Go pagal Toronto, Holi hai!

Standard
Rang Barse

KC Group Canada will celebrate Holi at the National Banquet Hall, 7355 Torbram Rd. Mississauga at 11 a.m.

Friday, March 10

Event: Holi Milan
Details: Hindu Heritage Centre, 6300 Mississauga Rd. will be hosting a Holi celebration at 6 p.m. Well-known flutist Deepankar Ganguly will be performing. Event includes cultural performances, dinner and more.
Contact: Here

Event: International Women’s Day
Details: The Punjabi Community Health Services (pchs)will host a gala to mark International Women’s Day at the Pearson Convention Centre, 2638 Steeles Ave. E. at 6 p.m. Five exceptional women will be honoured.
Contact: Here

Saturday, March 11

Event: Rang Barse
Details: KC Group, which was among the first ones to host Holi celebrations are at it again. This year’s event will take place at the National Banquet Hall, 7355 Torbram Rd. Mississauga at 11 a.m. Enjoy gulaal, lunch and entertainment.
Contact: Here

Event: Balam Pichkari
Details: Balam Pichkari is a dance party celebrating Holi at Moonlight Convention Centre 6835 Professional Crt. Mississauga at 6:30 p.m. Organizers say they will provide clothes for you to play Holi. Cost of tickets is $50/person.
Contact: Here

Thursday, March 23

Event: Dance Diaries
Details: Sanskriti Arts Ensemble (SAE) will be hosting two famed artists/choreographers Shampa Gopikrishna and Nishant Bhat at its dance studio, 2359 Royal Windsor Dr. unit. Also, there will be final performance at the Maja Prentice Theatre, Saturday, March 25.
Contact: Here

Friday, March 24

Event: Doule Gujarati Comedy
Details: Swar Sadhana Music Lovers’ Club will host a Gujju comedy/drama at the York Woods Library Theatre, 1785 Finch Ave. W. in North York at 7 p.m. Cost of tickets is $15/person.
Contact: Here

Saturday, March 25

Event: Indian Classic Music Concert
Details: Raag-Mala Music Society of Toronto will host a classical Indian music concert at McLeod Auditorium, Medical Sciences Building, 1 King’s College Circle, Toronto at 7 p.m. Featured artist include: Ronu Majumdar (flute), Harshad Kanetkar (tabla), S.V. Ramani (mridangam) and U. Rajesh (mandolin).
Contact: Here 

Event: Let’s Nach
Details: Gurdeep Ubhi’s annual fundraiser to support of Mt. Sinai Hospital will take place at Chandini Convention Centre, 5 Gateway Blvd. Brampton at 6 p.m. Cost of tickets is $40/person (adult).
Contact: Here 

Advertisements

Anarkali’s lead actor Kiran Rai basks in the show’s success

Standard

Kiran Rai

Kiran Rai, who plays Anarkali, the lead actor in hit web series by the same name, also edits the episodes. Photo by Baljit Singh.

Behind the scenes of Anarkali

Through the making of two seasons of Anarkali, Rakhi and Kiran learned a ton of lessons.

Their guerrilla-style filmmaking: shooting each episode, spending hours editing it and then uploading the edition on YouTube, though not terribly efficient, was effective.

So, after the success of the first season, Rakhi and Kiran Rai (KayRay) decided on a more organized approach. Instead of flying by the seat of their pants, they shot and edited all of the episodes of season two in advance. Then, they confidently announced a date for the season opener.

Except, few weeks before the D-day, the hard drive crashed.

So, they scrambled, yes, guerrilla style, to meet the deadline. Ah well.

KayRay as Anarkali

Kiran Rai or KayRay has studied film, theatre and television and film making and was doing this and that, when Anarkali catapulted her into the stratosphere of success.

This Bramptonian incidentally also happens to be social media celebrity. Her video blogs (kayray) have more than 1 million views and she has racked up some 37,000 followers on Instagram.

Kiran believes the web series’ success can be traced to its honest narrative. We all know truth has its own unique taste, but telling it needs a bit of chutzpah.

“There was a lack of images and stories in our community about the truth behind brown women’s lives. We told it honestly and that’s why it’s a success,” Kiran says. “Even in Bollywood, the stories are more in the realm of fantasy than a reality. The stories told in Bollywood are not authentic to our experiences…”

“People are hungry and they want more (content that reflects their lives),” she continued. “People that watch Anarkali are not just young women, but men, queer folks and everyone else as well.”

Kiran’s stock as an actor appears to have risen exponentially with the show’s success. People are now offering her roles that have a bit of meat whereas, before, she relied on making her own films and starring in them to show off her versatility.

A trip to L.A. some years ago, convinced Kiran, she should dive into the deep end of acting, instead of dabbling in it.

“There weren’t enough people my age doing it (acting),” she said on why she was hesitant before. “Everyone around me said, acting wasn’t realistic and that I wouldn’t be able to make a livelihood, instead, I should do it as a hobby…”

Once she decided to pursue acting, Kiran signed up at an acting academy in Toronto to learn the trade.

Armed with all her knowledge, she then decided to make short films and start her own YouTube channel – kayray.

Anarkali2.jpg

Some cast members of Anarkali, a popular web series. L-R: Mandy KayBee, Gavan Anand, Kiran Rai and Seth Mohan. Photo by Baljit Singh

So far, this year, Kiran has been trying something new in front of the camera every day as part of her “Never Have I” series.

But, Anarkali has and will continue to have its own special place in her life.

“I have so many similarities with Anarkali,” she says. “Anarkali is a beautiful character who’s trying to find herself and she (like me) lives in a diaspora where two different cultures are constantly clashing. It’s nice to be able to resonate with someone that’s so much like the women around me.”

Kiran often gets ambushed on the streets by hard-core fans demanding she give up her foolish fantasy of getting together with Prince. It’s almost as if they have no clue that the web series is a work of fiction.

“I guess fans want to know why Anarkali is so hesitant to make the right decision (when it comes to her true love),” she said. “I think it’s almost as if they are asking themselves the same question, but through me…”

This is the conclusion of our two-part series.