MASALA! MEHNDI! MASTI!
Celebrates its 10th AMMMazing festival!
North America’s largest FREE South Asian festival hits 10-YEARS
TORONTO, ON, June 2010 – Masala! Mehndi! Masti! (M!M!M!) kicked off its 10th annual free festival with a gala reception on July 23, 2010 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre at the Exhibition Place in Toronto. In the true Indian tradition of ‘moo meetha karo’ for celebrating this milestone year, the gala offered a splendid array of cookies, pastries and a huge four piece cake, beverages and was attended by Senatrix(Senator) Salma Atta-ullah Janwho brought greetings from the Prime Minister and the Government of Canada, MPPs Harinder Thaker andKathleen Wynne who represented the Premier McGuinty and the Province of Ontario. Other special guests included festival artists, sponsors, community and business leaders of the community.
Popular Bollywood actor Boman Irani, who recently won 3 awards for his role in ‘3 Idiots’, was the headliner for the M!M!Movies! segment. The star enthralled festival goers with his Q&A sessions and the “In Conversation With” talk show. His humility and willingness to meet and talk to his adoring fans was heart warming. A retrospective of Boman’s movies was screened at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.
Opening night headliners, sarod supremos, and sons of Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan accompanied by Toronto’s own tabla artist Vineet Vyas captivated the audience with classical Indian music.
Saturday kicked off with the first ever MMM Seniors’ Desi Idol contest where several seniors showed off their musical prowess. Throughout the day there were power-packed performances, conversations with the artists, theatrical pieces culminating with three headlining performances. The Toronto Tabla Ensemble accompanied by Chhandam Dance Company and Lavish Dance Company returned to MMM’s stage after 10 years and captivated the audience. Salman Ahmad, founder of South Asia’s biggest rock band, Junoon, and also known as ‘Pakistan’s Bono’, rocked the Bandshell Park, as he sang classics and favourites prompting screams of delight from the girls of all ages, and shouts of approval from the guys as everybody joined in chorus with this “Dada” of South Asian rock. Salman also released his book and CD “Rock and Roll Jehad” and signed autographs.
Boman Irani took the stage next, presenting a surprise performances, strumming on a guitar, along with many of Toronto’s children, to sing ‘Give Me Some Sunshine’ from the super hit movie ‘3 Idiots’. The crowds went wild as they joined in with gusto. The Government of Canada conferred Boman with a citation for his contribution to the arts.
Saturday night’s headliner, Suzanne D’Mello, one of India’s hottest rising playback singers, who has sung several hit songs in ‘Ghajini’, ‘Dhoom 2’, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, ‘Kites’ and many more, sent the crowds in to foot tapping ecxtasy, setting them on fire as they dubbed her ‘India’s Queen Latifah!’ It was an evening of pure dynamite!
Kudos to tremendous rising talent TV’s Husein Madhavji, Mandippal and Richard Wilson who sparked a fire at M!M!M!’s chillout! Jonita Gandhi and Umesh Patel presented wonderful film and Gujarati music, and the husband wife duo Hemant and Vaishali Panwar danced with great style and energy.
Throughout the festival, Toronto’s painters and artists displayed their works at M!M!M!’s perennial favourite- The Artists’ Walkway.
And of course the popular State Farm Meena Bazaar was abuzz with activity as many indulged in their shopping impulses. A ‘Khaana Sutra’ food lane was replete with taste-bud tantalizing delights from all over South Asia and even Thailand and Malaysia.
Sunday saw the MMM Seniors’ Desi Idol finals take place with winners Jag Mohan and Ramesh Panchal take away $500 and $1000 in cash prizes. Jorge Miguel’s Flamenkathak was a fusion of flamenco and kathak bridging to cultures that were one a thousand years ago.
Mybindi.com’s 9th annual Comedy Night took place at the festival and was huge success yet again. Even Boman Irani made a surprise visit to the event to the delight of the audience.
The fabulous 3 day festival was brought to a close with a deafening bhangra session aptly named ‘Bhangin’ in the Park!’ featuring Dhol Circle, Deep Jandu, Double AA, Paul Nanuwa and Avalla. A superb finale to 10 years of celebrating South Asian culture in Canada!
With the support of sponsors Tim Hortons, OMNI TV, Etihad Airways, Mobilicity, Westin Harbour Castle Hotel, Toyota, State Farm and a multitude of government agencies and media partners, M!M!M! produced its largest festival yet with five major headliners and over 70 other performances and presentations set across 4 stages, a food market, bazaar and a visual artists walkway, wowing crowds for 3 days.
The festival’s volunteer team ensured that patrons were well taken care of and enjoyed themselves thoroughly, and all performances ran on schedule despite rain on Saturday. This itself is a huge achievement given the size and scale on which Masala! Mehndi! Masti! is run.