Desi pride

Desi pride

Karishma Mehrotra

Spotlite on India amazes the audience yet again



Backstage: panicked expressions and hurried looks of the participants. Those in jeans felt more out of place than the non-Indians dressed up in vibrant saris and kurtas.

The crowd up front: smiles and stirs of excitement ready to see if this year’s Spotlite on India would live up to their expectations. From the looks of the Indian scene projected onto the curtain and the lighted Indian scarves that lined the stage, the cast was prepared to do so.

Tickets for Spotlite on India, the annual Indian cultural show hosted by the Indo-American Student Association, were probably more in demand than any other event this year. Not only was the idea of embracing Indian culture appealing to even white-washed students, but everyone knew it was going to be a good show. And a good show it was.

6:16, and the room was filled with proud relatives and students from many different schools.

6:30, and the video cameras were out, saris wrapped and bhangra turbans fixed.
The highlights of the night included the hilarious emcees (seniors Varsha Salunkhe, Adithya Rao and Keshav Saharia, and juniors Yash Chitneni and Anandi Somasundaram) who had the audience bursting into laughter at the desi parody of 50 Cent’s song “Ladoo shop” and Raas Garba with Star Wars lightsabers instead of dandiya sticks referencing “Obi wan Jalebi” (an Indian sweet).

“Jadooi Juniors” flaunted their Bollywood (the Indian movie industry) moves with spins, pumps and snaps while the “Powerpuff Girls” displayed moves with sparkly energy. “Boom Boom Bhangra” convinced the audience that an all-girls bhangra team can bring the same flair. Raas Garba portrayed their unique spinning and swirling skirts routine with their very own bouncy ponytails and pounding dandiya sticks.

As for musical talent, there was an excellent mixture provided for the variety of audience members. “TBK”’s lead singer, junior Saurabh Deo, provided a subtly husky tone that caused the entire audience to clap to the beats of Bollywood songs like “New York”. Senior Leela Tanikella boasted a clear and romantic voice while swaying along to the music. A more classical touch, with the song Bhaja Govindam, provided by sophomore Priyanka Rao, who was accompanied by senior Naveen Vankatesan, may have required a more acquired taste yet lent a new level to the presentation of the Indian culture. Two-fifths of “Brown Sound” (seniors Shreepal Shah and Venkatesan) added Indian influence to their songs from YouTube with topics like love marriage and cricket.  
The fashion show was filled with lip-syncing, energetic students (many of whom were non-Indian) modeling an ensemble of Indian attire while grooving to the catchy tunes of Bollywood. The “14 Idiots” (named from the famous Indian film, “3 Idiots”) gladly presented senior pride through their adorable love story with a melody of Bollywood hits, matching top hats and costumes of every color.

Though we have seen the MV Bhangra routine more than four times this year, the group still got the crowds’ feet thumping and shoulders moving. No surprise there.

The night ended right on time, closing with a full house singing to “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “Jana Gana Mana”, the national anthems of America and India, respectively.

8:59, and the families hug, rejoice, express their pride as the kids rush over to the annual after party.

Buy the DVD from Indo-American Student Association for $3.