Gerrard India Bazaar BIA proudly presented the 14th Annual TD Festival of South Asia with an estimated crowd of 200,000 in rotation over the weekend of July 16-17, between Greenwood and Coxwell. For the first time, TD Festival of South Asia showcased a truly multi-disciplinary line-up of artists and including Visual Arts, Literary Arts, Live Arts installation on-site alongside the Performing Arts.
The BIA Chairman, Mr. Chand Kapoor, Toronto City Councilor, Ms. Paula Fletcher, MP for Toronto–Danforth, Ms. Julie Dabrusin, Councilor, Ms. Mary-Margaret McMahon, BIA Vice Chair, Mr. Inder Jandoo and other committee members joined the 45 minutes opening parade on Saturday July 16th from Culture Gully to the main performance stage from 5:30pm onwards.
The signature CULTURE GULLY, by the festival producer/director Tushar Unadkat was authentic crowd-puller. Located North of Woodfield on Gerrard St. E., gave visitors an experience of rural South Asia with walk-in Mud Hut by Chintan Bhavsar, who won the first prize of $200 cash, at the Rangoli competition (folk floor-art) curated by Asha-Aditi Ruparelia. Culture Gully also staged Ishrat Raza Suhrwardy, a potter with a wheel, kite exhibition by Dimple Nayak and a backdrop of Taj Mahal as a vintage photo-booth. The traditionally dressed Chaiwallah (tea vendors) offering free tea in clay pots left the audience charmed. The Panwallah, the flutist, an astrologer, the flower-girl were interesting characters seen floating in the Culture Gully for audience engagement.
For the first time in 14 years, FSA had artist not just from all over the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) and different provinces but international. Bollywood celebrities gave an exciting experience to the audiences on stage located South of Haiwatha on Gerrard St. E., including youth heartthrob, singer Raghav, Ali Quli Mirza (Bigg Boss fame) and Kabir Sadanand (Bollywood actor, director).
Juno and Much Music Award nominee Tony Singh (AKA Punjabi by Nature) and his band Sirens of Shanti, energized the festival audience with the new Bollywood style music.
India’s president’s award for Nari Shakti (woman power) winner, standup comedian Vasu Primlani hosted the 2-day event alongside with Roger’s TV talk-show host Randy Persaud. Local celebrities graced the stage as guest MC like Geetika Bhardwaj (OMNI’s Badhai Ho & Bollywood Boulevard Fame) and Annie Koshy (JAZZFM).
For entertainment, main stage had vivid Bollywood style dances to Indian folk dance by Sanskriti Arts, and similarly Sawitri Theatre mesmerized the Culture Gully.
“Oneness”, the theme of visual arts, comprising of digital photographic prints combined the idea of yoga and spirituality by acclaimed Indian artist, Nilaoyy Nandi, was on display at the Riverdale Hub from July 9-17, 2016.
Literary Arts panels included authors and artists from contemporary to veterans in the industry including, critically acclaimed Tarek Fatah, Pushpa Acharya, Tahir Aslam Gora, Meena Chopra, Munir Pervaiz, Mayank Bhatt, Jasmine Sawant, Ravi Jain (DORA Winner), Dalbir Singh Jawaid Danish, Danish Ahmed and book read by Harjit Dhillon at the Gerrard-Ashdale Toronto Public Library.
The FSA offered main stage performances included act by the members of Toronto Table Ensemble, karaoke singers like Kairav Naik and Julia Tyne, Steel Pan Band to name a few. FSA also had 50’s rock and roll music by Tony Day Music with a Vintage car as a back drop at Highfield and Gerrard. From Mermaid Oracle, hula-hoops, sword-dancing and belly-dancing by Stacie Noel, face-painting, caricature artist, to scrumptious line-up of food vendors made the weekend perfect for families to celebrate the South Asian arts and culture. Free admissions from Noon to 11pm had visitors enjoy the summer as in South Asia.
Over all, the FSA embodied the true spirit of South Asians by showcasing Bolly Yoga by Ashima Suri, Cloga (clown Yoga for the kids) by Melanie Rosen and merged non-South Asian performances to symbolize the oneness of the city and diverse entertainment for every age group.
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