Media Release

ARCHIVE: 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | All Media Resources


Masala! Mehndi! Masti! (Aug. 19-21)
A three-day festival connecting the diverse elements of South Asian culture

TORONTO, ON (Thursday, July 21, 2011) – Harbourfront Centre, along with its lead summer partner The Toronto Port Authority, presents Masala! Mehndi! Masti! created and co-produced by Satya Arts Association, Aug. 19-21. The Masala! Mehndi! Masti! Festival, part of ‘Hot Spot Summer’ on downtown Toronto’s waterfront, is a celebration of incredibly diverse South Asian and South Asian-inspired culture. As a “Dor/Dhaga/Thread”, Masala! Mehndi! Masti! ties and binds diverse parts of the culture together, connecting and creating continuity, while not compromising the uniqueness of each part. It pulls and draws each element closer to the other or creates a link between them all. Sacred Threads abound in the day-to-day life of South Asians, and this festival weaves cultural threads that are just as powerful and important in many ways.

The film segment, MMMovies! features an exciting personality this year: the new face of Indian cinema and one of Bollywood’s 10 most desirable actors, Abhay Deol. His just-released film, “Zindagi Milegi Na Dobara (You Only Live Once)” has taken the planet by storm.

Winners of the reality TV show “India’s Got Talent”, the 17-member Shillong Chamber Choir from Meghalaya (a tiny north-eastern state of India) perform a repertoire of classical, jazz and musica sacra on the WestJet Stage. Sri Lanka’s biggest hip-hop stars, Bathiya and Santhush, fly in as festival closing headliners, and classical artist Snehasish Mozumder also performs with his double-necked mandolin, fusing gorgeous music with his unique voice. Part traditional and part contemporary, Bhanging by the Lake presents the best in Bhangra dance and music.

Dance takes over the Redpath Stage as some of the best choreographers come to Masala! Mehndi! Masti! to showcase the traditional and non-traditional dances of South Asia. Promising to excite the audience with fast-paced dance, Swar Sadhana is a group known for their traditional music; they present Dandiya Raas, inviting one and all to participate in this Gujarati community dance. GhuMMMo! is an hour-filled production of exceptional dance performances that highlights a range of dance techniques that include jazz, classical and ballet.

Actors take audiences on a journey through South Asian customs and culture in Sacrifice, by Nobel Prize winner Rabindranath Tagore, a tale about a king and queen in conflict with each other when religion dominates politics. Dirty Pakistani Lingerie has Pakistani-American women airing their dirty lingerie while trying to find their place among two very different cultures.

Join us this summer as we explore “Hot Spots” of intensity, artistic brilliance, connectivity, and regions of conflict that shape the impressions we have of ourselves and our world. This theme is programmed into each weekend festival to bring together rich artistic traditions from our own backyard and around the globe! It also presents a unique opportunity to experience top Canadian and international artists in a fun, family-friendly environment without ever leaving the city!

Hot spots may not always be comfortable, but they are conduits of change. Embrace change or defy it – it is ultimately up to you. This summer, Harbourfront Centre presents programming that asks: What’s your hot spot?

For additional information and complete event listings, the public may visit or call the Information Hotline at 416-973-4000. Harbourfront Centre is located at 235 Queens Quay West in the heart of downtown Toronto’s waterfront.


Carnatic Violins
Friday, Aug. 19, 7 p.m. & 9 p.m. (Redpath Stage)
Subhadra Vijaykumar is the Artistic Director of the Radha Academy of Carnatic Violin (South Indian classical). This esteemed violinist was nominated in 2010 for the MARTYS Awards and was selected by the Culture Division of Mississauga to perform at the opening of Kariya’s City Hall opening (located in Japan).

Waheed Soroor and Kice a.k.a Kastro (Afghanistan/Canada)
Friday, Aug. 19, 8 p.m. (WesJet Stage)
Afghan-Canadian performer Waheed Soroor uses his high-energy voice and talent with a wide variety of instruments to entertain audiences around the world. Kice is one of the first artists to take the Afghan-Canadian music scene by storm with his unique sound and style.

Bhanging by the Lake
Friday, Aug. 19, 9:30 p.m. (WestJet Stage)
Dhol Circle, DJ Double AA, Gabroo Punjab De & Paul - The Drummer - Nanuwa are joined by Toronto’s Jus Reign to perform the best in Bhangra dance and music. Part traditional, part contemporary and part fusion Bhangra, the high-energy celebration has become a festival favourite of Masala! Mehndi! Masti!

Seniors Desi Idol – Semi Finals
Saturday, Aug. 20, 1 p.m. (Redpath Stage)
South Asian senior singing stars take back the stage in this wonderful community involvement programme started by the festival in 2010. This is the semifinal round. Stay tuned for the finals on the 21st.

Nishith Pandya & Jonita Gandhi
Saturday, Aug. 20, 2 p.m. (WestJet Stage)
Multitalented singers Nitish and Jonita rock the stage with their latest Bollywood numbers.

Kaminari (Japan/Canada)
Saturday, Aug. 20, 2:30 p.m. (Redpath Stage)
Coming from Osaka, Japan, Yoshi and Chie are the musical duo Kaminari (which means ‘lighting’ in Japanese) and play the sitar and didgeridoo. Their unique style blends musical rhythms from India, Australia and Japan with sounds of jazz, funk, rock and more western musical genres.

SW Storm (Trinidad/UK)
Saturday, Aug. 20, 3 p.m. (WestJet Stage)
Considered to be one of the most versatile artists in the Caribbean, SW Storm brought a unique style to Soca and out of this came a new sub genre, “pop soca”. His vocal range and versatility makes him a unique performer that entertains audiences around the world, while bringing closer to each other the sounds of the Caribbean and South Asia

Snehasish Mozumder (India)
Saturday, Aug. 20, 8 p.m. (WestJet Stage)
Performing with his self-created double–neck mandolin, Snehasish Mozumder fuses classical and jazz music with his exceptional singing voice to create original and unforgettable music. The artist is one of a few performers recognized to be part of the new generation of Indian classical musicians.

Shillong Chamber Choir (India): North American Premiere
Saturday, Aug. 20, 9:30 p.m. (WestJet Stage)
Formed in 2001 to showcase the talents of Meghalaya (a north-eastern state of India), the 17-member Shillong Chamber Choir burst on the scene in 2010 via the hit reality TV show “India’s Got Talent”, bringing the judges to tears! Their music consists of a range of western classical, jazz and musica sacra, tribal music and even explores music from Indian cinema.

Chin Injeti (Vancouver)
Saturday, Aug. 20, 11 p.m. (Brigantine Room)
Producer, artist, writer and recent Grammy Award winner Chin Injeti’s recent move into hip-hop has come with great success. Born in India, the artist has worked with such artists as Drake, Eminem and Dr. Dre.

22 of Beatitude (Vancouver)
Saturday, Aug. 20, 11 p.m. (Brigantine Room)
From the producer of Delhi 2 Dublin comes 22 of Beatitude, a journey though modern Asian sounds. 22 was 10 years in the making, incorporating recording sessions with artists worldwide, from the temples in Bhutan to the street corners of Tokyo – an original take on South Asian pop music.

Seniors Desi Idol – Finals
Sunday, Aug. 21, 1 p.m. (Redpath Stage)
Finalists from the previous day enter the finals to challenge each other for the MMM 2011 Seniors Desi Idol title.

Devis n’ Divas
Shirsha: Sunday, Aug. 21, 1:30 p.m. (Redpath Stage)
Anusha Sivalingam: Sunday, Aug. 21, 4:30 p.m. (WestJet Stage)
Two exceptionally talented local South Asian female singers perform in Devis n’ Divas, a showcase that highlights their most popular and acclaimed work.

Rhythm of Rajasthan (India)
Sunday, Aug. 21, 2 p.m. (WestJet Stage)
The deserts of northwestern South Asia come alive by Toronto’s waterfront. This group of traveling artists is performing exclusively in the region at Masala! Mehndi! Masti!. Bringing Rajasthani sufi and devotional music and dance, they bridge religions and create a divine spiritual vibration.

Sunday, Aug. 21, 3:30 p.m. (Brigantine Room)
Singer and songwriter Mandippal performs an eclectic and acclaimed blend of poetry, pop and rock that has earned him a growing fan base and recognition as well-loved and hard working artist in Toronto.

Ghazal Party (Pakistan/Canada)
Sunday, Aug. 21, 5p.m. (Brigantine Room)
One of the finest singers of Pakistan, Naqi Ali Khan has a beautiful voice that has captivated audiences locally and all over the world.

Bathiya & Santhush (Sri Lanka)
Sunday, Aug. 21, 5 p.m. (WestJet Stage)
Classically trained vocalists Bathiya and Santhush have composed, produced and performed some of Sri Lanka’s greatest hits since 1998. Bathiya being the driving force behind production and arrangement, and Santhush as the emotion and pulse behind the music, the duo has great showmanship are considered the kings of hip hop in Sri Lanka.


Swar Sadhana Dandiya Raas
Saturday, Aug. 20, 5:30 p.m. (Redpath Stage)
A group known for original and traditional music, Swar Sadhana Dandiya Raas promises to bring non-stop, upbeat dance sequences that encourage everyone to pick up their dandiya sticks (two sticks used for traditional folk dance from India) and start dancing along.

GhuMMMo!: Sanskriti Arts
Saturday, Aug. 20, 9 p.m. (Redpath Stage)
One of the GTA’s most popular dance schools and companies, founded and directed by Puja Amin, enchants us with her unique dance styles.

GhuMMMo!: Hemant and Vaishali Panwar
Sunday, Aug. 21, 3 p.m. (Redpath Stage)
Born in a small village in Rajasthan, India, Hemant Panwar is a professional singer and dancer. He has taught in Gandharva Mahayidyalaya and in the Academy of Fine Arts and Literature, and has also composed music for television, theatre and documentary films. He and partner Vaishali are exponents of the Jaipur gharana (school) of Kathak dance. Together they run Panwar Dance Academy.

GhuMMMo!: Tarana Dance Academy & Sanskriti Arts
Sunday, Aug. 21, 4 p.m. (Redpath Stage)
Featuring outstanding dance performances from Tarana Dance Academy, who highlight a range of dance techniques from South Asia as well as jazz and ballet.


Friday, Aug. 19, 7 p.m. & 11 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 20, 12:30 p.m., & 10 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 21, 12:30 p.m. (Studio Theatre)
Exploring the work of South Asian actors, MMMovies! provides an intimate viewing experience. Abhay Deol, nephew of the legendary Dharmendra, and an accomplished actor in his own right is the featured personality this year. Dubbed as the new face of Indian cinema and also polled as one of the 10 most desirable hotties in Bollywood, Abhay is a force to be reckoned with. He was nominated for best male debut actor in 2005 and has acted in many award-winning movies, including “Oye Lucy! Lucky Oye!” and “Dev. D”. His just-released film is “Zindagi Milegi Na Dobara (You Only Live Once)” which has taken the world by storm. He is featured at a Q&A session and an “In Conversation with Abhay Deol” on stage.

In Conversation with the cast of “Breakaway”
Saturday, Aug. 20, 4 p.m. (Brigantine Room)
An on stage tete-a-tete with the cast and crew of the yet-to-be-released Canadian movie, “Breakaway”, including lead actor Vinay Virmani, gives insights on the process of creating this film, its triumphs and its tribulations.


Roshni Mansukhani
Saturday, Aug. 20, 1 p.m., 3 p.m. & 5 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 21, 12:30 p.m. & 2:30 p.m. (Lakeside Terrace)
Working in the food industry since the age of 13, Roshni Mansukhani is now the executive chef for Merrimack College located in Boston. Mansukhani recently won the Silver Medal at the Knorr Competition and was named the Food Network’s “Chopped” Champion in 2009.

Several specially commissioned food vendors also provide taste-bud tantalizing South Asian food as well as other mouth-watering culinary delights from around the globe.


Dirty Pakistani Lingerie by Aizzah Fatima (U.S.) (18 )
Saturday, Aug. 20, 7:30 p.m. (Studio Theatre)
Six Pakistani-American female characters are brought to life to air their dirty lingerie while struggling to find their place at the chaotic juncture of two very different cultures. No subject is off limits!
Warning: This show may offend some viewers.

Komic Sutra (18 )
Saturday, Aug. 20, 10:30 p.m. (Lakeside Terrace)
Managing to see the world in a comical light, stand up comedian Nitin Mirani is a pioneer of the comedy circuit in the Middle East and is the founder of Komic Sutra. From the recession to Blackberries, Hollywood vs. Bollywood and relationships between different cultures, Nitin Mirani’s comedy sketch is an unpredictable and highly entertaining act.

Sunday, Aug. 21, 5 p.m. (Studio Theatre)
A play written by Rabindranath Tagore, Sacrifice tells the story of a king and queen who are in conflict with each other when the King decides to abolish animal sacrifice. This decision pits him against his Chief church advisor and his wife, in a time when religion dominated politics.


Rhythm of Rajasthan Workshop
Saturday, Aug. 20, 2.30 p.m. (Brigantine Room)
A workshop that demystifies Rajasthani music, exploring the merging of sufi (Hindu and Islamic) spiritual cultures, and the transfer of their skill and talent from one generation to the next. Led by Nitin Harsh.

In Conversation With Monika Deol
Saturday, Aug. 20, 9 p.m. (Lakeside Terrace)
An Canadian pop culture icon and recipient of the Masala! Mehndi! Masti! Trailblazer Award, Monika Deol broke through stereotypes and made history as a South Asian woman headlining Canada’s top entertainment music and dance show, “Electric Circus.” This conversation is sure to be an inspiring insight into the South Asian experience in the 80s and 90s.

GhuMMo!: Bollycore – dance class
Sunday, Aug. 21, 12:30 p.m. (Redpath Stage)
Award-winning choreographer Puja Amin and her ensemble take over the Redpath Stage, blending various dance forms that are impressive yet comfortingly simple to help you work up an appetite with a fun dance workout.

Chillin’ In Your Brown Skin: HIV Stigma Kills
Sunday, Aug. 21, 5 p.m. (Lakeside Terrace)
This social issues panel features an honest, blunt and extremely important open discussion on how damaging the HIV stigma can be. An eye-opening call to action to treat people living with HIV and AIDS with dignity and respect. Produced by the Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention.

Kids’ Craft
Saturday, Aug. 20, 1 p.m. & 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 2, 1 p.m. & 4 p.m. (HarbourKIDS Zone Tent)
Inspired by South Asian culture and festivities, children will create a themed craft.

Saturday, Aug. 20, 4 p.m. & 4:30 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 21, 3:30 & 4 p.m. (HarbourKIDS Zone Tent)
Children and parents participate together through arts, crafts and storytelling inspired by South Asian culture and festivities.

Bachcha Party
Sunday, Aug. 21, 1 p.m. (Brigantine Room)
A special section of Masala! Mehndi! Masti! celebrating the talent of youngsters singing and dancing as well as the professionals can.


Throughout the festival there will be numerous kiosks offering South Asian and other articles from around the globe for sale. Mehndi (henna) parlours and boutiques will also cater to those looking to enhance their aesthetic appeal with a South Asian touch.


SoundClash presented by NOW Magazine, Harbourfront Centre's Music Award
The summer’s hottest music competition happens at Harbourfront Centre with $10,000 in cash prizes up for grabs! Toronto’s hottest artists and bands take centre stage to compete for the SoundClash music award. A panel of music critics, bloggers, artists and industry reps selected the following five artists out of 250 submissions: Young Empires, Kids & Explosions, Miles Jones, The Worst Pop Band Ever and Saidah Baba Talibah. Each artist and/or band will play the WestJet Stage this July to compete for three cash prizes and a variety of giveaways. The winner will be determined by a combination of jury selections and public votes.

Longo’s Free Flicks
Tuesdays at dusk (approximately 9 p.m.), July 5 through Aug. 9 (WestJet Stage)
Join us outdoors by the lake for a screening of six different films, each highlighting the experience of living in a different city! Come explore Toronto, New York, Paris, New Delhi and Toyko and vote on the final film selection (Venice, Toronto or Cairo).

Hot off the Grill
Come and enjoy the flavour of the season as our festivals put a spotlight on grilled foods from around the globe. Whether you prefer your grill from the Deep South or the Far East, a whole summer’s worth of food demonstrations is waiting for you!

Longo’s Friday Picnics
Fridays, July through August, between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. (Ann Tindal Park)
Buy a sandwich, a snack, or an internationally inspired meal at the World Café and then enjoy it sitting on the Ann Tindal park, or pack your cooler with your favorite feast! Live entertainment will vary each week.

Sundays, 3 p.m. (locations vary)
A hot summer series devoted to young people and families, HarbourKIDS presents a hot lineup of artists and activities that will move, shake-up and entertain.

Dancing on the Pier
Thursdays, June 23 to Sept. 2 (Various locations on the waterfront)
Explore culturally hot dance trends and movements from across the globe that will heat up the Harbourfront Centre site and its surroundings! The waterfront will be filled with sizzling flavors, movement and sounds from the best choreographers, social dance clubs and DJs to heat up the boardwalk!

World Café
Open weekends, July 1 to Oct.10 (Lakeside Terrace Tent)
World Café offers a variety of international cuisine prepared by a rotating selection of popular Toronto restaurants and caterers. Come check out our new location and patio seating area!

International Marketplace
Open weekends, May 28 to Oct. 2
Shop for delightful gifts and treasures from around the globe!

Canoe Rides on the Natrel® Pond
Daily, May to October
Our famous canoe rides will be available at the Natrel® Pond all summer long! Take a break and enjoy a fun float beside our picturesque boardwalk.

Hot spots may not always be comfortable, but they are conduits of change. Embrace change or defy it – it is ultimately up to you. This summer, Harbourfront Centre presents programming that asks: What’s your hot spot?

Harbourfront Centre is an innovative, non-profit cultural organization which provides internationally renowned programming in the arts, culture, education and recreation, all within a collection of distinctive venues on a 10-acre site in the heart of Toronto's downtown waterfront. For more information visit

The Toronto Port Authority, Harbourfront Centre’s lead summer partner, owns and operates the Port of Toronto, the Billy Bishop Airport, and the Outer Harbour Marina. It is committed to building a waterfront community that is vibrant and enjoyable for Torontonians and visitors, by working with partners to create a clean, green, prosperous water’s edge. For more information visit


For more media information contact:
Harbourfront Centre: Rosie Shaw

Masala! Mehndi! Masti! : Lachman Balani

General media email:
For high-resolution images and additional media resources:
Where you are:   Home / Who We Are / Media Resources