By Lachman Balani
TORONTO: After over a decade of celebrations here, Toronto’s favourite and longest-running South Asian festival will now take wing and land in Dubai for its 12th annual edition.
Celebrated here since 2001, Masala!Mehndi!Masti!(M!M!M!) showcases both traditional and contemporary arts, culture, music, dance, theatre and literature from South Asia.
Over the years, it has become the largest multi-dimensional South Asian summer festival in North America.
As the festival travels to Dubai this year, its co-founder Jyoti Rana says, “The idea to take the festival beyond our borders has been alive for the last seven years, when we were invited to take the festival to Singapore and London. As we were still growing then, the offer – as tempting as it sounded – seemed a bit beyond our management capability.
“Discussions were started and re-started and a fair bit of research was done to determine its viability – after all, this is a massive event. We found then that we’d rather stay true to our purpose even if it meant not crossing continents.’’
Finally, after satisfactory discussions over logistics and other things, she says, her team chose Dubai to be the the first international venue for the festival.
It will be hosted at a massive theme park in the UAE city in November, says Rana.
Artists will be flown in from North America, the UK and South Asia, she adds.
But Toronto will still have a special M!M!M! night.
Says festival programmer Syma Shah, “We are planning a very special M!M!M! night in Toronto which will be a combination of performances, presentations and a great party night-out. We will also announce artists who will be flown by M!M!M! to Dubai for the festival in November.
“We remain committed to the arts in Canada and as this is our first step to spread our wings, we look forward to taking down amazing artists who will no doubt gain great exposure and access to new audiences in that region.”