Masala! Mehndi!Masti! (Spice! Henna!Fun!) entered its second decade with a bang, raging the Harbourfront Centre from Aug 19-21 with its stupendous 11th festival! The venue was comfortably packed at all times, with certain performances like ‘Dirty Pakistani Lingerie’, ‘Bhangin’ by the Lake’, Dandiya Raas, Snehasish Mozumder & SOM, The Shillong Chamber Choir and Bathiya & Santhush drawing overflowing crowds!
Abhay Deol, fresh from his success with ‘Zindagi na milegi dobara’ was the featured Bollywood personality this year. Dressed in Dior, he floored everyone with his charming and dashing personality and was feted in Brampton upon arrival at The Tandoori Flame restaurant where Mayor Susan Fennell showed up to welcome him. On the 2nd night, he was awarded with a citation for his work, which was signed by PM Stephen Harper and presented by MP Mark Adler. MP Bernard Trottier was also present. Monica Deol, the first Asian woman to host ‘Electic Circus’, Canada’s popular TV show, was presented with Masala!Mehndi! Masti!’s (M!M!M!) trailblazer award the same night.
Music headliners, The Shillong Chamber choir, winners of ‘India’s Got Talent’ 2010 delighted everyone with their shiMMMery choral music. Other headliners, Snehasish and Som brought back memories of the 60s and 70s playing to an overflowing venue as Snehasish dazzled everyone with his masterful picking of his double-neck mandolin backed by his aMMMazing musicians on the tabla, bass guitar and drums. For its hip-hop element, Sri Lanka’s hip hop heavyweights Bathiya, Santhush, Randhir and Raj rocked the Westjet stage as screaming and cheering fans brought the house down at M!M!M!’s curtain call act on Sunday.
Expanding its horizons from its usual boundaries, M!M!M! brought in Afghani singers Waheed Soroor and Kice and a Japanese couple, Kaminari, who enraptured the audience with the scintillating sounds from their sitar and didgeridoo.
Traditional dances and soothing music by the Radha Academy, Panwar Dance Academy and the Rajasthani group saw patrons braving the rain and enjoying their exemplary performance.
To showcase upcoming South Asian artists singing in English, Bina Boo, prodigy Gabriella Rodgers and Mandippal took center stage.
For its haute-cuisine element, none other than Toronto’s Roshni Mansukhani, winner of Food Network’s Chopped championship 2009, showcased her laudable culinary skills with demonstrations on fusion sushi, masala macaroni and cheese and healthy ‘chaat’ on lettuce leaves.
For its comedy component, Nitin Mirani of ‘Komic Sutra’ from Dubai and Toronto’s Crystal Ferrier had the audience splitting their sides with laughter!
For its intellectual component two plays were staged, ‘Sacrifice’ by Rabindranath Tagore and ‘Dirty Paki Lingerie’, a play about 6 American Pakistani women trying to establish their identity. There was also a literature panel with three Canadian authors, Mariellen Ward, Sylvia Fraser and Katherine Matthews who expressed their love for India and a panel talking about the stigma of HIV within the South Asian community that got the brain cells working.
There were many more acts and performances including Beatitude, Indo- Caribbean hard-hitter SW Storm, Bollywood music duo Jonita and Nishith, qawali singer Naqi Ali Khan, Devis Anusha Sivalingham and Shirsha, Grammy award winner Chin Injeti, Sanskriti Arts, Tarana Dance, a seniors’ idol contest, a baccha (children’s) party , a busy and fabulous kids’ zone and even a midnight yoga session!. It was a jam-packed weekend! From fun and frolic to scholarly material, M!M!M! had it all.
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