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Champaign, April 29:  It was a spectacular show by the members of the Indian Student Association yesterday at the University of Illinois Assembly Hall attracted an astonishing audience of more than two thousand spectators attending and enjoying the show.  It was their 19th year of this show – India Night 2007.

It was a special occasion not only for the participants in the show, but also for the cultural awareness it provides.  This even is an opportunity for the students to showcase their artistic creativity and talents, portraying Indian-American culture in many of its dimensions, which allows students to come together and cherish the heritage which makes Indian such a rich and unique one.  Most importantly, these students  came together with their families and friends, met new people, made new friendships and created memories that last them a life time.

Program started with singing of Jana Gana Mana and American National Anthem Oh Say Can You See by Diti Ghosh, Mansi Kothari, Saleha Mallick and Arthi Susai.  First item of Desh Ki Awaaz was – Sureeli Awaaz.  Few months the dynamics of the group have changed and a budding romance has been discovered between two members of the group.  These emotions were conveyed through the group’s interpretation of famous Bollywood hits by Aashay Desai, Akash Patel, Jay Sen, Rahul Shah, and Maya Vyas and were coordinated by Yalini Vigneswaren.

Built From Scratch - from the fields of Punjab and across generation in India, bhangra has been the most popular style of Indian dance, ruling the clubs and youth lifestyle.  In the United States, from its birth in the 80’s to today, hip hop illustrates the hardships of urban youth.  This wonderful item was performed by Jolly Baring, Bhumi Desai, Bijal Desai, David Finkelstein, Suchi Gandhi, Durgashankar Giridharan, Rishi Gupta, Sanjay Kadiwala, Krishanunni Menon, Jignesh Patel, Kiran Sood, Amit Tailor, Chirag Tailor, Mansi Thakkar and Ketan Darji.  This show was coordinated by Shelly Aggarwal, Neha Nayak and Anand Oroskar.

Third item was Journey Through the Styles of India: An Indian American student arrives in Delhi to meet her cousin.  They have planned a trip throughout India.  On the way, they travel to different states and cities and encounter different cultures.  The Indian American is looking for the usual tourist attractions, but instead she finds something completely different – the real India.  She sees for herself the different languages, cultures, and of course, fashions associated with her home country.  At the end of their journey, she has taken in more than her basic knowledge of garba, bhangra, and Bollywood – she has seen India.

Aditya Bharadwaj, Shalini Bhattachrya, Usmaan Chaudhry, Ramita Chawla, Sheila Das, Danielle Davis, Rakwsh Gadde, Alka Gupta, Humera Haziri, Shesh Jhala, Neha Kanade, Pooja Kinkhabwala, Raja Koneru, Megha Mehta, Samiyah Nageeb, Bindi Patel, Dhara Patel, Jay Patel, Niketa Patel, Shreema Ramachandran, Rohan  Rana, Aparna Sekhar, Kinjal Shah, Nirali Shah, Sachin Shah, Priyam Sheth, Bharat Srikishan, Hemang Srikshan, Jessica Yadava, Praveen Bommannavar, Karna Desai, Seema Kamath, Sumona Ray, Sameer Roheja, Navneet Saxena and Anuja Vallabh.  Coordinatorsf were – Juhi Solanki, Keerthi Subbarao and Harini Ganesh.

Freshman Exchange was a story about a student from India comes to University of Illinois and experiences college life through the eyes of a freshman.  It was a comedic journey through a variety of dances and skits as the students learn more about each others’ life styles.  Jafar Abaas, Shazad Ahmed, Imran Chisti, Ananya Dev, Azam Garooqui, Rahul Gandhi, Shivani Katal, Shilpa Kumar, Seema Nikalhe, Miral Patel, Nitin Prashar, Nihar Shah, Ahok Venugopal and Akash Wadhwani took the part in this skit with the coordination of Niti Bhargava, Kriti Goel, Vishaka Raguveer, Chris Jose and Ashley Varakalayil.

Illini Chandani filled the void with their alluring voices.  In their fifth and most successful year, these talented girls performed at Anahat at the University of California at Berkeley and several on-campus shows such as Culture Shock and Gandhi Day of Serivce.  Monika Affarwal, Nisha Chittal, Saujanya Gumidyala, Aaarti Jayanth, Saleha Mallick, Ellora Se-Gupta and Rosemary Thariath were the performers and it was coordinated by Diti Ghosh and Mansi Kothari.

I-Bhangra – across the fields and farmlands of a rural village, the infectious beats and intoxicating melodies of Bhangra resonate in the souls of sixteen passionate dancers.  The source comes not from the center of Pubjab, but the heartland of America – Champaign, Illinois!  The riveting rhythms of a Dholi spread the hypnotizing beat for all to be captivated across the land, as the heritage of –Apna Pubjab is brought in full force to the pardes.  Harsh Baheti, Amandeep Gargi, Sunny Hirpara, Arpan Kothari, Husam Najib, Neelam Patadia, Jay Ptel Seja Patel, Kunjal Raichra, Mira Shah, Neha Shah, Seema Shah and Heman Srikishan were the performers and this was coordinated by Supreet Kahlon and Amneet Bhangoo.

Chai Town – this 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 Acapplella.  As one of the country’s premiere Hindi-English acappella groups, Chai-Town has gone on to perform across the nation from Washing DC to California.  Recently, Chai-Town released their first full length album “Good to the Last Drop,” and also won the First Ever Anahat Competition.  However, it was their hope that with these accomplishments, Chai-Town show was a successful event of the night.  Jaimin Amin, Samarth Bhaskar, Ravi Jain, Aditya Mehta, Siddhartha Raja, Rajat Saksena, Harsh Shrivastava, Bharat Srikishan, Neal Srivastava, Bimel Thomas, Amit Vaishampayan, Prashanth Venketeramanujam and Guarav Dubey were the participants.

Thillana – a classical piece that traditionally concluded a Bharatanatyam repertoire.  The dances added a twist to tradition, while maintaining the scintillating movements, rhythmic beats, and sculpturesque poses that were quintessential to a Thillana. K Aarti Israni, Monica Majumdar, Darshana Nair, Sakthi Radha, Vishaka Raguveer and Arthi Susai performed in this event.

Bhavik & Co. – Individually following their hearts to the stage, this unlikely group of students from together to satisfy a common desire; the need to perform.  With their stunning girls and sexy guys they used popular Bollywood songs to create a mini-concert on stage.  Aliraza Ashiqali, Amneet Bhangoo, Nyrene Haque, Susam Najib, Bhavik Patel, Monika Patel, Ronak Patel, Zarana Patel, Sahil Shah and Sylvia Vadakara took their part in this performance which was coordinated by Manisha Bais and Gaurav Gupta.

D-Squad Evolution – This started off as a group of friends who just wanted to perform for their friends and family.  As the years progressed so did the name and it grew to levels they could never imagine.  Performance represented the initiation of the newbies by testing them in hip-hop, bhangra, and Bollywood.  Jaimin Amin, Rajat Bhardway, Aditya Koul, Aditya Mehta, Ameya Patankar, Akash Patel, Amar Shar and Dhaual Shah performed in this event.  Pranava Shah and Adil Dhanani were the coordinators for this performance.

dRAAStic Measures – University of Illinois Raas team, a group of 16 dandia-twirling individuals who hail from all across the state of Illinois makes up this unique group of artists.  From the suburbs of Chicago to the fields of Carbondale, the UIUC Raas team is the most versatile dance group ever.  The lives of these 16 individuals, growing together as dancers and ambitious college students, are a tribute to the dedication that students can excel both in their academics and their community.  Furthermore, these 16 men and women live dual lives – students by day and con artists by night.  Computer majors, double as hackers, engineers blueprint heists, and humanitarians provide the espionage.  Chambana 16 is the new 12, but takes dRAAStic measures to bring them together.

Nish Bhagat, Bhumi Desai, Nyrene Haque, Tanveer Hira, Roopali Jayswal, Arpan Kothari, Anand Oroskar, Savan Panchal, Dhara Pandya, Swetal Patel, Dev Sethi, Nihar Shah and Sagar Shah are the performers; Krishna Chokshi, Kunjal Raichura and Niketa Patel coordinators.  Anil D’Souza is the manager of this dRAAStic team.

Jay Patel program chairperson along with Manisha Bais and Neal Dodia thanked ISA Board members and gave them bouquet of roses for their extra ordinary cooperation and support in making India Night a grand success.  Anil D’Souza, president of Indian Student Association thanked all Indian students for giving him a chance to serve ISA for two terms as president and extended his support to ISA even though he is leaving U of I this year after his graduation.

Following members consists of ISA board for current year:  Anil D’Souza president, Jay Patel and Mansi Kothari vice presidents, Charu Gupta secretary, Dev Sethi treasurer, Neal Dodia and Manisha Bais cultural chairs, Gaurav Gupta and Sammy Sengupta social chairs, Viraj Patel and Sheena Samra cultural awareness chairs, Varun Bhargava and Avni Danak philanthropy, Shameeta Thanki and Ami Shah public relations chairs, Raj Chakravarty historian, Sunil Kalwani Technology chair, and Darshil Patel and Snehal Desa athletic chairs. 

Tanveen Hira, Monika Narayan, Jolianne Baring, Varun Sundar and Priyam Sheth emceed the program.  To visit ISA website, click here:

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