crowd. “If I
decide to do something, I go for it whether I fail or succeed. I was passionate
about this film (Bhonsle).”
“An artist is nothing without the vision of a director,” Bajpayee continued. “The director can have 25-years of experience or five or no experience at all. There was this director (Devashish Makhija) who had talent, a great script and a story to tell. This story is about a burning topic (migrants). And what’s unique about this story is that we’re talking about people who’re immigrants in their own country. Producers were wary of the subject and no one wanted to produce it…it was then I decided, no matter what this film will be made.”
Wikipedia pages are not exactly literary sources, but Bhonsle’s Wikipedia page is surprisingly well-written and detailed. It offers some never-published facts including one that says the director shot several scenes “in closed narrow spaces as Makhija wanted to ‘create a sense of suffocation.’”
Gurinder Chadha’s Blinded by the Light wows the audience in Toronto
Gurinder Chadha is
Dressed in a fiery tangerine and cream coloured salwar-kameez and sporting a cheery smile, Gurinder talked about her yet-to-be-released film, Blinded by the Light in Toronto recently.
The film was Inspired by a true story, based on Sarfraz Manzoor’s memoir, Greetings from Bury Park: Race, Religion and Rock N’ Roll.
Gurinder took on the helm as a director. The screenplay duties were shared by Manzoor, Gurinder and Paul Mayeda Berges (Gurinder’s husband). The film, set to the music and lyrics of Bruce Springsteen, captures the racial climate of the ‘80s in Britain.
Blinded by the Light is about how Javed (Viveik Kalra), a British teen of Pakistani descent, discovers Springsteen’s music, and in the process finds his own voice.
Gurinder’s strength as a director is unmatched when it comes to telling stories of the South Asian diaspora. In Bend it like Beckham, she wove a rich and deft narrative using two large strands: culture and soccer, and in Light, she replaces soccer with music.
“It seemed as if presently there’s a common thread (of racism) and a lot of divisions around the world,” Gurinder observed. “This film will hopefully bring us together as humans and show there are more things that connect us than those that divide us.”
Gurinder’s face lights up when she talked about how Springsteen chuckled during the film. When it ended, he hugged and kissed her on her cheek.
“He loved it,” she
said. “He loved it because he knew it wasn’t about him…”
Blinded by the Light is slated for release on August 14 and will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. The stage production of Bend it like Beckham, a musical, will make its North American debut in Toronto at the Bluma Apple Theatre, in downtown Toronto, from December 7 to 24.
For information on films screening during IFFSA-Toronto, visit here.
Thank you for your patience. ICYMI: This blog will regularly feature news, stories, and events about the desis aka South Asians of Toronto. Sit back, relax, grab a cup of piping hot tea and allow us to take you down the alleys of the city. Are you interested in guest-blogging for us? Do you have an event or concert coming up? Drop us a line or two at Toronto.firstname.lastname@example.org. Oh, it might be a good idea to subscribe to the blog.
Thursday, May 2-5
Event: Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD
Details: This event is for all things to do with books, authors, workshops and more. The Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD) will kick-off in Brampton (across multiple venues). This event celebrates diversity in literature by shining the spotlight on authors of colour. There are more than 30 unique sessions happening at FOLD. Contact: For tickets and schedule, visit here
Saturday, May 4
Event: Self-love & Self-care Conference
Details: Womxn Offering Wisdom (WOW) is inviting South Asian girls/women between the ages of 12 – 21 to join them for a day of workshops, discussions, activities, networking and more. The event will take place at Bill Hogarth Secondary School, 100 Donald Sim Ave. Markham, L6B 0R1 at 9 a.m. Contact:email@example.com for tickets and information
Event: International Film Festival of South Asia (IFFSA)
Details: This 12-day film festival will showcase predominantly South Asian films and regional cinema including short films, documentaries, and music films. It takes place at multiple locations/cities across the GTA. Contact: For itinerary/schedule, etc. visit here
Saturday, May 11
Event: Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega
Details: This charity musical concert benefitting Creating Hopes Canada will take place Century Gardens Recreation Centre, 340 Vodden St. E. in Brampton at 5:30 p.m. The evening will pay tribute to well-known music composers O.P. Nayyar and Shankar- Jaikishan. Cost of tickets is $20/person. Contact: For tickets
Thursday, May 16
Event: Rhythm Rewritten
with Jason Samuels and Seema Mehta
Details: This captivating new cross-art form, featuring Emmy Award-winning tap-dancing phenomenon Jason Samuels Smith and acclaimed classical Indian kathak dancer Seema Mehta will take place at the Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Dr. Toronto at 8 p.m. Contact: For tickets and more visit here
Wednesday, May 22
Event: Firangi Rang Barangi with Artist Meera Sethi
Details: Meera Sethi, a contemporary artist, who works in a variety of mediums explores the relationship between identity, dress, and hybridity, especially in relation to South Asian-Canadian histories and communities. She will speak at the Richmond Hill Public Library, Room A (second floor), 1 Atkinson St. Richmond Hill, ON L4C 0H5, at 7 p.m. Contact: For more information/register, visit here
Sunday, May 26
Details: SOCH, a grassroots mental health initiative aimed at empowering the community of Brampton with mental health knowledge and awareness, will be hosting its monthly workshop on mental health at the Cyril Clark Library Theatre, 20 Loafers Lake Ln. from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. Contact: SOCH on Facebook
Friday, May 31
Details: Aga Khan Museum this May. Gulzarish, an artistic display of soulful poetry and captivating music of renowned lyricist and film director Gulzar is happening at the Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Dr. at 7 p.m. The unique combination of music, drama, and dance will be accompanied by superb narration. The event has been organized by Indian Women In Canada (iWINC). Contact: Mini (416-727-9550) or Taran (647-887-2533)
April 16 – June 16
Event: IN5 Experium: The Golden Temple
Details: This immersive, multi-media exhibit uses multiple projection screens and music to create a world of make-belief, giving the viewer an immersive experience on Amritsar-located Golden Temple and the core tenets of Sikh philosophy. It’s currently showing at the Bramalea City Centre, 70 Peel Centre Dr. in Brampton. Contact: For more information, visit here
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