Brinda Muralidhar explores tangled ties in her debut film Knot Not!

Clash of values

Dilip Krishnamurthy (Mohan) and Jessica Seigner (Patricia) filming a scene of Knot Not! in Mississauga. The film recently made its Canadian debut.

The making of a movie

Theatre, acting, stage and spotlights are entrenched in Brinda Muralidhar’s DNA.

So, having her debut film, Knot Not! premiered recently to a packed house, was Brinda’s ultimate homage to her Indo-Canadian roots.

The 1 hour 44-minute film about values, parental pressures and seeking ones identity, boasts an impressive line-up of local artists, most of who are relatively unknown, but bursting with potential.

Knot Not! is about what happens to your family when the parents are not on the same page,” Brinda explains. “In so many cases, one parent is tied down to the rules while the other doesn’t give a damn.”

And that’s how the film’s title came about: one parent is committed to preserving the knot of the marriage, while the other is not.

The premiere in Brampton was a sold-out one. This shows there may be a yet-to-be captured market for entertaining stories told from a hyper-local perspective

Shot in the GTA, Knot Not! has original music scored by Vinayak Hegde and Deepak Sant. It’s produced by Brinda’s soul mate/husband – Gunny, who’s also the cinematographer. Incidentally, it was Gunny, who came up with the idea for the film. Since communication at the Muralidhar home is unconventional, Gunny enacted his idea in a short one-minute narrative. Brinda was sold. She took on multiple responsibilities: director/screenplay/dialogues/editor and watched the idea grow and grow.

Clash of values

Suniti Santosh (L) and Dilip Krishnamurthy in Brinda Muralidhar’s Indo-Canadian film Knot Not!

What’s Canadian film without a winter scene filled with snow, eh? Jessica Siegner told me one blustery winter day, Gunny and Brinda showed up at her Mississauga home after Ma Nature deposited some significant quantity of white stuff. They shot a particularly beautiful scene, framed against the beautiful backdrop of the Marilyn Monroe towers in Mississauga. I guess, it can’t get more Canadian than that.

The film showcases among other things, the stark contrast of family values from a desi’s perspective versus a Caucasian’s way of thinking.

Before this final version of Knot Not! there was an earlier one that was nearly 80 per cent ready, but Brinda and Gunny had to shelve the earlier version and re-shoot it all over again. Talk about teething troubles.

Initially, Knot Not! was supposed to be a 30-minute short film, but it took on a life of its own. This meant, the Muralidhars’ budget was shot to hell.

Brinda jokes the film’s finances are courtesy, “Bank of Muralidhar.”

The credentials

Brinda’s father­— Ramachandra Rao— was playwright and director, while her uncle (father’s older brother) M.V. Narayan Rao was a well-known stage and cinema artist/producer.

Canada however proved to be a fertile soil for Brinda’s artistic mindset because since she moved here, she has kept busy with more than a dozen stage productions in Kannada, English and Hindi. Brinda launched her film production company 1CanMedia Creations in 2013.

When the Muralidhars invited talent to audition for their film, they received dozens of responses. Brinda says she hated rejecting anyone because of a philosophy she inherited from her dad.

Her dad apparently would pluck an unknown, but eager artist from the neighbourhood to polish their rough edges and turn them into a brilliant theatrical gem.

Brinda says while shortlisting her actors to play Patricia’s role, Mississauga’s Jessica didn’t almost make it, but she had second thoughts and invited her to audition.

“As soon as Jessica walked into the room and said ‘hello’ to me, I knew that was the girl…” Brinda said.

Brinda said she started fleshing out the characters based on her actors as opposed to asking them to slipping into her vision. Dialogues and backstories were carefully crafted to include the artist’s mannerisms.

Clash of values

Jessica Seigner (Patricia) and Dilip Krishnamurthy (Mohan) in Brinda Muralidhar’s debut film Knot Not!

Knot Not! Who’s there?

The film is about Mohan (Dilip Krishnamurthy), a South India arrives in Canada as an international student. In school, he befriends Patricia Smith (Jessica Siegner) a Canadian who guides him through his search for his identity.  Mohan’s parents Srinivas and Padma want their son to wed Lakshmi (Suniti Santosh), the beautiful daughter of their friend Bhaskar (Nat Pennathur).

Mohan does not want to meekly follow the path paved by his father, instead with Lakshmi and Patricia’s help Mohan discovers himself.

The film journeys through many plots and subplots and through comedy, drama and insightful scenes unties the tangled web of human relationships.


Aishwarya Nigam to headline the Bollywood Monster Mashup Concert


Monster Finale

What: Bollywood Monster Mashup Finale
When/Where: Saturday, July 23 from 2 p.m. onward at Celebration Square, Mississauga. Finale events begin at 6:30 p.m.
Who: Aishwarya Nigam (headliner), Mississauga Orchestra, Culture Shock and more
What else: KidsZone, food vendors, Laser Show


Here’s a prophecy:

I can predict with eerie precision when the masses taking in the Bollywood Monster Mashup’s (BMM) Finale concert will likely go berserk.

It will be a Nano second after the opening bars to Munni Badnam Hui (Dabangg) hits the ether.

I am not a Bollywood movie buff. In fact, my quota to watch a Hindi film is one every few years, but I am an avowed Hindi music fan. The streaming app on my phone is the only thing that keeps me sane during my brutal commute each day.

So, I know Aishwarya will bring the crowd to its feet more than few times. What’s interesting is his other chartbusters: His rendition of Lut Gaye Tere Mohalle (Beshraam) that is incidentally on my playlist will be another crowd favourite.

Let’s get to Aishwarya’s bio

He won the Sa Re Ga Ma Pa in 2006, in addition to participating and winning other reality music crowns: Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander, Ek Se Badkar Ek, IPL Rockstar and more.


Aishwarya Nigam

Aishwarya has performed at more than 500 shows in India and abroad. The BMM will be his first in Canada. He has a debut album Ek Main Aur Ek Tu.

Highlights of the BMM finale:

  • KidZone: This activity-filled portion of BMM includes mini-car racing, kite/mask making workshops and more and will start at 2 p.m. onwards
  • Mississauga Monster Orchestra: Starting at 6:30 p.m., a string/wind orchestra, under the artistic direction of Vikas Kohli will perform a variety of retro songs with a new and fresh twist
  • Culture Shock: will showcase a fusion piece with Bhartnatyam, Bollywood, waacking (underground dance style) and hip-hop
  • What’s on? Tap! : This Mississauga group, a festival favourite, will tap dance to Bollywood numbers
  • A stunning Laser Show, food vendors and more

The festival is absolutely free. For information about parking, getting there etc. visit here.

If you like art that’s edgy, then you’ll love Vishal Misra’s work

Vishal Misra, an accomplished artist/illustrator seen here with his work. The Toronto accountant has successfully made a name for himself here in North America with his works. Supplied photo.

Vishal Misra, an accomplished artist/illustrator, has successfully made a name for himself here in North America with his works. Supplied photo.

Before you read on, I want you to:

Mentally strip all existing artwork from the walls of your favourite room; ditch the decorative curios, collectibles and what not crammed in the tables and sideboards.

Then, in your mind’s eye, visualize a Vishal Misra art (large acrylic canvas featuring a subliminal Indian theme) placed strategically at eye-level.

Each time I have performed this exercise, I have been stunned by how Vishal’s work can complete any space with its hypnotic presence. The room doesn’t need anything else to embellish it.

Here’s neat thing; one doesn’t have to be a connoisseur of art or schooled in some aspect of it to appreciate the lines and the stroke of his brush and the harmony of colours.

Vishal’s repertoire of subjects spans the breadth of human consciousness. Spiritualism, eroticism and street scenes from India are all elevated into abstract pieces that speak to you on a visceral level.

Recognize a whiff of Picasso or M.F. Hussain in Vishal’s work? That’s incidental. The Toronto artist/illustrator admits he’s self-taught and heavily influenced by the cubistic styles of the two masters.

During the day, this transplant from Mumbai, handles numbers, financial projections and audits. In the evenings and weekends, he transforms into an all-consuming artist completely lost in the pigment of his imagination. Yes, that’s a “pigment” not figment.

“As an accountant and artist, I balance two lifestyles,” Vishal says. “Between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. the left brain is boxed in with rules, regulations and numbers, but then when I am on the GO Train and I get my hands on a blank page, I feel can do whatever I want and let the right brain take over.”

Well, it was in the train Vishal realized the potential of his talent.

Vishal Misra, a transplant from Mumbai, has a deep connection with Lord Ganesh. His interpretation of the Elephant God elevates the piece. Vishal, a well-recognized artist commands four-figure numbers for his artworks and is well-known in Toronto. Supplied photo.

Vishal Misra, a transplant from Mumbai, has a deep connection with Lord Ganesh. His interpretation of the Elephant God elevates the piece to a subliminal experience. Supplied photo.

A few years after Vishal immigrated to Canada, he was on the train, doodling away and oblivious to his surroundings when a fellow passenger asked him if he would give her the sketch he was working on. Vishal refused. The woman persisted and then offered him $50.

“The accountant in me became interested when she offered the money,” he recalled. “That was the first time I realized that people would actually pay for my art.”

Born to middle-class parents, Vishal grew up in Mumbai. Even though his Dad dabbled in art (purely as a hobby), his parents believed academics was the only thing that mattered. And like every other South Asian parents on the planet, the Misras too wanted their son to become either a doctor or an engineer.

When Vishal landed in Toronto, he went back to school, upgraded his education and soon after landed a job with a well-known accounting firm. At this time, he began to reconnect with the easel and the brush and became a member of the Mississauga Arts Council (MAC). The consortium helped him to grow, network and interact with other artists.

Over the last eight years, Vishal’s works have graced the walls of numerous solo and group exhibitions in Canada, the U.S., Asia, Middle East and Europe. Some of his bigger works currently command four figures and an artist, Vishal is well recognized here in North America.
In 2005, Vishal met and married Anu Vittal, an artist as well and began to articulate his emotions through art. In Anu, Vishal found his muse. Sketches with underlying tones of eroticism soon began filling his sketchbook.

“I wanted to explore the idea of a human relationship and how it grows, evolves and continues,” he explained. “Sexuality is a big part of that because it represents an intersection of emotional and physical aspect of the relationship.”

Vishal then decided to interject contemporary and western-style elements to traditional Kama Sutra images. His fresh linear look offers a new perspective to century-old art.

Toronto native Vishal Misra took the traditional positions of Kama Sutra, an ancient Indian tome on sexuality and added a modern and contemporary twist to it.
Supplied photo.

“I wanted the sketches to be both evocative and provocative,” he said. “I interplay the interaction of various positions of the male and female form beyond the realm of black and white.”

In each and every piece, Vishal infuses his art with his interpretation of events. He begins by capturing an idea then distorting it so that the viewer sees in it what they want to see.

You can take a peek at Vishal’s portfolio here.