By Team Mangalorean
Photos by: Terry D'Souza
Click here for Photo Album
Champaign, April 6, 2008: The Indian Student Association of the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign celebrated their India Nite 2008 on April 4th and 5th at the Foellinger Auditorim with house full crowd.
This year marked the 20th anniversary of a show that began as a one night affair with an audience of about 200 and has since grown to be known as one of the nation's finest events, attracting an audience of over 3000.
India Nite was a special occasion not only for the participants of the show, but also for the cultural awareness it provides. Indian Student Association regards this event as an opportunity for students to showcase their artistic creativity and talents, portraying the multiple facets of Indian-American culture. This evening allows students to come together and cherish the heritage which makes students community such a rich and unique one. More importantly Indian students come together this evening with their family and friends, meet new people, build relationships and create memories that last them for a life time.
Each year these students try their best to give the audience of piece of Indian cultural knowledge and a glimpse into values from their background. It is their greatest pleasure to have everyone supporting them with their presence to witness their energy and passion towards India. This year Indian Student Association named their India Night 2008 as "Jawani Ka Josh!"
This year's show coordinators were Ruthvik Basavaraj, Prerna Bodalia, Ankit Patel, Nijika Rustagi and Angalee Verma. Program & Flier was designed by Nirali Shah and video team members were Varun Bhargava, Samarth Bhaskar, Ravi Bhatia, George Nellikunnel, Sahaj Patel and Nirali Shah.
Three freshmen from U of I, Kshipra Datar, Atina D'Souza and Neil Chatterjee compeered these evening programmes and thrilled the audience with their action and words. Arthi Susai sang American National Anthem at the beginning of the program and Christine Matthew sang Indian National Anthem, Jana Gana Mana.
Program started with "Surround Sound", a talented group of five driven individuals started off as a group of friends playing music merely for their own enjoyment. After playing at a small birthday party, their true potential was exposed, and what happened next was summed up in two words - Surround Sound by Azam Farooquji, Brian Choi, Husam Najib, Neel Bhat and Amit Vaishampayan.
Second group was, "Pehla Nashaa" - one stunning stage, nine breathtaking boys, nine gorgeous girls with eighteen exceptional dancers with full of energy and excitement; only one phrase really described them: a breath of fresh air with a trip down memory lane with a zesty new twist in true Bollywood style. Dancers were - Bharat Kusuma, Hemal Patel, Saurabh Kukreti, Nirbhay Dhapodkar, Pranav Singhvi, Shruti Shankar, Namrta Donthamsetti, Monica Singh, Radhika Rawal, Mansi Dave and Geeta Verma.
Third group was, "Chandani," one of the female Hindi cappella which was founded by 3 Indian-American girls in 2002, Chandani has grown to include 11 talented, multi cultural girls with a unique blend of voices and backgrounds. Their repertoire combines everything from pop favorites to Hindi film songs, resulting in a unique cultural and listening experience for audiences. This year's performance featured a playful take on the Indian musical game Anbthakshari, the objective of which is to sing a song starting with a syllable on which the previous song ended. Members of Chandani were - Aarti Jayanth, Nisha Chittal, Ellora Sen-Gupta, Avani Patel, Vaish Shastry, Dipika Mallya, Divya Nagpal, Manju Kannikunnel, Caity Barski, Melissa Zieff and Sonia Gor.
Fourth group was, "I-Bhangra," in a rural town amidst fields and farms; one can hear the heart-pounding beats of a dhol accompanied by the vibrant sounds of the tumbli and algozey. When this group performed on the stage they turned the stage into real Punjab! The jawaan gabroo and multiyaaran of the UIUC I-Bhangra Dance Team members were - Amneet Bhangoo, Seema Shah, Ashley Varakalayil, Priyanka Govindraj, Christine Matthew, Jaison Alexander, Nishit Bhagat, Imran Chishti, Gaurav Gupta nd Husam Najib.
Fifth group was, "Galang," natives of Galang tribe performed their upbeat and uplifting ceremonial dance clearly incorporating elements of Bharatanatyam, a tradition borrowed from nearby neighbor, India. Though it was classical in nature, the tribe's performance provided a captivating look in to Galang culture, where modern elements and unexpected twists of tradition were hardly missing in action. Galang team members were - Monica Majumdar, Darshana Nair, Vishaka Raguveer, Vinay Srinivasan and Arthi Susai.
Sixth group was, "Senior Feud," over the past 4 years, two groups of seniors being feuding over which group knows Bollywood best - a thrilling show by Senior Feud members - Charu Gupta, Julie Thakkar, Zarana Patel, Monika Patel, Priti Patel, Neelam Patadia, Suhagi Parikh, Zahra Bhai, Pooja Merai, Mira Shah, Swati Desai, Sejal Patel, Prakash Patel, Harsh Baheti, Yogen Patel, Umang Patel, Ashish Patel, Dhaval Shah, Rajiv Sheth, Swapan Rajdev, Kevin Thakkar, Amrit Lakhiani, Raju Ashiqali, Dev Sethi and Jay Patel.
Seventh group was, "Anubhooti," in the fall of 2006, amongst a diverse group of students from India that joined UIUC, came four 'young' gentlemen from the four corners of the country to pursue doctoral studies in their respective fields. It was almost a year later when, at an informal social gathering, they discovered a mutual passion for music and Anubhooti was born with the following members - Aravind Alwan, Atul Dixit, Rajay Saksena and Apratim Dhar.
Eighth group was, "Ghungroo Dance Company," which made their debut performance on January 27th as a competitive fusion team at 'Phillyfest 2008.' After 28 hours of traveling, a broken bus and no heating, this group rocked the stage with their rendition of The Wizard of Chambana with the help 21 amazing GDC dancers - Arthi Susai, Darshana Nair, Roopali Jayswal, Kriti Goel, Vishaka Rahuveer, Divya Iyengar, Azam Farooqui, Tanveer Hira, Nirbhay Dhapodkar, Pranav Singhvi, Hemal Patel Akta Mehta, Ashok Venugopal, Adil Ali, Shivani Katyal, Niti Bhargava, Monica Majumdar, Priyanka Agrawal, Imran Chishti, Anika Abbasi and Deepi Kaur.
Ninth group was, "Chai-Town." - A capella was formed in 2002, at the University of Illinois, when a group of young men came together with their love for music. They wanted to show how two seemingly different cultures can fuse together to produce something great. This vision has grown into Chai-Town a capella. As one of the country's premiere Hindi-English A capella groups, Chai-Town gone on to perform across the nation from North Carolina to California. Recently Chai-Town won the annual Anahat Competition, which showcases Hindi-English a capella groups from across the nation. Chai-Town members are - Arjun Venkataswamy, Prashanth Venkataramanujam, Ibrahim Mekki, Amandeep Gargi, Vinay Srinivasan, Bimel Thomas, Saurabh Kukreti, Jaison Alexander, Tanmay Mishra, Samarth Bhaskar and Amit Vaishmpayan.
Tenth group was, "Dil Se Nachle," Guided by hard work and determination, spirit can surpass boundaries. Even though these 8 girls come from various stylistic dance backgrounds, they exemplify team work and the true essence of Bollywood. Despite their difference in height, dance experience, and age, they dance as one vivacious entity. With energy in their faces and plenty of tumka in their movements, these girls made the audience get up on the stage and nachle with them! Majority of the dancers are seniors who will dance for the last time here in Champaign - Seema Kamath, Kavita Jayaswal, Shuchi Kapoor, Manisha Bais, Sakthi Radha, Natasha Khanna and Bhavika Amin.
The final group was, "Raas Man Group," - since 2001 the University of Illinois Raas Team has brought the khetars of Gujarat to the cornfields of Illinois through the tradition of Raas. The UIUC Raas Man Group brings together a group of gifted individuals to spread the joy of dance and the thrill of music. This group knows no boundaries as it brings traditional rhythms and modern flare to the city of Champaign; members of this energetic group are - Aliraza Ashiqali, Krishna Chokshi, Ketan Darji, Umang Desai, AmitaGoyal, Bhavik Patel, Jay Patel (NY), Jay Patel (TN), Monika Patel, Niketa Patel, Priti Patel, Sejal Patel, Yogen Patel, Kunjal Raichura, Mira Shah, Niket Shah, Sagar Shah, Seema Shah and Shaan Shah.
Emcee Trios - Kshipra Datar, Atina D'Souza and Neil Chatterjee took part in various items, such as - Weekend News Release, Greatest Commercials, NRI Students Orientation, etc., and kept the audience interesting throughout the night.
This year's Indian Student Association Executive Committee members are - Dev Sethi, President; Neal Dodia, Internal Vice President; Viraj Patel, External Vice President; Rupa Dev, Secretary; Varun Bhargava, Treasurer; Vaish Shastry & Monika Narayan, Cultural Chairs; Miral Patel, Social Chair; Samarth Bhaskar and Harry Thompson III Cultural Awareness Chairs; Nisa Agrawal & Kunjal Raichura, Philanthropy Chairs; Ajay Alexander and Amy Patel, Publicity Chairs; Bimel Thomas, Athletic Chair and Nirali Shah, Design Chair.
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