Toronto singer Shweta Subram’s new single ‘Rasiya’ proves her vocal chops

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Toronto singer Shweta Subram’s new single Rasiya hits all the right notes. Photo supplied by Shweta.

With songs in Hindi and Tamil movies, performances at the IIFA Awards, Carnegie hall as well as funky YouTube covers, Shweta Subram still evades Bollywood.

So, why has this talented singer/composer has chosen to not move to Mumbai and pursue Bollywood? Read on to find out.

Shweta’s just-dropped single Rasiya clearly plays to her strengths: her training in Carnatic and Hindustani music, her musical IQ and ability to single-handedly shoulder the composition.

“I have been told I have a different timbre to my voice and that I should make sure the instrumentation does not overpower my vocals,” Shweta said in a telephonic conversation recently. “In Rasiya, I went with something that had an acoustic feel to it…it’s a song that can very easily be placed in a film.”

Playback singing has its moments

To cap off on what’s been an exciting few weeks, Shweta’s rendition Mella Mella (composed by Ghibran) in a just-released Tamil Sci-Fi film Mayavaan, has been garnering attention.

This desi singer has experienced several note-worthy moments in her career: she has won several coveted singing competitions. The prize of one included a  personalized music lesson (via Skype) with Shankar Mahadevan, an opportunity to share the stage with Salim-Sulaiman during the Toronto IIFA Awards, singing with/for Ayushman Khurana, flawlessly rendering the national anthems of both, Canada and India during PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Toronto and more. So much more.

Yet, Shweta prefers to live in Canada and travel (if necessary) to India and other countries. She’s somewhat reluctant to chase the limelight. She would prefer, it (limelight) came calling for her talent.

It’s well-known music labels, studios and producers, all profit on the backs of talent. Ironic, isn’t it? When you consider the pivotal role music plays in Bollywood films. I know for a fact, artists spend hours hopping from studio to studio clutching demo tapes and flicker of hope in their hearts. It’s a long and lonely path.

Music as a calling

It’s a game Shweta doesn’t want to play. She would rather spend her time in front of a mic or collaborating or composing with like-minded individuals.

Toronto singer Shweta Subram performing to a crowd

Shweta Subram’s just-released single Rasiya showcases her powerful vocals. Photo supplied by Shweta.

“When I was in India (recently), I did go to studios,” she admits adding it wasn’t really her cup of tea. “Kudos to people who can sit (in the waiting rooms of studios) for hours on end. I have realized talent alone is not enough to succeed within the Indian music industry. It’s whom you can please…I cannot pretend to be someone I am not.”

Oh, wait, what? Did you say, Sunny Leone?

Shweta has provided the background score for Netflix’s Mostly Sunny, a film on Sunny Leone, a Canadian, making her mark in the Indian film industry.

“It was a great opportunity for me (sitting here in North America) to get a call from the studios asking if I had anything,” Shweta said. “I believe it’s kismet, having the talent, and being prepared to deliver when opportunity knocks. It’s more than being in the right place at the right time…”

But, it was a chance meeting with The Piano Guys that launched Shweta into the stratosphere. The Piano Guys, the superstars of social media are a band of musically driven men, who in their attempt to market pianos in rather unconventional ways, ended up creating a powerful brand.

The hit of all hits

So, The Piano Guys approached Shweta and asked her to compose/sing what was an Indian music inspired cover adapted from Swedish House Mafia’s tune Don’t You Worry Child.

The video, featuring John Schmidt (piano), Steven Nelson (cello) and Shweta (vocals/composition) has garnered 20 million views and still counting.

“The response, reach and reaction to the video was phenomenal,” says Shweta. “The video launched my credentials, not just to Indians, but world over. In 2015, I performed at the famed Carnegie Hall and it was an absolute-dream-come true…”

Shweta’s work ethics and talent appears to have impressed The Piano Guys.

“Shweta immediately stood out to us – her smile was so genuine and contagious,” say The Piano Guys, in their website. “She naturally emitted such an amiability in her stage presence that we were drawn to her performance. Her voice effortlessly depicted an Indian classical vibe while still being completely accessible.”

In the coming months, Shweta will be releasing more singles and doing what she’s best at—making music.

After my chat with Shweta, I realized: Fame isn’t what happens to you in Bollywood alone, sometimes, it’s what you become when you stay away from it.

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Let’s all get filmy in Toronto this May

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May ’17 South Asian events in Toronto offer a heady and healthy mix of films, theatre, music and dance. Check out our desi events calendar.

Monday, May 1

Event: IFFSA
Details: Controversial film Lipstick Under my Burkha, Shahrbanoo Sadat’s Wolf and Sheep and dozens of others are part of the line-up. Guess what? Akshay Roy ‘s Meri Pyaari Bindu starring Parineeti Chopra and Ayushman will make its North American premiere e May 15 at the festival. IFFSA runs 11 to 22.
Contact: Here

Event: Ask the Sexpert
Details: Toronto’s International documentary festival 2017 Hot Docs will showcase an array of documentaries from across the globe including Vaishali Sinha’s Ask the Sexpert, a film is about Dr. Mahinder Watsa, a highly popular 93-year-old sex columnist for Mumbai Mirror. The film will screen at Hot Docs May 1 to 3 at the TIFF Bell Lighthouse. Festival runs until Sunday, May 7
Contact: Here 

Friday, May 6

Students from Nachdi Jawani showcase their dance at the Carassauga Festival of Cultures. Photo by Rob Beintema

Event: Nachdi Jawani
Details: Punjabi Virsa Arts and Culture Academy will be hosting its 17th annual Nachdi Jawani Youth Festival, at 1370 Williams Pkwy. Brampton from 10 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. Event will feature gidha and bhangra competitions.
Contact: Here

Event: Taraang
Details: Enjoy a Bollywood musical concert at Glenforest Secondary School, 3575 Fieldgate Dr. Mississauga. The Taraang Ek Sureela Kaarvaan starts at 6 p.m.
Contact: Here

Sunday, May 7

Event: Gujarati Comedy Show
Details: Enjoy a Gujju comedy show at Chinguacousy Secondary School, 1370 Williams Parkway, Brampton at 5 p.m. The three-hour LOL riot features Dr. Jagdish Trivedi.
Contact: Here

Thursday, May 13

Event: Hindustani Music Concert
Details: Raag-Mala Music Society presents Hidayat Khan (sitar) and Manjusha Patil (vocals) at this spring concert at McLeod Auditorium, Medical Sciences bldg., 1 King’s College Circle at 7 p.m.
Contact: Here

Saturday, May 20

Event: Zumba Party
Details: A Bollywood-themed Zumba fitness party is happening at the Harold Braithwaite Secondary School, 415 Great Lakes Dr. in Brampton at 4 p.m.
Contact: Here

Friday, May 26

Event: Carrasauga
Details: Mississauga’s festival of cultures beckons you to take a trip around the world for chump change. While you’re globetrotting, stop by the India pavilion at the Hershey Centre, community rinks at 5500 Rose Cherry Place, Mississauga. Festival runs until Sunday, May 28.
Contact: Here

Saturday, May 27

Event: Malhar SpringFest
Details: Malhar Group will present its annual SpringFest at the Molson Canadian Studio at Hamilton Place, 1 Summers Ln. Hamilton, at 6:30 p.m. Concert will feature: Subhranil Sarkar (sitar), Kaivalya Kumar (vocals), Abhijeet Banerjee (tabla) and Sanatan Goswami (harmonium)
Contact: Here

 

April ’17 brings music, theatre and arts for Torontonians

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The 17th annual Kalanidhi Festival celebrating Indian dance genres runs until April 2 at the Harbourfront Centre. Photo courtesy Kalanidhi Fine Arts of Canada website.

Saturday, April 1

Event: Kalanidhi festival
Details: The 17th annual Kalanidhi Festival of Indian Dance: Whirling Streams will take place at the Fleck Dance Theatre at Harbourfront Centre, March 28 to April 2.
Contact: Here

Event: Little Pretty and the Exceptional
Details: Factory theatre, 125 Bathhurst St. (at Adelaide) presents, Little Pretty and the Exceptional, a play written by Anusree Roy and directed by Brendan Healy, April 6 to 30.
Contact: Here

Event: Sikh Heritage Month
Details: Communities across the GTA will mark Sikh Heritage Month all April. In Brampton, the Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives (PAMA), 9 Wellington St. E. has several exhibits and shows planned. Admission is free.
Contact: Here

Friday, April 7

Event: One Brave Night
Details: SOCH, a group comprising of South Asian mental health advocates, will participate in Canadian Association of Mental Health (CAMH)’s annual fundraiser, One Brave Night. They have planned a full night of events and activities, April 7 to 8 at LAB Brampton, 60 Queen St. E. Unit 104.
Contact: Here

Friday, April 14

Event: Bhangra in the City
Details: Celebrate Vaisakhi with Bhangra Night at the Atmosfera Resto-Louge , 6781 Hurontario St. Mississauga. Some top Bhangra Djs will spin.
Contact: Here

Saturday, April 15

Event: Tabla-Taiko concert
Details: The Toronto Tabla Ensemble and the Nagata Shachu will showcase an evening of exceptional percussion in this cross-cultural concert. The show will take place at the Greenwin Theatre at the Toronto Centre for Arts, 5040 Yonge St. Toronto, M2N 6R8 at 7 p.m.
Contact: Here

Event: Baisakhi 2017
Details: Gerrard India Bazaar will be hosting a Baisakhi celebration at Little India (Gerrard and Ashdale) 4 p.m. onward.
Contact: Here

Monday, April 17

Event: The Drupadi Project
Details: Why Not theatre’s RISER Project 2017 will feature the world premieres of four new Canadian plays:The Draupadi Project, Pearle Harbour’s Chautauqua, El Retorno/I Return and Two Birds One Stone. Sharada Eswar’s The Draupadi Project is a reimagining of the ancient Indian epic, “The Mahabharata.” It will run April 17 to 18 at 7 p.m. at the BMO Incubator, The Theatre Centre, 1115 Queen St. W.
Contact: Here

Thursday, April 27

Event: Shyam Selvadurai
Details: The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) GTA Young Workers Committee will host well-known author Shyam Selvadurai at the PSAC Toronto’s regional office, 90 Eglinton Ave. E. at 6:30 p.m.
Contact: Here

 

Shereen Ladha’s Roots will take you on a magical journey of colour and sound

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Roots: A Journey Through India is a show that combines dance, music and history. It comes to the Rose Theatre in Brampton, Saturday, Feb. 18 at 7 p.m.

Whenever I chance upon something amazing: a good book, a watchable movie, an incredible entrée or even an interesting conversation, there’s a good chance, I will not simply shut up about it.

Sometimes, I even write a whole blog.

So pretend for a moment, these words are being delivered via a bullhorn.

I, for one, plan to stop by the Rose Theatre in Brampton, Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. to watch Roots: A Journey Through India.

Having sampled a small snippet on video (you can watch the earlier post), I know it’s just the kind of thing to appeal to all my senses— high-energy dance, opulent costumes, familiar Bollywood tunes and a story line.

Shereen Ladha, 29, the director and creator of Roots as well as owner of popular YouTube channel, dancewithSL has conceived the show by combining her love for dance and choreography, India and Bollywood music.

When she started dancing at four,it was because it was, “so organic, almost like breathing.”

Then on, it was all hard work and grit and following the path.

Magnificent, mesmerizing and magical

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Shereen Ladha, creator and director of Roots: A Journey Through India is a versatile artist proficient in many genres of dance. Supplied photo

Roots can be described as a panoramic, visually stunning musical show that through Shereen’s signature vision wefts and weaves silken threads of romance, laughter and drama through several touchstones of India’s cultural heritage. The rich tapestry is sewn together with Bollywood music.

“I think what makes Roots so unique is its multi-generational and multi-cultural appeal,” said Shereen who considers Madhuri Dixit and Michael Jackson her idols. “It will remind our grandparents and parents of home; the younger generation will connect to our heritage and for people of other cultures, Roots will demonstrate the length and breath of India’s cultural diversity and richness…”

By the way, the last two shows sold-out.

Some 16 or more talented artists execute Shereen’s vision on stage. Mississauga’s Shama Kassam, 26, is one of them.

ken_5721Shama and Shereen are best buddies bound by their passion for dance. When she’s not swaying to music, Shama channelizes her energy into making the body, mind and breath connection as a yoga instructor at Power Yoga Canada Mississauga.

Roots, must be watched to be believed, she says

“I, like many Indians and non-Indians alike, grew up with a love for classic Bollywood and have always been inspired by the feminine grace of movement in Indian dance styles,” Shama said. “My parents love Bollywood music and our house is always willed with Indian music from the 70’s to modern day. I also grew up with a lot of interest in Hip-Hop music and that influences the style of dance I love, and the types of music I’m drawn to.”

Naach baliye, naach

Shereen, a Toronto native is a choreographer, dance visionary schooled in many genres: Hip-Hop, Ballet, Kathak and jazz, all of which she assimilated by the time she was 10.

“Intense dance training is really at the heart of that (dance repertoire),” said the artist whose day job is working with a strategic consulting firm. “I’m a strong believer in having a good foundation in dance. I believe a dancer really should never stop learning, a reason why I started my Master Classes in Bollywood.”

Sorry? Nah, Maafi

You probably recall Shereen from her viral hit Maafi, a cover of Justin Bieber’s chartbuster Sorry. The remix video garnered almost a million views before Sony Music grabbed the copyright.

“One my friends wanted me to do a choreography piece to Sorry by Justin Bieber as part of my regular channel videos, but I thought the original video and choreography was so good that I wanted to do something more unique and put my own spin on it,” Shereen told TDD. “So I got my music producer, J-Raj, and my team on board and Maafi was born.”

On the video going viral she says:

“I think it’s one thing to have fame, however long or short-lived it is, and another thing to make an impact,” Shereen says. “Sharing my art, educating people about my culture, and changing perceptions though dance is something I value so much more, and I feel strongly that I won’t ever compromise the quality of my work to achieve any level of fame.”

Check out Maafi!

To buy tickets for Roots, visit here or call 905-874-2800.

Jonita Gandhi sets all hearts aflutter with two back-to-back chart busters

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Toronto crooner Jonita Gandhi has been creating a buzz of sorts in Bollywood with her back-to-back hits for Dangal and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil

It took me weeks to de-addict myself from The Breakup Song (Ae Dil Hai Mushkil).

Just as I managed to wean myself, the Gilehriyaan track from Dangal has now ear wormed into my psyche.

Not a coincidence then that both these chart busters are from Jonita Gandhi, Toronto’s own nightingale.

A couple of years ago, I penned a blog about Jonita. This was around the time she was dipping her toes in the music industry in Bollywood. Jonita has since toured with the likes of Sonu Nigam and A.R. Rahman; worked with several top-notch composers to deliver multiple hits.

Often when journalists sit across from famous folks with our pens poised, we’re mostly unimpressed with titles or awards, what warms us is the individual’s passion for their craft and humility.

With Jonita, you can check off all those boxes.

 Here’s Jonita getting candid about success, her struggle and the smash hit : The Breakup Song

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Toronto crooner Jonita Gandhi. Supplied photo.

TDD: It seems the entire nation and desis around the world are humming your recent chartbuster – Breakup song. Tell us how did the chance to collaborate with Pritam Chakraborthy come about?

JG: Working with Pritam Da is an opportunity I always wanted. Though the Breakup Song isn’t my first release with him, I’m very thankful to have worked on this song with him. Quite a while back, I was called into the studio to record the beginning. At that time, it was just a scratch. I was called back to record the rest of the song some time later and several times after for lyrical changes, but I didn’t know until the song was released that my voice was kept in the final track.

TDD: The song’s upbeat, liberating and free, whereas breakup tunes are weepy. Your reaction when you heard the lyrics?

JG: I had so much fun recording the song because of the quirky lyrics. The dialogue at the beginning of the song is my favourite part. It gave me the opportunity to be over dramatic and playful. When I first heard it I thought, “wow this is definitely not how I would react to a breakup!” Ha!ha!ha! but I’m glad this song is what it is and I hope it helps people through their breakups.

TDD: How long have you been in Bollywood? What is it like tasting success?

JG: My debut in Bollywood happened in 2013 with the title track of Chennai Express, so it’s been three years now. I am extremely grateful for all of the opportunities since then, to work with people that I had only dreamed of working with. No matter how much I grow in my career, I try to keep myself grounded and remind myself that there’s always room to improve and that I have a long way to go.

TDD: Did you have to go through a bit of struggle too in your musical journey? What was that like?

JG: Nothing good comes easy. When I first came to India, I came in as a blank slate. I had no contacts and knew nothing about how things work here. It took a lot of perseverance, patience and an open mind to keep working towards my goals. There were times where it got overwhelming for sure. But it’s all worth it. 

TDD: From Brampton to Mumbai – the highs and lows?

JG: Life in Brampton is extremely different than life in Mumbai. We take the weather for granted in Canada and complain about the cold, but we don’t have to worry about moldy closets in rain season and food spoiling so quickly because of heat like in India.

Traffic! You have to be good at planning your commute when you have to be somewhere on time because traffic in India is nothing compared to Toronto.

• Customer service is something we take for granted in Canada because we are so used to getting things resolved after putting in a complaint. It’s quite a struggle here in India to get to the bottom of a problem.

But I have to admit I love the fact that you can order almost anything for delivery in India.

TDD: Is there any incident in Bollywood (with a celebrity/actor) that you recall that still makes you chuckle?

JG: When I was called in to record Kahaan Hoon Main, both Rahman sir and Imtiaz Ali were present at the time. That day I had food poisoning and was throwing up non-stop throughout the day. When I received the call to come in to the studio, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity, so I was a trooper and went in. It took some time for the studio to be setup, so I asked the engineer to let me know when I was needed and went to lie down in another room.

Shortly after being called in to start recording I had to step out for a “bathroom break,” which was really for me to puke my guts out. That memory still makes me smile from time to time because only the engineer and I know how sick I was feeling that day. Rahman sir and Imtiaz had no idea. 

TDD: Bet you miss home…

JG: Over and above anything else, I miss my family. Whatsapp comes in really handy. I wish they could be here with me all the time, but I am glad to be able to go home every once in a while, and have them visit me from time to time as well. 

 **Amir Khan starrer Dangal hit the theatres in North America, Dec. 21.**

 

Non-verbal autistic teen from Toronto sings in three languages

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The two subsequent blog entries belong to Sahil Prashar, 17, and Gurvir Singh, 24. Both have disabilities and both have experienced bullying. I was able to put my life in perspective after meeting them. I hope you will too, after you read about them.

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Sahil Prashar, 17, is a non-verbal autistic teen and a savant who can sing in three languages. Supplied photo.

 The autistic teen with the voice of an angel

The 45-minute drive through the rural roads of Caledon and Orangeville took us into the bowels of inky darkness of a fall evening.
As the GPS announced our destination, all I could think of was: Why on earth would a desi family, with young children – Sahil and Jiya – choose to live in virtual isolation?

Minutes into my conversation, Anoop Prashar — Sahil and Jiya’s dad — as though reading my mind, answers my question.

Anoop and his wife Sudha Prashar chose to move away from the bright lights of city so they could escape the insensitive taunts families and children hurled at their non-verbal autistic son Sahil, 17.

In Hindi/Punjabi or for that matter in other Indian dialect, there’s a complete absence of language and word that has both sensitivity and compassion for individuals that don’t conform to a cookie-cutter mold.

So, people resort to the harsh and inappropriate “paagal” (or crazy). Imagine for a moment, how the reference may have made the Prashars wince. To toss the ubiquitous “Paagal” at anyone with autism, Down syndrome, learning disability or mental health, is cruel.

So, understandably when society gave them the cold shoulder, the Prashars tried spirituality.

“Those preaching/visiting temples and Gurudwaras are interested in chasing religion, not humanity,” observes Sudha who has had to watch her son being bullied at school. The adults too exhibited zero compassion.

Sahil, an extraordinary teen on the Autism spectrum, cannot speak, read or write, but he can sing. Boy, can he sing.

“Sahil has recorded more than 50 YouTube videos in three languages: English, Hindi and Punjabi,” Anoop shares. “Do you know any other 17 year-old with autism that can sing Marvin Gaye and other Motown hits, Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga along with bhajans and ghazals?”

That’s a truly impressive feat, except the Prashars are not social media savvy or well connected, so they have not been able to share Sahil’s gift with the world.

No takers/no supporters

On a recent day, when Sahil’s voice began to hit the notes of a spiritual song about a mother pleading to the deity, it took every ounce of willpower not to break down and sob.

The innocence on Sahil’s face as he stared into space, twisted my heart. His voice was pure.

A dad – who’s the breadwinner – leaves for work and interacts with others as part of his work, but a stay-at-home Mom’s sole focus is her child. She makes several journeys to hell and back, protecting him from pain, discomfort and the world. Worse, she has to hide her tears, so her son can see the strength and hope.

There’s no doubt, this vulnerable youngster, who cannot take care of himself or defend himself from his bullies , is enveloped in a warm and solid fortress of love. But, the question, one that likely keeps parents of  children with disabilities awake at nights is: what will happen to our child after us?

“Till date, Sahil has not had anyone his age come over to the house to play video games, he has not been invited to any birthday parties,” Anoop said. “To society, he’s invisible because he’s disabled…”

When their child was three, Sahil’s parents noticed he did not talk and missed key milestones. To their amazement, he would sing along to songs on the car’s radio.

“When he was a child, Sahil had this toy piano that he would play with until it broke,” his father said. “When it broke, we would go get another one (same make).”

This song is from the heart

Anoop, who works in the trucking/construction industry, decided to share Sahil’s incredible talent with the world, some three years ago.

Each day, he would play a song whose lyrics and melody Sahil would instantly pick, thanks to a photographic memory. Hours of practice later, the duo would record the number. The sound system they use is primitive and out dated, a second-hand Karaoke system that doesn’t capture the acoustics or inflection of sounds well.

When they had recorded a fair number of songs, armed with links to the videos, Anoop and Sudha knocked on doors of media/bloggers/YouTube influencers urging them to share Sahil’s gift. No one bit.

The Prashars are completely at loss. Music makes Sahil happy and all they want is to give him a stage on which he can perform and share his love for music.

“I want Sahil to be a world-famous Canadian,” Anoop said adding they would welcome any band/studio that was willing to work with Sahil.

To check out Sahil’s talent, visit his Facebook page here.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.