Diwali ’19 is a month-long affair for Toronto desis with celebrations spilling into Nov. ’19

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Image shows an artist with guitar singing. The singer is a member of Junoon, a sufi-rock band.
Junoon or the “Sultans of Sufi Rock” as they are known, will perform in Toronto, Friday, Nov. 1 at the CAA Centre, 7575 Kennedy Rd. S. Brampton at 8 p.m. Photo courtesy: the web.

Friday, Nov. 1

Event: Junoon: Live in Concert

Details: Brian O’Connell, Ali Azmat and Salman Ahmed, known as “Sultans of Sufi Rock” will perform at the CAA Centre (formerly the Powerade Centre), 7575 Kennedy Rd. S. at 8 p.m.
Contact: For tickets, visit here.

Swayamvar, a singles event for South Asians looking to get married will take place at the Novotel Hotel in Mississauga, 3670 Hurontario St. on Saturday, Nov. 2.

Saturday, Nov. 2

Event: Swayamvar – in Toronto

Details: This singles event for South Asian suitors interested in finding a life partner will take place at the Novotel Hotel Mississauga, 3670 Hurontario St. Mississauga at 1:40 p.m.
Contact: For more details, contact here.

Sunday, Nov. 3

Event: Royal Diwali Bash

Details: The Royalton will host its Royal Diwali Bash at 8201 Weston Rd. Woodbridge, Ont. at 5 p.m. with an indoor fire show, dancing, live music, food, etc.
Contact: For more information, visit here.

Event: Diwali Celebrations at Chinmaya Mission

Details: The Chinmaya Vedanta Heritage Centre, 8832 The Gore Rd. will celebrate Diwali with Glories of Ramayana with Swami Prakashananda, Head of Chinmaya Mission, Trinidad Soul-touching bhajans and devotional dances, preeti bhoj and fireworks.
Contact: For more information, visit here.

Saturday, Nov. 9

Event: Sapan Vermal & Angad Singh

After touring across the world and raking in over 50 million views on the internet, East India Comedy’s Sapan Vermal and Angad Singh Ranyal are bringing their laughs from India. The show takes place at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, 27 Front St. E. at 7 p.m.

Contact: For tickets and more visit here.

Sunday, Nov. 10

Event: Lavish Dulhan: Bridal Show

Details: Lavish Dulhan Bridal Show, a bridal show will take place at the Embassy Grand Convention Centre, 8800 The Gore Rd. Brampton, Ont. at 12 noon to 7 p.m. and will include: 100 vendors, an interactive are, couture fashion show, etc.
Contact: For more, visit here.

Well-known Indian mystic Sadhguru will be in Toronto to deliver his course, Inner Engineering on Monday, Nov. 11-12 at the Metro Convention Centre, Toronto.

Monday, Nov. 11-12

Event: Inner Engineering by Sadhguru

Details: As there is a science and technology to create external well-being, there is a whole dimension of science and technology for inner well-being ~ Sadhguru. Inner Engineering is a technology for well-being derived from the science of Yoga. It is offered as a comprehensive course for personal growth that brings about a shift in the way you perceive and experience life, your work, and the world that you live in. This two-day event will take place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 222 Bremner Blvd. Toronto.
Contact: For tickets, course details, etc. visit here.

Saturday, Nov. 16

Event: Atif Aslam Concert

Details: Pakistani playback singer/composer Atif Aslam, well-known for his Bollywood chartbusters such as Bas ek pal (Tere Bin), khair Mangda (A Flying Jatt), Hoor (Hindi Medium), etc. will perform at the Paramount Centre, 5600 Rose Cherry Pl. Mississauga at 7:30 p.m.
Contact: For tickets, etc. visit here.

Saturday, Nov. 23

Event: Taj Express: Bollywood Musical Revue

Details: Taj Express: The Bollywood Musical Revue will run at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, 27 Front St. E. There are several shows. The musical is set to the soundtrack featuring the songs of  A.R. Rahman. It’s a show filled with colour, high-energy music and dance, choreographed by Vaibhavi Merchant and directed by Shru Merchant.

Contact: For showtimes and tickets, visit here.

Event: Expressions: An evening of geets & ghazals

Details: This musical evening will take place at Swagat Banquet Hall, 6991 Millcreek Dr., Mississauga at 7 p.m.
Contact: For tickets and more, visit here.

Atif Aslam, well-known Pakistani singer, composer and actor will perform at the Paramount Centre, 5600 Rose Cherry Pl, Mississauga, on Saturday, Nov. 16.

Vidya Vox’s music blends western pop sounds with Indian notes

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Vidya Vox (Vidya Iyer) is an American-desi with over six million YouTube subscribers. Her mashups featuring western pop hits with Indian notes. In July 2019, Vidya Vox released her album Mad Dreams.

After I accidentally stumbled upon Vidya Vox (Vidya Iyer’s) videos on YouTube, I went on a devouring spree if you will, of her music for weeks afterward.

Every song I listened to demonstrated her incredible ability to meld western pop hits with Indian sounds. What’s more, her music is deeply rooted in her training as a classical musician. She sings in an array of languages: Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, etc.

Even though this blog veers away from the geographic mandate of Toronto Desi Diaries, I hope I can get away with it.

Let’s start with the basics, so, who’s Vidya Vox?

Vidya’s an Indo-American artist and YouTube sensation. Her videos have amassed huge followings (600 million views and over six million subscribers). She made her debut on YouTube in 2015, since then she has had dozens of chartbusters. In 2017, Vidya dropped her debut EP of original songs in Kuthu Fire.

While on a pre-med track at George Washington University, Vidya began to indulge in her passion for music. She did so by posting YouTube videos. Upon graduation, Vidya took the leap and decided to pursue a music career full time.

With over 153 million views, one of Vidya’s most successful videos, Be Free, is an original song from Kuthu Fire. This song is mixed with the Malayalam folk song “Pallivaalu Bhadravattakam.” Vidya’s mashups have since gained worldwide recognition from the likes of Major Lazer, Diplo & Hrithik Roshan.

This Kerala boat song is my favourite. It evokes memories of my childhood.

What’s new with Vidya’s music?

In July this year, Vidya released Mad Dreams. This album features five original songs (songs written by Vidya and composer Shanker Tucker) that exhibit the American desi’s ease in both worlds —U.S. and India.

In her own words: Vidya Vox

About Mad Dreams

Growing up in the west as a first-generation Indian-American, I always felt like I was living a double life.

At home, I was immersed in a traditional Indian culture, eating dosas, singing Carnatic music, and listening to A.R. Rahman, and the second I stepped on my school bus, I would eat pizza and listen to Destiny’s Child and Backstreet Boys. At school, I was an outcast and felt embarrassed about being different. Mad Dreams represents a pivotal time in my journey to reclaim and embrace my bicultural identity while sharing messages of hope and empowerment.

Here’s what she says on each of the five tracks

Appadi Podu Di

Is incredibly personal. As only 1 of 2 Indian kids in middle school, the other kids had many questions for me. ‘Does your house smell like curry?’ ‘Why are your elbows so dark?’ All questions were about why I looked different. To this day, we are sold products and images to cover these “differences.” I took all the things that were said to me and reclaimed them in this song. My favorite line is Dark knees, dark eyes, no powder, my sun-filled skin holds power. The lyric Appadi Podu Di, in Tamil literally translates to “Give it back!” and my uncle often said it to me growing up as a reaction to one of my snarky comebacks. As a South Asian woman, this song is an anthem about loving the skin you’re in.

Indo-American singer/songwriter has amassed some six million followers on her YouTube channel. Vidya Vox released Mad Dreams, an intensely personal album featuring five songs. Image courtesy, Vidya Vox.com

Mad Dreams

was inspired by the story of Indian goddess Parvati, who was doing penance to gain the affections of Lord Shiva, the Destroyer and Lord of Dance. The mridangam and chalanga dance bell sound in the chorus are traditional sounds used in traditional Shiva songs. Hearing this story growing up, Parvati’s concentration always amazed me. I always wondered, would this infatuation and chase drive her mad? She’s in her world of mad dreams. 

Butterfly

is about the process of taking risks and finding your footing, which is difficult but always worthwhile. I always feel better in the end. I tend to hide in my cocoon when the going gets tough. However, it’s important to be proud of who you are, take a leap of faith and find your wings!


Lose the Night

is about a particular memory of when Shankar and I were visiting New Delhi many years ago. We were in an auto-rickshaw driving around at night. It was hot and hazy, and although the streets were crowded, it felt like we were the only two people in the city. 

Look at the Lights

Brings me back to when I was living with my mom. I had big dreams of moving to Los Angeles. Some days, I felt that I’d never be able to leave home. Other days, I was more hopeful. Making the move to Los Angeles was life-changing, but once the lights went out, I still missed home. The instrumental sarangi line that echoes throughout the chorus represents a longing for home, wherever you may be. 

Mad Dreams is available on iTunes, Spotify, and all streaming platforms.

Happy Dussehra, Thanksgiving, and Diwali 2019, Toronto

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Hindus across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA will celebrate Dussehera 2019 and Diwali across various venues. Photo: Pixabay

Saturday, Oct. 5

Event: Navratri Raas Garba 2019

Details: Saptak Musical Group will host a Navratri Raas Garba at the Mississauga Secondary School, 550 Courtneypark Dr., Mississauga from 6:30 p.m. onward.

Contact: For tickets, contact here

Event: Diwali Razzmatazz

Details: Indo-Canada Arts Council will host Diwali celebrations at Mississauga’s Celebration Square from 2 p.m. There will be dance performances, musical concerts, artistic displays and more.

Contact: For more information, visit here

Event: Bhangra and Gidda in the 6ix

Details: Shaan Punjab Dee will host its annual Bhangra and Gidda competition at the Living Arts Centre (Hammerson Hall), 4141 Living Arts Dr. in Mississauga at 2 p.m.

Contact: For tickets, etc. visit here

Sunday, Oct. 6

Event: Shaan’s Love in concert

Details: Well-known Bollywood singer Shaan will be at the Living Arts Centre, 4141 Living Arts Dr. Mississauga at 7:30 p.m.

Contact: For more information, visit here

Event: Aaru Padai Veedu

Details: The Shilompoli Shethra Dance Academy will present Aaru Padai Veedu, a dance drama based on the six holy places of Lord Muruga. The event is happening at the Chinese Cultural Centre, 5183 Sheppard Ave. E. Scarborough at 5 p.m.

Contact: For more information, visit here

Event: Hariharan Concert

Details: Padmashri Hariharan, a Ghazal, classical and Bollywood singer will perform at Brampton’s Rose Theatre, 1 Theatre Ln. Brampton at 7:30 p.m.

Contact: For tickets, visit here

Friday, Oct. 11

Event: Garba with Gujju Rocks

Details: Jagruti Bhatt presents Garba with Gujju Rocks at the Brampton Soccer Centre, 1495 Sandalwood Pkwy. E. at 7 p.m.

Contact: For tickets and more, visit here

Event: Sugar Sammy – Canadian tour 2019

Details: Montreal’s tri-lingual comic – Sugar Sammy (Samir) will perform at the Rose Theatre, 1 Theatre Ln. in Brampton at 7:45 p.m.

Contact: To purchase tickets, visit here

Saturday, Oct. 12

Event: Svarita Garba

Details: Harita Desai and Rajan Desai will perform at the Svarita Cultural Forum’s Garba. The event will take place at Bramalea Secondary School, 510 Balmoral Dr. Brampton from 8 p.m. onward.

Contact: Cost of tickets is $18/person and can be purchased here

Saturday, Oct. 12-13

Event: Navratri Garba 2019

Details: Ma Ambe Entertainment presents the Sri Atul Purohit Navratri Garba 2019 at the International Centre, 6900 Airport Rd., Mississauga Saturday, Oct. 12-13 at 7 p.m. on both the days. There will be an Indian food festival hosted by Veggie Planet at the venue.

Contact: Cost of tickets is $25 + service fee ($0.75) and can be purchased here

Wednesday, Oct. 16

Event: Mandala

Details: Sampradaya Dance Creations will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Living Arts Centre with a kinetic work that bridges the gap between Tibetan Buddhists and Hinduism through music and dance. The event runs at the Living Arts Centre, 4141 Living Arts Dr. Mississauga at 7p.m.

Contact: For more information visit here

Friday, Oct. 18

Event: Diwali Dhamaka 2019

Details: K.C Group will host a Diwali Dhamaka 2019 at Bombay Palace Banquet Hall, 200 Advance Blvd. Brampton at 6 p.m.

Contact: For tickets and more, visit here

Event: Sid Sriram

Details: Chennai-born, San Francisco native Sid Sriram blends eastern and western sounds with his pop/soul, alternative music. He will perform at the Danforth Music Hall, 147 Danforth Ave., Toronto at 7 p.m.

Contact: For more details, visit here

Hindus will celebrate Diwali 2019, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019. Image: Pixabay

Thursday, Oct. 24

Event: Festival of Lights/Queer-wali celebration

Details: The Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention will host its Queer-wali celebration at 459 Church St. (2nd floor), Toronto at 5:30 p.m. There will be drag performances by Seema Dikshit, a bazaar and more

Contact: For details visit here

Jaipur Literary Festival (JLF)— Toronto will showcase the rich flavours of Indian literature via the authors

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Imagine being invited to a buffet on a cheat-day

That’s precisely how I felt when the good folks at C2C Communications reached out inquiring if Toronto Desi Diaries wanted to chat with any of the renowned authors scheduled to speak at the Jaipur Literary Festival —Toronto (JLF) ?

The event running Friday, Sept. 27-29 at Toronto’s historic Distillery District has dozens of author sessions with literary giants such as Amitava Kumar (Immigrant Montana: A Novel), Anosh Irani (The Bombay Plays: The Matka King & Bombay Black), MG Vassanji (The Gunny Sack), Vikas Swarup (Q&A which became the mega-successful Slumdog Millionaire), etc.

I confess I was l salivating at the prospect of interviewing some of the literary superstars whose pens have inspired millions of people around the world, including myself.

So, what’s JLF?

Here’s a rather apt definition of the festival on its website. “JLF Toronto recreates the magnificent spirit of Jaipur’s annual literary carnival bringing its inclusive and infectious camaraderie to the vibrant capital of Ontario with a heady mix of writers, thinkers, poets, balladeers, and raconteurs.”

In this blog, festival producer and managing director of Teamwork Arts Sanjoy Roy shares some interesting perspectives.

Here’s more from Sanjoy. Enjoy.

Jaipur Literary Festival —Toronto (JLF) producer Sanjoy Roy seen addressing the crowd at the festival’s launch. JLF – Toronto will run Friday, Sept. 27 – 29 at Toronto’s historic Distillery District. Photo by Tom Sandler.

TDD. What can Toronto audiences expect from JLF?

SR: JLF will bring to Toronto a flavour of what we do in many parts of the world. A diverse program reflective of our philosophy to address local writers and their issues of identity, belonging, migration, travel, food, philosophy, science, fiction, and poetry.

TDD. What went into the planning of JLF – Toronto? Will the audience get a glimpse of India via its literature, history, and the lineup of authors?

SR: JLF brings India to the world and takes the world to India. In the international editions, JLF explores each others’ stories and creates platforms for excellence and the written word.

TDD. Hosting art festivals in a world ravaged by divisiveness, political and religious strife and what-not, seems like a brilliant idea, how have you been able to make this festival economically viable? Relevant?

SR: Politics is a reality of all times, divisiveness too. What sets our times apart is the new narrative of hatred which has become the dominant voice. Art and literature are one of many ways to bridge the divide and bring to pass the fear of the other.

Festivals take time to break even and create traditional wealth. What they do is create intangible wealth and contribute enormously to local economies.

TDD. Who are your favourite writers? Anything you read recently that made putting the book down difficult?

SR: I tend to read 5 – 6 books at a time. I am presently reading William Dalrymple’s Anarchy, Namita Gokhale’s Things to leave behind, Sandeep Unnithan’s Operation X on the Bangladesh war, Anoush Irani’s The parcel and Sharad Paul’s book on genetics.

TDD. Can you share an anecdote or two from the previous JLFs? something that you look back on and chuckle or something that was profoundly deep?

SR: There are numerous stories – from lost passports and mislaid documents, to trees falling, protestors vowing to destroy us, controversies that are as old as history, incredible sessions where you learn and celebrate knowledge and so much more

TDD. One or two pieces of advice to aspiring writers…

SR: Write not necessarily to entertain but because you have the volition to write. Bury your ego and listen to your inner voice.

Post Script: The JLF has several free outdoor street festival and marketplace. For the full schedule, tickets, etc. visit here.

The Jaipur Literary Festival will make its debut in Toronto Friday, Sept. 27-29 at the Distillery District.

Judging by this long list of Aug ’19 events, South Asians Toronto have some great entertainment choices

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Flower City Bhangra will be presenting its annual competition, Saturday, Aug. 10 at 1 p.m. at the Rose Theatre, 1 Theatre Ln. Brampton. This popular event attracts teams from North America. Photo: Flower City Bhangra

Thursday, Aug. 1

Event: Red Carpet, Mosaic International South Asian Festival (MISSAF)

Details: The Mosaic International South Asian Film Festival (MISAFF) returns for its 7th year from Aug.1–4. This year, the festival will showcase women-centric films as well as stories of familial struggles, love, etc. The red carpet/opening gala will take place at Cineplex, 309 Rathburn Rd., Mississauga at 6 p.m.

Contact: For the full schedule, visit here.

Friday, Aug. 2

Event: Thyaga Panchakam

Details: Head to the Toronto Public Library – Fairview Branch, 35 Fairview Mall Dr., North York at 6:30 p.m. to listen to Nrutha Kala Kendra’s Thyaga Panchakam, a dance odyssey inspired by the Pancharatna kritis. This dance and music extravaganza celebrates Saint Thyagaraja and will take the audience on a spiritual journey.

Contact: For more information visit here.

Sunday, Aug. 4

Event: Taste of India

Details: “You have around 10,000 tastebuds, kill them all,” says the teaser for this sumptuous food festival taking place at the Nathan Phillips Square. The event will run from noon to 10 p.m.

Contact: For more details, visit here.

Thursday, Aug. 8

Event: Berklee Indian Ensemble

Details: the Berklee Indian Ensemble, along with Grammy-winning vocalist Vijay Prakash will perform at the Long & McQuade Performance Hall, 4 Pardee Ave. Toronto, for an intimate and interactive live to Air performance on Thursday, August 8 at 7 p.m.
Contact: For tickets and more contact 1-800-811-2400 or email events@jazz.fm

The Berklee Indian Ensemble will be in Toronto to perform a couple of shows. On Thursday, Aug. 8 the ensemble along with Grammy-winner Vijay Prakash will perform at the Long and McQuade Performance Hall at 7 p.m. The artists will also perform at the TD Mosaic Festival, Aug. 9-10. Photo: Submitted

Event: Qaawali

Details: The Qaawali Music in Contemporary Pakistan with Umair Jaffar will take place at the Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Dr., Toronto at 1 p.m. Umair will explore the changing face of qawwali, a devotional genre of music thought to have originated in Sufi shrines. Is the soul of qawwali fading? Umair delves into these questions and unravels the various interpretations of qawwali music in contemporary Pakistan.

Contact: For tickets and more, contact here.

Friday, Aug. 9-10

Event: Eid Bazaar

Details: There will be an Eid Bazaar at Pearl Banquet Hall, 1638 Aimco Blvd, Mississauga, ON L4W 1V1, with food, music, jewelry, clothing, etc. The event runs from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Contact: For more information visit here.

Event: TD Mosaic Festival

Details: The 14th Annual Mosaic Festival is taking place at the Celebration Square, 300 City Centre Dr., in Mississauga at 7 p.m. This year’s performers include: Ali Sethi, Vijay Prakash from India, Berklee College of Music Indian Ensemble from Boston, Shiamak Toronto Dance, Irshad Khan ensemble. and more. The festival runs from 5-10 p.m. on both days.

Contact: For the full festival schedule, visit here.

Saturday, Aug. 10

Event: Flower City Bhangra

Details: Dubbed as one of the most popular events in North America, the Flower City Bhangra is taking place The Rose Theatre in Brampton. The festival is hosted by Saath Foundation, a registered not-for-profit whose aim is to raise awareness about social problems. The competition will kick off at 1 p.m.

Contact: For tickets, contact here.

Event: Mississauga’s Tamils Got Talent

Details: The Positive Youth Development Committee and Mississauga Tamil Association will be hosting this talent show at the Meadowvale Theatre, 6315 Montevideo Rd. at 5 p.m.

Contact: For more details, contact here.

Sunday, Aug. 18

Event: Panorama India Festival and Grand Parade

Details: This annual event commemorating India’s Independence Day will take place at the Nathan Phillips Square from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Panorama India is hosted with the support of Consul General of India. Bollywood actress Lara Dutta will be the parade grand marshal.

Contact: For more details, visit here.

Event: Teeyan East End Diyan

Details: Navjot Thakural present Teeyan East End Diyan at The Brighton Convention & Events Centre, 2155 McNicoll Ave., Scarborough at noon.

Contact: For tickets visit here.

Thursday, Aug. 22-26

Event: Idol Ke Diwane Cruise 2019

Details: Enjoy five days and four nights of the cruise on a private chartered ship from Palm Beach, Florida to Grand Bahama and Nassau Bahamas. The cruise will feature Bollywood music, a meet-and-greet with artists and more.

Contact: For tickets and more visit here

Friday, Aug. 23

Event: Jonmashtomi

Details: Celebrate Jonmashtomi, birth Tithi of Lord Krishna at the Bangladesh Canada Hindu Mandir (Bangladesh Hindu Temple in Canada) at 16 Dohme Ave., East York at 7:30 p.m.

Contact: For more information, visit here.

Saturday, Aug. 24

Event: Sairam Dave live in Toronto

Details: International folk artist Sairam Dave will perform at the Sringeri community centre, 80 Brydon Dr. Etobicoke, at 6 p.m.

Contact: For tickets and more contact here.

Sunday, Aug. 31

Event: Maithry Onam

Details: Maithry’s Onam 2019 will be held at the Campbell Community Centre, 1050 Sandalwood Pkwy. W. from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Here’s a sneak peek at the highlights of the 2019 Mosaic International South Asian Film Festival (MISAFF) running Aug. 1-4 in Mississauga. Video courtesy, MISAFF

Jazzy B, Nikhita Gandhi, Yasser Desai, and others to perform at free outdoor concerts across the Greater Toronto Area, July’19

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Jazzy B, the King of Bhangra and his band, will headline Vibrant Brampton Festival’s free outdoor concert, Sunday, July 28 at the Garden Square. Photo: Vibrant Brampton Festival

Happy Canada Day! Here’s your South Asian event calendar for July’19

Monday, July 1

Event: Canada Day

Details: Dancing Damsels Inc. will be hosting a Canada Day celebration at the Albert Campbell Square, 150 Borough Dr. Scarborough from 5-8 p.m. This free event will include participation from Canada’s truly multicultural cauldron.
Contact: For more information visit here

Tuesday, July 2-6

Event: Toronto International Dance Festival Workshops

Details: A series of dance workshops in preparation of the Toronto International Dance Festival will take place at the Albert Campbell Square, 150 Borough Dr. in Scarborough. Participants will be introduced to different dance forms by different instructors.
Contact: For information about the workshop, contact here

Thursday, July 4

Event: Rath Yatra

Details: A Lord Jagannath Dev’s Rath Yatra will take place at the Bangladesh Canada Hindu Mandir, 16 Dohme Ave. East York at 7:30 p.m.
Contact: For more information, contact here

Saturday, July, 6

Event: Tabla recital

Details: Toronto Tabla Ensemble will present the 2019 Student Recital at the Westedge Community Church, 157 Lakeshore Rd. W. at 6 p.m. The concert will feature performances by students from across the GTA. Cost of tickets is $20/person.
Contact: For more information visit here

Event: Standup by Kanan Gill
Details: Kanan Gill, a well-known comic will perform at the Ryerson Theatre, 43 Gerrard St. E, at 7 p.m. as part of his solo show Teetar.
Contact: For tickets and more visit here

Saturday, July 13-14

Event: Festival of India

Details: Toronto’s 47th Annual Festival of India will launch with a spectacular parade that will cruise down Yonge Street, beginning at Yonge & Bloor, and make its way down to the lake. During the parade, three ornate, 40-foot tall floats will be hand-pulled by participants amidst ecstatic singing, drumming, and dancing creating a wondrous, carnival-like atmosphere.
Contact: For information about the festival, visit here

Event: Festival of South Asia

Details: Gerrard St. E. between Glenside and Coxwell Avenues is “Little India.” On July 13-14, the streets will come alive for the Festival of South Asia, a multi-disciplinary arts and food festival showcasing a slice of South Asian culture. Festivities run from noon to 11 p.m. on both the days. Contact: For more details visit here

Monday, July 15 – 28

Event: Visual Arts of South Asia Festival

Details: V.A.S.A. – Arts Festival and exhibition’s aim is to introduce the unique flavour of South Asian art with an underlying objective of bringing together Canadian artists from different cultures. The event showcases South Asian culture as it evolves in this country and integrates with Canadian values. The exhibition will take place at Beaux-Arts Brampton, 70 Main St. N. Opening reception is taking place on July 18 from 6-9 p.m.
Contact: For gallery, hours visit here

Monday, July 15-18

Event: Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi) in Toronto

Details: She’s known as the “hugging saint” and she will be at the Delta Hotel by Marriott- Toronto Airport, 655 Dixon Rd. Toronto, ON M9W 1J3. There are morning as well as evening programs, retreats, and Devi Bhava.
Contact: For more information visit here

Thursday, July 18-20

Event: Bollywood MonsterMashup

Details: This three-day family event is a celebration of all things music and Bollywood and its influence in Canada. On Thursday, the popular festival will kick-off the #BollywoodMonster launch party & comedy night showcasing a lineup of hilarious standup comedy acts and a silent disco. This is a by-invite-only event.

The public can take in two free concerts at Celebration Square in Mississauga July 19-20. This year’s performers are Bollywood crooners Nikhita Gandhi and Yasser Desai. Nikhita (“Qaafirana” from the movie Kedarnath) will perform Friday, July 19, whereas Yasser (‘Naino ne baandhi” from Gold) will take the stage, Saturday (July 20).
Contact: For more details visit here

Saturday, July 27-28

Event: Vibrant Brampton

Details: Organized by the non-profit group Arts and Culture Initiative of South Asia (ACISA,) the 4th annual Vibrant Brampton will bring two fun-filled days of music and dance. On Saturday, you may want to head to the Rose Theatre, 1 Theatre Ln. in Brampton at 6 p.m. to listen to the Indian Idol winner Sreerama Chandra. Sunday’s outdoor concert bring Jazzy B to the Garden Square in Brampton.
Contact: For more details visit here

Toronto’s 47th Festival of India (Rath Yatra) will take place July 13-14.

‘Why this Kolaveri Di’ actor Dhanush will test international waters in The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir

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The film based on Romain Puértolas’ best-selling novel, The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe, will hit the theatres in Canada, June 21.

South Indian actor Dhanush’s upcoming film, The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir, directed by Ken Scott, a Canadian filmmaker will hit the theatres in Canada including a few across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), June 21. Photo: Golden Ratio Films

South Indian superstar Dhanush plays Ajatashatru Lavash Patel or Aja in the soon-to-be-released, The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir.
Directed by Canadian filmmaker Ken Scott and co-produced by France, India, and Belgium, the film also features Berenice Bejo, Barkhad Abdi, Erin Moriarty, and Abel Jafri as well as Gérard Jugnot, Ben Miller, Sarah-Jeanne Labrosse, and Stefano Cassetti.

Distributors A-Z Films will release the much-anticipated film in theatres across Canada, June 21.

The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir won the audience award for “Best Comedy” at the Barcelona Sant-Jordi International Film Festival recently and was part of the 2019 IFFSA Toronto.

Scott adapted the film from Romain Puértolas’ best-selling novel, The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe.

 In The Extraordinary Journey, Dhanush plays a goofy street hustler from Mumbai who embarks on an extraordinary voyage across Europe in search of his estranged father.

During the sojourn, he finds love in a Swedish furniture store in Paris, but danger ensues when he also finds trouble with Somalian migrants. Though other twists and turns, Aja ends up in London and stumbles upon some fortune in Rome.

The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir by Canadian filmmaker Ken Scott features Indian superstar Dhanush. The film will be distributed by A-Z Films will be in theatres June 21. Photo: Golden Ratio Films.

“This film is a universal story that is a joy ride for every member of the family,” says A-Z Film’s Antoine Zeind. “Director Ken Scott has done a remarkable job bringing together many parts of the world and mixing in plenty of emotion through laughs, storytelling, and social commentary. I know Canadians will be very taken by The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir and I’m excited to bring this adventure to them.”

Here’s a bit of Dhanush trivia:

  • His first film was Thulluvadho Ilamai, a 2002 coming-of-age film was directed by his father, Kasthuri Raja.
  • Dhanush has starred in over 25 films and received the “Best Actor” award at the 58th National Film Awards for his performance in Aadukalam (2010).
  • In 2011, Dhanush received international attention for his song Why this Kolaveri Di

Read on as Dhanush speaks candidly to his fans and audiences about:

The screenplay


“It had a fantastic message to send out to the world, combined with irresistible humor. It was also the promise of a journey I hadn’t yet dared to take in my career. You rarely get the chance of being offered a role like that.”

On his character Aja

“He is a street magician. He is charming and can get out of sticky situations most of the time. But he is also a character who most viewers can identify with because he is truly philosophical about life – and doesn’t hesitate to take off on a mind-blowing adventure.”

Tamil superstar Dhanush (r) seen here with Canadian filmmaker Ken Scott during the making of the upcoming film, “The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir,” which will hit the theatres in Canada, June 21. Photo: Golden Ratio Films.

Film’s director Ken Scott

“He is an extremely pleasant director and at the same time, he has a very clear vision of what he wants. It’s fantastic to be directed by someone who knows how to take you exactly where he wants you to go, yet allows you to make the character your own. He encourages real teamwork; with him, I felt like we were building scenes together, getting inspiration from both his approach and mine. I learned a lot with him.”

Work method

“I didn’t have time to do readings or rehearsals, but in retrospect, I’m really happy about that. Because I was able to keep a certain freshness and spontaneity that I wouldn’t necessarily have had if we had rehearsed.”

Dancing

“It’s an art that is an integral part of Indian culture. I’ve done more than thirty films in India, and in most of them, I had dance scenes. Since I’m used to dancing on a regular basis, I didn’t really need to do any preparation for that.”

A different world

“Probably the most difficult thing for me was adapting to a world so radically different from what I am used to. I had to get accustomed to different work methods and a different shooting style. During the first week, it was pretty tough for me, but after that, I really had a blast!”

 You can check out a couple of tracks from the film including Jaadu Ka Pitaara and #Madaari song sung by Vishal Dadlani and Nikhita Gandhi and music by Amit Trivedi at https://youtu.be/-UPuJATvHmc.