Spotlite dazzles

Spotlite dazzles

Shreya Shankar

In typical Indian fashion, the show started a half-hour late, littered with endearing glitches and tons of distinctive Desi humor.

Until last Saturday afternoon, May 23, I hadn’t been to India in about four years. But at half-past 6 PM, I was home.
In typical Indian fashion, the show started a half-hour late, littered with endearing glitches and tons of distinctive Desi humor.

With a deftly executed yet somewhat lackluster beginning, the show opened with the Garba/Raas team. While some individual dancers were talented and energetic, the overall act lacked the spark that many others had.

Senior Kiran Kanekal and his brother sophomore Pavan Kanekal comprised the following act, The Kanekal Brothers. The duo performed classical Indian music, with Pavan on percussion with the tabla while Kiran sang. The act, which emcee Nikhil Handyal jokingly proclaimed “designated nap time”, turned out to be anything but. Though the affinity for Indian classical music seemed to be more of an acquired taste to the mostly student-aged audience, it brought a mature element to the otherwise light-hearted and humor-centered show. Pavan’s intricate tabla solo didn’t hurt either.

The next act, a doubtless highlight of the evening, was a performance from seniors Apoorva Pande and Tarun Galgali. Together, the laid back twosome managed to simultaneously enrapture the audience with their content and display their respective talents, a feat in itself. Pande casually picked at an acoustic guitar while Galgali sang, starting off with popular Hindi songs, then falling into an string of various songs — from OneRepublic’s ‘Apologize’ to The Beatle’s classic ‘I’ve Just Seen A Face’ — with hilariously pointed observations about girls, school and life thrown in along the way. Image

After some more well-choreographed and brilliantly performed song and dance numbers and a few hilarious skits from the emcees, the vibrant and decadent fashion show began. Groups and couples decked out in various styles of Indian clothing alternately strutted their stuff and danced to a medley of Hindi music. The fashion show ended with a bang when the participants gathered onstage and danced to AR Rahman’s ‘Jai Ho’. A high point of the showcase, the unconventional fashion show was vibrant and upbeat, displaying bright colors and bright faces.

An endless intermission later, the seniors in the show performed, bubbling and overflowing with energy and wowing the audience with some surprising stunts and effects. They were followed by the Xpressions dance company, which performed a fusion of the classical dances, Kathak and Bahratnatyam. The piece had a strong added Bollywood element, but the dance group stayed true to their classical sensibilities, adding just enough modern flair to keep it interesting.

Last—but obviously not least—came MV Bhangra. Though their routine was a bit tired, the same as the one at Diversity Day, it nonetheless wowed the audience. Their standard tricks did not fail to impress the onlookers, and their energy ultimately spoke louder than the music. The audience was left with Indo-American Student Associations President president Neil Raina’s announcement of an official after-party hosted at the Student Center.

A tongue-in-cheek tribute to Bollywood, Spotlite 2009 illustrated the colorful culture of American-raised Indians without compromising their roots. This year, Spotlite burned bright.