#BollywoodMonster Launch Party & Comedy to kick off the monstrous festival

The largest South Asian festival in Canada is kicking off this year with #BollywoodMonster Launch Party & Comedy on July 18. The Launch Party will be held at C Banquets inside the Mississauga Civic Centre, starting at 6 PM, and will feature a side-splitting comedy show, silent disco, and more.

#BollywoodMonster Launch Party & Comedy will be hosted by comedian Amish Patel, and will feature Faisal Butt – an award-winning stand-up comic, Jennifer Hsiung – the only female comedian to reach the finals of 2017 Hong Kong International Comedy Competition, Foad Hassanpoor of Just for Laughs in Montreal fame, Moe Ismail – an honest, raw & energetic comedian, Keesha Brownie – one of North America’s candid comedians and Toronto-based comedian Neema Nazeri, who has performed at venues across the GTA like the Corner Comedy Club.

  The #BollywoodMonster Launch Party & Comedy also presents the opportunity to meet and mingle with the 2019 #BollywoodMonster Mashup headliners, Yasser Desai (singer of the hit songs “Naino Ne Baandhi” and “Pallo Latke”) and Nikhita Gandhi (singer of the chartbusters “Raabta” and “Qaafirana”), as well as other performers from this year’s festival.

“We are excited to celebrate all our fantastic sponsors, funders, media partners, artists and collaborators at the #BollywoodMonster Launch Party & Comedy, for helping our team put together this great festival for the people of the GTA,” says Artistic Director of MonstrARTity, Vikas Kohli. “We are also particularly excited to not only provide attendees with the opportunity to meet and speak with movers and shakers but also remain committed to being an innovative, monstrous festival by presenting a silent disco for the first time ever. Join us on July 18th to be a part of it all!” Continue reading “#BollywoodMonster Launch Party & Comedy to kick off the monstrous festival”

Madaari Mania Hits North America

The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir – In Cinemas June 21

Madaari Mania is hitting fans from the across the world with millions of hits from people of all demographics and crossing all age barriers.  Sung by Vishal Dadlani and Nikhita Gandhi and music by Amit Trivedi, the Madaari song, that has everyone swinging and tapping their toes, is from the film The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir that will be released in cinemas in Canada June 21.

Renowned actor Dhanush stars as the lead in the international film co-produced by France, India and Belgium. Directed by Ken Scott, 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.

Dhanush plays Ajatashatru Lavash Patel, a poor boy who grows up to be a street magician and embarks on an extraordinary voyage across Europe in search of his estranged father. During his trip, he finds love in a Swedish furniture store in Paris, but danger with Somalian migrants ensues and he ends up in London, then more threats follow the young man until he finds himself in Rome, where an unlikely threat shadows the hustler on to a hot-air balloon that rides across the Med.

The film has been adapted from Romain Puértolas’ best-selling novel The Extraordinary Journey Of The Fakir Who Got Caught In An Ikea Wardrobe.  The screenplay of the film was written by Puértolas and Luc Bossi who is also producing through his Paris-based company Brio Films. Other co-producers include Vamonos Films, Little Red Car Films, Scope Pictures, M! Capital Ventures, Impact Films and Golden Ratio Films.

The film has won many awards, distributed in Canada by A-Z films and will be in cinemas across Canada on June 21.

Dhanush speaks candidly to his fans and audiences about the film:

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. Continue reading “Madaari Mania Hits North America”

Italian stars Virginia Raffaele and Luca Barbareschi in Toronto for launch of ICFF 2019

The 2019 edition of the Italian Contemporary Film Festival kicked off yesterday with a sold-out screening of Dolceroma at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, where the film’s producer and lead actor Luca Barbareschi charmed the crowd, alongside Italian actress Virginia Raffaele, whose comedic antics entertained the audience. Following the Opening Film, a Dolceroma-themed cocktail party launched the official start of the eighth edition of the Festival; a massive celebration enhanced by the Raptors’ NBA Championship win. 

Some of the biggest stars and starlets of Italian cinema are descending on Toronto for the eighth edition of the Italian Contemporary Film Festival, launching nine days of films and special events across the country. Italian superstar producer, director and actor Luca Barbareschi presented his latest work Dolceroma at TIFF Bell Lightbox, ahead of the Opening Party at Ricarda’s. Barbareschi, who says he was most inspired by Steven Spielberg in his career, notes the film is set against the beauty and the tragedy of the eternal city, saying “Rome is condemned to never die. It’s slowly dying, but it will never die.”

As a tribute to Barbareschi’s extensive career, he will present two other films during this year’s festival, the comedy Airplane Mode/Modalita’ aereo, a hilarious commentary on the destructive power of social media in the age of celebrity, and the stunning biopic I Am Mia/Io sono Mia, the tragic true story of one of the greatest Italian singers of all time, Mia Martini. Barbareschi will be receiving the ICFF 2019 Best Producer Award.

In honour of the opening film, the ICFF Opening Party was a true celebration of Roman decadence and culture, held at one of the best and most beautiful Italian restaurants in Toronto, Ricarda’s at the Queen Richmond Centre. More than a thousand guests filled the stunning atrium with its 70-foot ceilings, Continue reading “Italian stars Virginia Raffaele and Luca Barbareschi in Toronto for launch of ICFF 2019”

A-Z Films has picked up ‘The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir’

Film stars renowned Indian Actor Dhanush in the lead 

A-Z Films has picked up The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir, a comedy adventure by Quebec director Ken Scott (Starbuck, Delivery Man, Unfinished Business, La Grande Séduction) and starring the well-known Indian actor Dhanush, and featuring Bérénice Béjo (The Artist) Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips) Erin Moriarty (Blood Father) and Abel Jafri (Timbuktu). Rounding out the cast is Gérard Jugnot, Ben Miller, Sarah-Jeanne Labrosse, Stefano Cassetti.

A co-production between France, India and Belgium, the English-language feature will be distributed in Canada by A-Z films, and released day and date with US, India and Canada on June 21.  

The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir most recently won the Audience Award for Best Comedy at the Barcelona Sant-Jordi International Film Festival, and was the opening night film at the International Film Festival of South Asia, in Toronto.

The screenplay was written by author Romain Puértolas, and Luc Bossi who also is producing through his Paris-based company Brio Films. Other co-producers include Vamonos Films, Little Red Car Films, Scope Pictures, M! Capital Ventures, Impact Films and Golden Ratio Films.

The film has been adapted from Puértolas’ novel “The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe,” which came out in 2014 and has been translated into 35 languages.

A hustler from Mumbai embarks on an extraordinary voyage across Europe in search of his estranged father. During his trip, he finds love in a Swedish furniture store in Paris, but danger with Somalian migrants ensues and he ends up in London, then more threats follow the young man until he finds himself in Rome, where an unlikely threat shadows the hustler on to a hot-air balloon that rides across the Med. Continue reading “A-Z Films has picked up ‘The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir’”

ICFF celebrates Italian Oscar winners from GreenBook and Life is Beautiful

— Highlights of the bold 2019 lineup!

Film lovers can expect another glamorous, star-studded Italian Contemporary Film Festival across Canada this June, with more movies and guest stars than ever, including writer and producer of the 2019 Best Picture Green Book, Nick Vallelonga, and renowned Italian composer, Nicola Piovani, winner of the 1999 Oscar for Best Original Score for Life is Beautiful.

Among the many stars arriving from Italy for this year’s festival are Ezio Greggio, Claudio Gubitosi, Luca Barbareschi, Fabio De Luigi and Piera Detassis.

The Italian Contemporary Film Festival, presented by IC Savings and in affiliation with Fare Cinema, announced the lineup for its 8th edition at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Toronto today. The 2019 program features 128 diverse and acclaimed films, including dozens of shorts and documentaries, totalling more than 190 screenings across the country – its largest and most ambitious program to date, which will see no shortage of star power.

Guests of the 2019 festival will include Nick Vallelonga, writer and producer of the 2019 Academy Award-winning film for Best Picture and Best Screenplay, Green Book; world-renowned Italian composer Nicola Piovani, winner of the 1999 Oscar for Best Original Score for Life is Beautiful (La vita è bella); Continue reading “ICFF celebrates Italian Oscar winners from GreenBook and Life is Beautiful”

IFFSA: Voice of South Asian Cinema in Canada

On April 18th, IFFSA Toronto unveiled an exciting lineup of films and events for this year’s festival, which runs from May 9th to May 20th. As a film festival, every year IFFSA’s attempt has been to surprise the film lovers, to take us on new adventures.

To begin with,   IFFSA, is over the moon to have the opportunity and honour to share some very special films, with their audiences, as part of our celebration of the ‘Hundred Years of Bengali Cinema’,

IFFSA Toronto is THE LARGEST SOUTH ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL IN NORTH AMERICA. In its 8th year now, the festival has become an international icon and the voice of South Asian cinema in Canada.

This 12+ day extravaganza showcases a diverse, language independent, selection of the best feature films, featurette films, short films, documentaries and music films from around the world, on themes of South Asian cultures and identities. In the spirit of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – the world is one family”, a select number of foreign films are considered under Beyond South Asia segment.

In addition, the festival also features gala dinners, red carpet premiers, concerts, lounge parties, exhibitions, seminars, workshops and networking opportunities with government representatives, business leaders, local organizations that support film development, film stars, producers, directors, members of the media and more. Continue reading “IFFSA: Voice of South Asian Cinema in Canada”

We Got This: A Unique Blend of Pop Melodies

Vibrant and culturally eclectic ensemble, Delhi 2 Dublin, are back with the release of their latest studio album We Got This (May 172019 via Inside Pocket / Warner Music Canada). The album, produced by Toronto-based hitmaker Gavin Brown (Barenaked Ladies, Metric, Tragically Hip), offers a unique blend of energetic-pop melodies with the electronic pulse of warehouse raves, bringing a positive, colourful feeling to the socially aware messages expressed throughout.

The Vancouver-based band’s latest single “My People” speaks to their personal experiences as descendants of immigrants and paints a dynamic picture of them finding their artistic voices. The songs have an accessibility that you might compare to the songwriting of Bob Marley – speaking to the band’s own culture in the most personal way yet have depth and meaning to people of all cultures, backgrounds and ages.

The experience of making We Got This encouraged Delhi 2 Dublin to become creative storytellers, enabling listeners to relate to the messaging while dancing along to the Bhangra beats. And, of course, the songs are just as fun to listen to, filled with sing-along choruses, easy melodies and sharp production throughout.

Said vocalist Sanjay Seran, “the process of making this record was a bit of a departure from our beat-centric past and more of a journey into writing songs with a message that can really reach people. Continue reading “We Got This: A Unique Blend of Pop Melodies”

Mallika Sarabhai’s ‘The Colors of Her Heart’ – April 17, 2019 @ the Ailey Citigroup Theatre, NYC

The Colors of Her Heart is a spell binding, dance-theatre-multimedia production, choreographed and directed by Mallika Sarabhai, that uses the haunting lyrics of British musician Samia Malik with the creativity visual imagery and story creating skills of Yadavan ChandranOn the stage, six women tell their poignant stories bringing awareness into the issue of gender inequality. 

What do all women across the world share as experiences? Whatever the color of their skins, whatever their language and culture, the single identity that leads to their exploitation and violence against them is their gender. With songs in Urdu and English, and stories that are both personal and universal, the heartful composition draws you into the world of women and their lives, dwelling on their experiences of vulnerabilitylove, pain, rejection, discrimination and violation. 

The ballet shifts between powerfully spoken monologues as accounts of the performers, group and solo dances, emotive pieces, even a ghazal that come together rhythmically with the bilingual live music by Samia Malik. The pieces reflect upon the common thread that binds all women, bringing together not just the stories of six women, but the pains, travails and victories of women of all nations. The Colors of Her Heart plays at The Ailey Citigroup Theatre on 405 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019. Continue reading “Mallika Sarabhai’s ‘The Colors of Her Heart’ – April 17, 2019 @ the Ailey Citigroup Theatre, NYC”

Blues Legend Lucky Peterson launches Kitchener Blues Festival!

–Lachman Balani

 The cavernous up tempo bar and nightclub Elements in Kitchener was the scene for the launch party of the Kitchener Blues Festival this past weekend.

The Kitchener Blues Festival is one of the few tightly run annual music festivals in Ontario announcing its line-up way ahead of its scheduled event in August.

This 4 day festival in Kitchener spread over 3 stages boasts of having hosted some amazing acts in recent times such as Eric Burdon, Randy Bachman, Burton Cummings, Foghat , Edgar Winter, Rik Emmett and many more! It is the go to event for blues and rock lovers in the neighbouring Greater Toronto Area.

Matt Weidinger opened the kickoff party setting the mood for the party-goers.

Following the opening band, Lucky Peterson from Buffalo and Kitchener homeboy Shawn Kellerman and his band sent the crowd into a dancing tizzy as both young and old folks got up to groove to the blues.

Shawn opened up with his band and Lucky joined in a couple of songs later and they all came together to play nonstop blues rock ramming one song into the next without missing a beat! It was incredible to see them play for a full hour with no break between songs! Continue reading “Blues Legend Lucky Peterson launches Kitchener Blues Festival!”

Modi: The Journey Of A Common Man

~Eros Now & Benchmark Pictures to make an original series biopic on the political superstar of India ~

Eros Now, the cutting-edge digital over-the-top (OTT) South Asian entertainment platform owned by Eros International Plc, a Global Indian Entertainment Company, offers a wide range of quality content that draws the attention of its worldwide audience. In an attempt to present yet another gripping story, the premium OTT platform, today announced the most-sought after biopic on India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, produced by Benchmark Pictures, a leading production house of India led by Umesh Shukla and Ashish Wagh. Titled ‘Modi,’ the Eros Now original series showcases the eventful life of the inspiring and influential leader.

The 10-part original series on Eros Now directed by the talented filmmaker Umesh Shukla captures different phases of Modi’s life. The story begins with 12-year-old Narendra and traverses through his teenage, youth to becoming the Prime Minister of world’s largest democracy, India. Modi’s siblings, friends, neighbours and school teachers reminisce his fascinating journey of self-discovery and enhances the authenticity of the original series. Actors Faisal Khan, Ashish Sharma and Mahesh Thakur play his part to depict the different stages of his life. The original series is written by Mihir Bhuta and Radhika Anand and each episode ranges between 35 to 40 minutes highlighting many incidents that made him devote his life to the service of the country.

Narendra Modi was born to a family of grocers (who owned a tea stall) in Vadnagar, Mehsana district, Bombay state (present-day Gujarat) Continue reading “Modi: The Journey Of A Common Man”