By Lachman Balani
TORONTO: Over 25,000 people showed up as Bollywood Monster Mashup (BMM) livened up Celebration Square in Mississauga on the outskirts of Toronto with dance, dandia, films, videos, childrens’ activities and music at the weekend. Of particular interest to everybody was the Bring your own Bollywood photo booth where guests could have their photos ‘taken with Bollywood stars’ and which was fully booked.
After a full day of various activities the main live concert component began at 6.30 pm with a band called Destiny fronted by an energetic Kamela Singh. This was soca, chutney, calypso, reggae and lively Indian music altogether that had the patrons jumping on their feet giving them a real taste of a glorious mashup!
Following this great blend, came many other artistes including an awesome Dragon Orchestra that had Chinese musicians on Chinese instruments along with Western musicians on western instruments and many Indian singers and musicians including Himanshu Merchant, Prita Chabra and Ferzana Bohra crooning Indian songs. This is what Vikas Kohli, producer of BMM excels at- bringing music and musicians from all different cultures to produce a new wholesome sound! Their rendition of the legendary song ‘Damadam mast Kalandar’ was like no other anybody had ever heard- I mean with Chinese and western musical instruments- just let the imagination run wild!
The Lopa Sarkar -Divine Heritage Artistry presented an array of Bollywood, flamenco and belly dancing that had everyone cheering and giving hoots of approval. And of course lots of dhol as accompaniment!
Wilbur Sargunaraj was the one man performer who rushed on stage and not only made everyone dance and getting many to come on stage but also made everyone laugh by staging what he called ‘the first-class bhangra’, claiming he didn’t know how to bhangra but that many others didn’t know either, but so what, just keep shrugging your shoulders and hey presto- bhangra! The laughter that followed was deafening and in good spirits everyone joined in the ‘first class bhangra!’Wilbur in true showmanship jumped down into the crowd and danced along with them.
The finale that everyone was waiting for arrived as headliner Kamal Khan, Bollywood singing sensation and winner of several awards came on to strut the stuff he was made of. He took the square by storm and after several high octane numbers a patron in the crowd exclaimed ‘he’s a born live entertainer, man! Too bloody good!’ Kamal also called up many people to dance on the stage with him and actually picked up a little girl from the crowd and made her dance with him. The look on her face said it all! Her day had just been made! That gesture got Kamal loud cheers and countless thumbs up! This guy really knew how to please the crowds!
Mayor Hazel McCallion also came up on stage at the end appreciating Kamal immensely by saying ‘It has been a great honour and a pleasure to have Kamal Khan perform at Mississauga Celebration Square,’ and in an impromptu gesture gave him a quick peck on the cheek prompting loud cheers from the crowd!
That brought the awesome evening to a close!