The Indian Student Association brought the spirit ofBollywood, the vast world of Indian entertainment and the performing arts to The University Theater during their 2018 culture show, Kahaani: The Untold Story.
More than two hundred friends and family from regions all over the state, from Orange County, to Riverside, to the Bay gathered to clap, sing and dance in celebration of their peers.
The audience was chalked full of friendly faces, excitement and laughter.
Indians from far and wide they came to support the performers Saturday night where they saw other’s untold stories unravel on stage.
These stories covered a wide range of social issues and topics.
Ranging from the light hearted to more serious issues presented in a flashy entertaining style, which made it difficult to look away.
ISA co-president Nirmeet Bhogill, second year CIS student believes that Indian students at CPP should showcase their culture, and show other cultures how India is a country of diversity, and how it has progressed.
“Our aim is to show the students here at CPP just how the Indian culture has evolved through time and Indian dancing has as well. Indian dancing is adaptive to many cultures, it isn’t just Indian dancing,” said Bhogill.
Seeing that many of the atendees were actually Indian-Americans, the cermonial start somewhat represented that reality.
The American and Indian cultures became one in the performances, beginning with the American National Anthem and Indian National Anthem both being performed before the festivities.
Every performance was different.
Some dances were solely Indian inspired and others were fusions of American music and Indian music.
The night was organized with the intention to teach others about the culture and to tell this untold story most of the Indian students hold.
Like those students, the other ISA co-president, Dipali Patel, a second year communication student, expressed her want for students to know that there is more to the Indian culture than many realize.
“I want people to know more about the Indian culture, because people just know about the accent and what they see in the movies, and I want them to know there is more than that,” said Patel.
During the interaction between the hosts and the audience, a student told his untold story of how he immigrated to The United States from India at the age of eight.
He dreamt of one day working for NASA.
As of two years ago his dream came true, and now he truly believes America is the land of opportunity.
As people told their stories, other stories were told through the use of performing arts.
Ten different acts, from solo dancers to groups of 25, danced their way across the stage.
The performers included students from Cal State Long Beach and our very own Bollywood dance group.
Glitter skirts flowed in every direction on stage. They danced to traditional music such as Semi Classical, Traditional Tamil dances, Bollywood fusion and Bhangra.
Each dance represented a different region of India.
The variety in styles based on the many regions in India might be surprising to those who are not familiar with Indian culture.
However, those in the know realise that India is a country that is as diverse as they get.
Attendees like Pranav Patel, second year Information systems student at UC Riverside, were glad to see their culture come to life and have a piece of India in The United States.
“I’m glad to see the representation of culture on campus, and be able to support my fellow South Asian community.
I love how much pride people have of this culture and be able to perform it on stage.”
Guests also had the opportunity to participate in activities during the 30-minute intermission, such as the henna station hosted by one of the event sponsors and Citrus Cosmetology.
Henna is an Indian art form, where ink is added to skin in a caligraphic style to emulate a tattooed look.
The henna ink is not permanent, however, it does last much longer than a typical temporary tattoo.
The ISA also put together a fashion show to put traditional Indian attire on full display to the entire audience.
Authentic Indian garbs such as the lehenga, a long embroidered women’s skirts and the kurta, traditional Indian male dresses were showcased front and center.
Dilan Patel, a second year Business student at Mt. San Antonio College, has attended this show for a couple of years, and expressed his gratitude for students to have the courage to get on stage, and give everyone a taste of a culture many are not familiar with.
“I like how everyone can come out to show what they are made of and perform. I’ve come to the culture show for the past two years and see how it has evolved each year,” said Patel.
The guests considered Kahaani: The Untold Story the best way this generation can keep the Indian tradition represented on our campus.
This year’s Indian culture showcase may have passed, however it is a yearly affair.
For the quality of the content and entertainment the prices are well justified.
Kahaani offered dances, singing, comedy skits, fashion shows and a friendly environment to boot. Tickets for this event started at $10 if you took advantage of the pre-sale.
At the door prices were still a reasonable $15.
For the price of an average movie ticket you can get an experience that is few and far between in California.
If you have any curiosity in regards to the Indian culture or just want to discover more of your own heritage, make sure to catch their show next year.
Or reach out to the ISA in order to findout about future meeting and events to better understand the complexity of the Indian culture.
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