From 9 years of a local 40,000 people audience in-person…to a first-time global 1.5M views virtual festival
Canada’s largest South Asian festival since 2011 was used to a 40,000 people audience in-person – enter the COVID-19 pandemic and a need to go fully virtual, with a full lineup, only now to #StayHome with #BollywoodMonster Mashup – and to win a ‘Virtual Festival of the Year’ award afterwards…
Welcoming the LGBTQ+ community to the South Asian diaspora in Canada
Constantly trying to push boundaries and introduce mind-blowing innovative programming, we wanted to welcome and include the Canadian South Asian LGBTQ+ community on stage.
Working with local non-for-profit partner Concerned Kids in Toronto who, via ties into the local LGBTQ+ community, was able to build a bridge between that community in particular and our South Asian Bollywood festival – resulting in a stellar, unique and innovative lineup for the virtual editions of the festival.
Like in in-person years of Canada’s largest South Asian festival – physically located in Mississauga, a suburb of Toronto, Ontario, Canada with a 40,000 audience count – we bring international talent to the stage.
Curating the full local and international lineup in Canada, we bring in famous chart-popping Bollywood artists with millions of views on Spotify, YouTube, a vast pool of hit songs and awards – directly from India.
For the 2020 and 2021 virtual #StayHome versions of #BollywoodMonster Mashup, our international stars filmed their shows locally in India and we integrated it into the festival livestream premiering on Facebook Live.
Past headliners include Bollywood stars like Nikhita Gandhi, Jonita Gandhi, Aakanksha Sharma, Kamal Khan, Ash King, Monali Thakur, etc. The virtual editions #StayHome with #BollywoodMonster Mashup included international headliners:
Raftaar, Indian Desi hip-hop rapper with millions of streams, co-founder of the Desi Hip Hop label named Kalamkaar, Raftaar is best known for the hit songs Baby Marvake Maanegi and Dhaakad from the 2016 Bollywood movie Dangal. Raftaar has won multiple awards e.g. Brit Asia TV Music Award for Best Urban Single, PTC’s Best Club Song Of The Year Award, PTC’s Music Director Of The Year Award, etc. Furthermore, Raftaar has been starring as judge on several reality shows like MTV Hustle, Dance India Dance and Roadies. For #StayHome with #BollywoodMonster Mashup 2021, Raftaar starred Rashmeet Kaur as a special guest performer in his show.
Harshdeep Kaur, a multi award winning sensational Bollywood playback singer known for her Bollywood Hindi, Punjabi and Sufi songs, counting hits like Zaalima from Raees, Dilbaro from Raazi, Nachde Ne Saare from Baar Baar Dekho, etc. Harshdeep Kaur She has recorded songs for film music in various Indian languages, such as Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali and many more, and is today a leading playback singer of Indian cinema, and known as ‘Sufi Ki Sultana’ (en: ‘Sultan of Sufi’) because of her soulful Sufi renditions.
Javed Ali, widely regarded as the versatile golden voice of all time in the Bollywood film industry with his Sufi hit song Kun Faya Kun of the film Rockstar is featured on the all-time best in the 10 Sufi Hit songs.
Priyanka, being an international drag sensation, cultural icon and pop princess, she was crowned the first-ever winner of season one of Canada’s Drag Race. Priyanka is also co-host of a new podcast, Famous This Week alongside Canada’s Drag Race host and RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 11 finalist, Brooke Lynn Hytes. Priyanka self-produces a weekly YouTube series, is based in Toronto and Los Angeles, was born in Whitby, Ontario, Canada of Indo-Guyanese descent, and has toured in the UK, U.S. and Canada. For #StayHome with #BollywoodMonster Mashup 2021, Priyanka was the dance headliner of the online festival’s South Asian x Bollywood x LGBTQ+ segment.
Sunny Leone, model and actress in the American and Indian film industries, known for Bollywood films like Ragini MMS 2, Jackpot and Raees. For #StayHome with #BollywoodMonster Mashup 2020, Sunny Leone was the dance headliner.
Meet Bros, a duo consisting of Harmeet and Manmeet Singh, is one of the most sought-after Bollywood music directors. They have delivered chartbusters such as Lamborghini from Jai Mummy Di, Main Tera Boyfriend from Raabta and Baby Doll from Ragini MMS 2 and have won several music awards e.g. the Filmfare Awards for Best Music Director in 2016. For #StayHome with #BollywoodMonster Mashup 2020, the Meet Bros featured Khushboo Grewal in their show.
Arjuna Harjai, a critically-acclaimed Bollywood composer and singer best known for his hit song Choti Choti Gal from Motichoor Chaknachoor. He has composed music and songs for film Guddu Engineer and television series P.O.W. – Bandi Yuddh Ke where the composed the original score for 107 episodes and six songs whilst lending his voice for all the songs alongside famous Bollywood co-singers Nandini Srikar, Shashaa Tirupati, Jonita Gandhi, etc.
Virtual Meet’n’Greet and Spotlight interviews
Additionally, in order to get a greater output adapting to virtual, we decided to include more virtual elements than just the on-stage performances. As such, the headliners were also partaking in a separate Intagram Live Meet’n’Greet plus a Spotlight interview.
High quality studio productions
From live on stage in non-pandemic years, to a full TV set production, we had days of recording music performances, dance troupes, emcees, international headliner interviews, all with a stunning production crew and dedicated team — navigating amidst face masks and other COVID-protocols.
In 2021, learning from a 2020 production, we upped our production budget significantly, now shooting at a local 1,300 people theatre – with jibs and custom lighting to name a few upgrades.
#StayHome for days of broadcast
Premiering on Facebook Live, an international audience was tuned in for days of entertainment on end.
The second pandemic virtual edition 2021 #BollywoodMonster Mashup was now bigger and better than the year before – with four days of Family Fun virtual broadcast and live Q&As, leading up to three days of concerts with local and international talent
The virtual festivals had 1.5 million views online and thousands of engagements. Post the premiere, a Double Take was published as well with emcees and interviews of select acts from the lineup.
‘Virtual festival of the year’ (2021)
For our very first 2020 production, we received the local award ‘Virtual Festival of the Year’ by Mississauga Arts Council.
#BollywoodMonster Mashup is the LARGEST South Asian festival in Canada. Past accolades include:
#BollywoodMonster Mashup is produced by monstrARTity, an award-winning, Mississauga-based incorporated not-for-profit organization filling systemic cultural and economic gaps in underserved diverse communities via festivals, interactive workshops for youth & seniors, artist mentorship and youth employment programs. This FREE, massive, multi-day festival showcases international Bollywood stars, spectacular Canadian musicians & dancers, hands-on crafts & heritage activities, food & shopping, comedy, VIP experiences and more!