Toronto Desi Diaries is baaack.
It was a long hiatus. This blog’s purpose was always to connect me to my true passion, writing. There was a disconnect. I had gotten lost.
Anyway, the Summer of 2020—much like the year itself— is all about recalibrating, readjusting and gradually merging into the lanes of normalcy (whatever that is).
If there’s one thing the pandemic has taught me, it is: Life will keep delivering the same lesson until you learn from it.
This year’s, BollywoodMonster Mashup (BMM) will take place Friday, July 24 and Saturday, July 25 via Facebook. Tune in to Facebook.com/BollywoodMashup at 6 p.m. (EST) to go on a scintillating evening of dance and music.
Headlining the virtual concert on Friday, July 24 is Canada’s most popular transplant to Bollywood – Sunny Leone. Sunny will perform a few of her hits, and afterwards take part in a live chat.
Arjuna Harjai, a critically-acclaimed Bollywood composer/ singer of the Choti Choti Gal (Motichoor Chaknachoor) and O Soniye (Titoo MBA) fame, will also present a selection of his foot-tapping Bollywood melodies.
On Saturday, July 25, Meet Bros and Khushboo Grewal will take on the entertaining responsibilities. Meet Bros (Harmeet and Manmeet Singh) are the men behind chartbusters such as “Lamborghini” (Jai Mummy Di), “Main Tera Boyfriend” (Raabta) and “Babydoll” (Ragini MMS 2).
When you watch Nick Pandya’s excellent cover of Mere Sohneya from the movie Kabir, two thoughts will hit you simultaneously. First, his voice. Oh, what a voice.
Second, the cookie-cutter homes set against the backdrop of a man-made body of water will be oddly familiar. Yes, the video was filmed in a subdivision near Mayfield Road and The Gore in Brampton.
After months of being cooped indoors because of the pandemic, Nick decided to venture outside. This music video was a tribute to tasting life’s small pleasures— fresh air, sunshine and music.
Within the Toronto and nearby areas, Nick, 28, is somewhat a homegrown celebrity and a YouTube sensation. His covers of popular Hindi and Gujarati songs are worthy of a listen or two.
An alumnus of Bramalea Secondary School, Nick has performed alongside Shankar Mahadevan, Jonita Gandhi, Chinmayi, Sukhvinder and others.
“Besides my parents, the person who inspires me the most is Shankar Mahadevan (Bollywood singer/composer),” said Nick who did a show in Toronto with Mahadevan. “When a reporter asked Shankar where he saw himself in life, Shankar replied that as a musician and human being, he wanted to be second because that way, he could continue to learn from the person in the first place.”
Mental health and Music
Nick works as a psychotherapist. When he’s not helping alleviate mental health and addiction issues, he’s fully immersed in his musical career and running Darshan Entertainment with his Dad.
“I believe in having a balance between music and my day job,” Nick said. “My job gives me the drive and the motivation to do better in my music and my career. I use music as a way of self-care.”Nick Pandya, singer/co-founder Darshan Entertainment
Nick’s introduction to music started at 9 when he began taking tabla lessons. He studied the Indian skin instrument for 12 years and is acquainted with the elements of rhythm. This may be why his vocal prowess has that special something, an easy familiarity with the notes.
In 2008, he was the first runner- up in a reality TV contest judged by the well-known Pandit Jasraj. The contest, which unfolded over nine months, gave the audience a chance to know Nick and his vocal range. Soon after, opportunities came knocking.
Nick’s parents are his biggest cheerleaders. Their relationship appears to be one filled with mutual love.
During Navratri, Dandiya with Pandya (a second family business), is booked solid. Incidentally, Nick’s cover of a well-known song Moti Veerana by Osman Mir and Amit Trivedi is a viral hit. It has garnered more than 70,000 views on YouTube and is one of the most requested songs during his live performances.
“I think the most important thing with music is even though I would love to do it full-time, I am enjoying myself fully doing it part-time, and that, to me is the most important thing,” he says.
On BollywoodMonster Mashup
Nick says BMM is a professionally-run concert that continues to give him a platform to showcase his craft to one of the biggest audiences in the GTA.
Nick will perform at the BMM Friday, July 24.