Indian Culture Comes Alive at UCI

Sunny Patel | Staff Photographer

Sunny Patel | Staff Photographer
Traditional Indian folk dances are on full display at the Indian Culture Show, entitled “One World, One Story.”

Few people could have guessed what surprises the 2009 Indian Culture Show would have in store. Some might have predicted it would have been simply fun to watch, or even that it would be a spectacular show, but few could have guessed it could arguably be called the most compelling show put on at UC Irvine this year.

Organized by the Indian Subcontinental Club, the Indian Culture Show entitled, “Ek Duniya Ek Kahani” — translated to “One World, One Story”— was not just limited to Bollywood dancing and Bhangra. The show had everything a person could expect from a professional Indian culture show, and then some: dancing that ranged from modern hip-hop to classical Indian, a performance from the Pakistani Student Association, a Hindi/English rock band, an Indian a cappella group, and corny, yet funny emceeing. Everything, short of a few performances, was phenomenal. To top it off, the majority of the proceeds from “Ek Duniya Ek Kahani” went to a non-profit charity organization called Vibha.

After a slow start with the first piece, the show hit the ground running with the second performance featuring a popular folk dance of Gujarat called Garba/Raas. The precision executed in these dances was incredible as every person moved rhythmically to the sounds of the flute and drum while clapping their hands in sync not only with one another, but with the beat of the pung, an Indian drum.

The show wasn’t limited strictly to classical Indian folk dances, however. One of the most captivating pieces was the hip-hop performance, which fused traditional American hip-hop beats to flashes of various types of Indian instruments. The result, musically, was something similar to a Punjabi MC. The dancing was something else entirely, an impressive display considering that the dancers were amateurs.

The show was much more than Indian dancing, however. Much of the excitement came from breaks during parts of the show, when emcees Akash Shah and Joel Anttumalil entertained the audience with corny and crudely performed, yet humorous jokes. They dressed up as girls and poked fun at their culture, remarkably tying in every one of their jokes to the next upcoming piece — and did it all in good taste.

The show hit a high note with its seventh piece, performed by Andaaz, an Indian a capella group. Andaaz created mind-blowing sounds of instruments and computer-generated beats made solely from a group of people. Andaaz mixed famous Indian songs with modern American ballets to create a piece that was compelling to all members of the audience. The singing and beatboxing as well as the group’s intensity and precision made Andaaz’s performance arguably the best of the show.

“Ek Duniya Ek Kahani” gave the audience an insight to what future culture shows will look like with the “Old School Remix” performed and choreographed by the freshmen of the Indian Subcontinental Club. The piece, choreographed by freshmen Parth Dhingreja, Amar Chatterjee and Shayna Patel, was a collection of old Hindi film medleys with the choreography, music and dancing similar to a famous Bollywood movie.

The Indian Culture Show ended on a rather sentimental note as the senior class of ISC presented its last performance for the Indian Culture Show at UCI. However, it was hard to be sappy for too long once the senior class showed the audience why the Indian Culture Show has been such a success for the last four years.

All in all, “Ek Duniya Ek Kahani” was brilliant, to the say the least. Everyone who has a chance should attend the show at least once during their experience at UCI — you won’t regret it.