History of Bollywood on display at Pearson theatre

From slow, soothing melodies to fast-paced, bold instrumentals, Bollywood has something for everyone’s ears.

That’s the spirit behind a Bollywood-themed concert planned for this month at Brampton’s Lester B. Pearson Memorial Theatre.

Hosted by Greater Toronto Area event promoter Saksham Entertainment, the show, entitled Tribute Bollywood, will take place Saturday, Dec. 9.

Tribute Bollywood features five different singers, as well as a full orchestra conducted by Raman Kant. All performers hail from the GTA—where they are well known within the Indian musical community, one of the organizers said.

Dinesh Choyikandi, who serves as Saksham Entertainment’s head of programming and will also be singing at the concert himself, said the line-up was created to showcase the wide array of styles of Bollywood music and musicians.

“Because Indian music is so diverse, there are so many singers,” Choyikandi said. “They each have a unique voice and different style of singing. So the singers we’ve taken are all very versatile. That’s the reason why we picked them.”

One of those singers is Mohua Parial, who performs Bengali and Hindustani classical music, as well as Bollywood songs, which she’ll be singing at the Dec. 9 show.

“Bollywood is a fusion kind of music,” she said. “I personally like the melodies quite a bit. I connect with them a little bit more than any other styles of Bollywood music. This is a tribute to Bollywood. Even though it covers all different aspects of it, my favourite is melodies.”

While people often look at Bollywood as one genre of music, Choyikandi said it’s important to understand its evolution. Just as rock and country music have their own sub-genres, so too does Bollywood. He’ll be focusing on sharing songs going back to the early days of the genre, starting in the 1950s and spanning up to the present.

Choyikandi’s performance will also leverage skills from his day job—a graphic designer—by including visual components, such as animations, to accompany his vocal offerings.

He wants the Indian community to hold onto Bollywood’s roots.

“(The genre) has changed a lot,” he said. “People have forgotten the old music, which is really the cream of it….They should not forget this. The latest trends with Bollywood music are taking remixes of old songs, so that means that some connection is there. The new generation wants those old songs but they’ve made them into a modern type of music.”

He also said there’s a generational factor: a lot of younger people are listening instead to Western music, or Bollywood music that’s incorporating Western styles, like rap and pop.

Even so, he’s anticipating a wide range of ages in the audience, which is expected to have over 400 people in it.

Parial said Tribute Bollywood is structured in such a way that all who come, regardless of their musical preferences, will be able to appreciate the show.

“Because we’re doing a tribute to Bollywood itself instead of focusing on a certain era, I’m sure it’s going to attract different people,” she said. “Anyone who’s attracted to the older melodies from the 70s and 80s will show up, and then if someone is attracted to the songs in the early 2000s or present, they’ll get that too. There’s something for everyone.”


If you go…

Tribute Bollywood at the Lester B. Pearson Memorial Theatre

Saturday, December 9, 6:30 pm

150 Central Park Dr., Brampton

Tickets: $15 to $25, available at the Lester B. Pearson Theatre Box Office or at 905-874-2800

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