Indian Student Association brings Diwali to SMU
Published: Sunday, November 11, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
“Rangeen raalein diya aur phalaakein,” or “Colorful nights, colorful lights and bursting crackers” was the theme at Saturday night’s 33rd annual Diwali show put on by the SMU Indian Student Association (ISA).
Diwali is an annual festival of lights, representing unity and celebration, ISA Activities Chair Justin Thomas said. It used to be celebrated just in India, but its influence has recently spread worldwide.
The performances and activities may have been competing with the football game, but this was no concern to ISA treasurer Amna Ali, who said before the show that the performances would be better than they’ve ever had before. “If you choose the show over the football game, you won’t be disappointed,” she said.
This years’ festivities included musical and dance performances from both SMU students and a couple local Indian dance troupes, a presentation from the executive committee of the ISA and a fashion show.
The night started with the singing of three national anthems. “The Star Spangled Banner” for the United States was first, then “Jana Gana Mana,” for India, followed by “Qaumi Tarana” for Pakistan.
The two hosts for the night, Dushyant Raaj Sapra and Aditya Munjal, kept the night very lively as they cracked jokes, encouraged audience participation and on one occasion, even asked for three volunteers to go up on stage and dance.
After the national anthems, the traditional Diya dance was the first performance. The Diya dance is a long tradition at Diwali, the hosts explained, and was performed on Saturday by four freshman girls. The theater lights were turned off, and the girls got on stage and danced, the lights held in their hands providing a beautifully choreographed display.
There were several highlights of the night, the first of which was the lively and upbeat set of songs sung by Aishwaria Thomas, to which the audience enthusiastically clapped along to. One of the most moving performances was a song sung by Samarth Srinivasan, which was so heart-rending that the hosts requested an encore performance.
The dance numbers were just as stunning, the performances by local dance troupe Sheran di Kaum and the University of Texas at Dallas’s all-female Chalak were both very well received by the audience.
Before the fashion show, the ISA executive committee got on stage to honor their graduating seniors, including ISA president Ankita Krishnan and vice president Vidhi Makanji.
The fashion show was one of the most anticipated events of the night, as students from all backgrounds went up on stage to showcase traditional Indian fashion. While some men simply wore a suit and tie, others wore kurta pajama, a long tunic with loose trousers. The women wore a mix of saris and salwar kameez, another tunic style outfit.
The fashion show was the last event of the night before the dinner, and the audience loved it.
“I love coming to ISA events,” Hannah Moore said. “They’re always so joyful and lively.”
Following the fashion show, the hundreds of audience members and performers joined in the nearby ballroom for rice, butter chicken and other traditional Indian cuisine catered by Mughlai Restaurant.
“I thought it was a beautiful show,” Sameen Ali said. “It was a great way to showcase South Asian culture to the SMU community.”