A Taste of South Asia

Seven weeks of grueling parking structure practices and immense preparation paid off for over 130 members of UCI’s Indian Subcontinental Club who participated in the club’s 18th annual culture show Saturday night which attracted over 1,300 people at the Charles M. Shulz theater in Knott’s Berry Farm.
The annual event showcased 14 acts representing several Indian states as well as some of the other six subcontinents of India: Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka.
This year’s theme entitled ‘Samay Ki Awaaz’ or ‘The Voice of Time’ represented certain times of the year where Indian culture can be observed across many ethnic backgrounds that make up the various parts of the Indian subcontinent.
‘The ISC council wanted a more abstract theme so we could cater to our diverse audience members,’ said Rishi Kumar, fourth-year international studies major and co-president of ISC.
The show’s acts were presented in a chronological timeline starting in January, in accordance to different holidays and festivals observed by India and Pakistan.
Two members of the legislative council were designated the positions of culture show chairs and were responsible for the show’s overall production, including selecting the venue, organizing ticket sales and dealing with the theater production staff.
‘One of the main things we consider is the location and the price,’ Kumar said. ‘We try and get as many sponsors as we can, about seven to eight thousand dollars from them,’ Kumar said.
According to Kumar, the club regularly deals with local sponsors, including many retailers in Cerritos, a city in Los Angeles County known to many as ‘Little India.’
As comic relief for the audience, the show centered around a skit depicting the life of an Indian taxicab driver (known as the ‘Rickshaw’ in India) living in America who finally marries a young Indian female he has been courting.
In between each of the acts was a two-man emcee act hosted by ISC members Harvin Sethi and Paritosh Mathur who have also appeared in the comedy show ‘The Reel OC’ on the UCI Anteater Network Television.
The first performance highlighted one of the most prominent classical dances of India, ‘Bharatnatyam.’
One of the oldest and richest classical dances of India, Bharatnatyam originated in Tamil-Nadu, South India, and celebrates the culture of the Hindu religion, the most predominant religion in India.
Coinciding with the Indian New Year, Diwali, celebrated in late October was the performance of the Garba/Raas, a type of folk dance originating from the West Indian state of Gujarat.
The Pakistani Student Association also included their own performance, illustrating the different style of Pakistani music being brought to the Indian subcontinent.
This was PSA’s third year as performers in ISC’s culture show. Male participants of the dance proudly displayed their heritage by wearing their national cricket team’s uniforms.
One of the most prevalent characteristics of Indian culture is the history of its cinema, both new and old.
Bollywood (the merge of Indian and Western cinema) films are known for having typical overdramatic storylines and heavy influence from Western dance and music.
The film dance participants presented similar storylines to a mix of popular Hindi film songs.
To balance the timeline was a group of performers dancing to famous love songs in cinema dating back 50 years to the black and white film era.
Although the show highlighted many traditional dances found throughout India, some danced to famous mainstream radio rhythms in a synchronized hip-hop dance.
Other talents showcased included an a cappella singing act and a five-piece band.
Two of the show’s performances were put on by organized teams under the umbrella of ISC that compete in regular competitions during the school year.
Bhangra, a traditional dance of the Northern state of Punjab, mixes both traditional and modern dance moves.
This year’s team, Rangla Punjab, has competed in three competitions at California State University at Northridge, UC Davis and California State University at Fresno.
The second team, the UCI Hindi Film Dance Team *SITAARE*, showcased their group’s talent in a mini drama similar to one seen in a Hindi film.
The show concluded with a performance from members of ISC’s senior class.
Participants like first-year economics major Vikas Shah were happy to be part of the production.
‘The most memorable experience was getting to meet new people and starting new friendships,’ Shah said. ‘I devoted a lot of my time to the show but it was fun and I had a great time doing it.’
Other students like third-year ICS major Heena Patel were enthusiastic even during the practices that took place weeks before.
‘It was really fun going to practice and watching all the people getting really hyper while the Indian music is blasting throughout the parking structure,’ Patel said.
Most of the participants took part in the show because of the opportunity it gave them to display their culture.
‘It’s amazing to see that we can keep our culture alive,’ said Atul Kakkar, a third-year economics major. ‘Culture show time seems to be the time that everyone comes together and has fun