Bollywood comes to Binghamton University

Indian International Student Union gave students a taste of classical Indian culture, tradition

While Binghamton University may be a long way from Mumbai, students got a taste of the Bollywood experience Saturday night at Tamasha.

Ryan Gyanchand/Contributing Photographer Students participate in Tamasha 2013: Ticket to Bollywood Saturday evening in Watters Theater. Around 300 people attended the show, which showcased dance routines from a variety of South Asian heritages.

The Indian International Student Union (IISU) put on its biggest event of the semester. Around 300 people showed up to witness Tamasha 2013’s “Ticket to Bollywood,” which featured dances, comedy and a fashion show in front of a crowded Watters Theater in the Fine Arts Building.

Performances showcased dance routines from a variety of South Asian heritages. Among these were Garba, an Indian folk dance from the state of Gujarat; Masti, a fusion dance featuring elements of Bollywood; and hip-hop.

“The show ran very smoothly, and the dances turned out great. IISU E-Board is really proud of everyone who was involved,” said Jonathan Varghese, president of IISU and a senior majoring in biology. “Their hard work really paid off. The show gets better every year; we try to get more performers involved as well as bring in more dance teams and outside acts.”

Dance groups featuring Indian classical dance and South Indian dance, among other styles, included the IISU freshman dance team and MODA, a group representing modern styles of dance influenced by Western culture.

The comedy routine this year was presented in the form of prerecorded videos played between the dance routines. It followed a young Indian woman, Anjali Patel, and her quest for Bollywood fame. A sleazy talent agent attempts to trick her into marriage, but it all ends happily as she ends up unveiling his plan and marrying her true love.

Other performances included Cornell Tarana, a South Asian a cappella group that weaves Hindi and English lyrics together, and Quimbamba, BU’s Latin and African dance group.

Binghamton Bhangra also made an appearance, representing the traditional folk dances of Punjab.

The fashion show was focused on displaying the fashions of the modern day Indian-American student. Participants dressed in a variety of outfits ranging from traditional to contemporary.

The freshman dance team began the show by starting its routine holding the only lights in a completely dark room.

“I liked freshman dance, it was impressive that they were freshmen and were so good,” said Sarah Safeer, a freshman majoring in management. “All of the dances were really well-choreographed.”

Tamasha is traditionally the IISU’s biggest event of the year, and it requires the majority of the fall semester to prepare.

“The show was so great, and it really brought us all together,” said Angela Alexander, a member of IISU and a freshman majoring in actuarial sciences. “I really feel like we’re all a big family now.”