(The Ahora Fine Arts dancers lead the crowd in a few Kathak Indian dance lessons at the Bollywood Family Movie Night on August 27, 2022 held on the front lawn of the Holy Spirit Parish in Stittsville. Photos and video – Stittsville Central.)
The Bollywood family movie night held on August 27th was a first for Stittsville. The size of the crowd in attendance was a testament that it certainly was a welcome night of entertainment for our community. It was all sparked by a conversation between Jameel Lalji, a member of the Stittsville Diversity Committee, and Councillor Glen Gower, in which the Councillor suggested doing something multicultural. “It made perfect sense as I am a member of the Stittsville Diversity Committee,” Jameel told Stittsville Central.
Jameel knew what he wanted to do – a Bollywood family movie night. The night would expose the community to another culture while bringing everyone together for a night of fun.
Jameel got to work organizing the evening. He invited MPP Goldie Ghamari, asking that she say a few words on opening the evening. He also decided that the evening should showcase even more Indian culture to the community – Indian dancing. It also helped that Jameel’s wife, Zeeya, had the contacts to bring her Stittsville friend and well-known master of Kathak Classical Indian dance, Anjali Patil, and her Aroha Fine Arts dancers to perform before the crowd and share a few lessons with those in attendance.
Jameel, who owns Jameel Insurance & Financial Services Limited in Stittsville, has sponsored many community events, including sponsoring the cost of the corn for the Sweet Corn Festival held earlier in the day. He shared with us, “There is one reason only for sponsoring community events – you can’t be a local business without giving back to the community in which you reside. It’s Karma”.
He wanted to ensure that everything for the evening was free – the movie, the Aroha dancers, Busker the Clown giving balloons to the kids, 400 samosas (freshly made from the Indian Supermarket on Hazeldean Road), 350 bags of popcorn, 250 cups of delicious chai, bottles of water and granola bars.
“With the state of the economy right now and people feeling the pinch, I want to make sure that everything is free for the evening. Everyone can come, enjoy an evening with their family and not have to worry about the cost. We are also collecting donations for the Stittsville Food Bank,” beamed Jameel.
While organizing the event, the choice of a movie seemed to be the most difficult task of all for Jameel. “As you know, 99% of Indian Bollywood films have violence, crimes or love triangles that are forbidden and not at all family appropriate. So, after my assistant and I viewed about 500 movies between us and not really seeing anything appropriate, it was decided to go the Disney route for our Bollywood move choice – Hawaa Huwaai,” Jameel told us.
Hawaa Hawaai, released in 2014, is truly an inspirational family movie that follows the journey of a young slumboy, Arjun (played by Partho Gupta), who has one dream – to own a pair of shiny roller skates and be a champion of the sport-on-wheels. You’ll just have to watch it.
Jameel purchased the 25 foot movie screen as he intends to host many more family movie nights which the community will look forward to attending. To find out what other upcoming events Jameel may be hosting or sponsoring, follow his Facebook page.