One can expect anything from Roshni — anything that has to do with the culture of South Asia, that is. The Yale South Asian Society’s annual fall cultural show Firday will feature 10 different acts focusing on various types of cultural expression from that part of the globe. Performances will include traditional dances and those inspired by Bollywood, along with comedic skits, short films, songs and poetry, all of which represent the diversity of South Asia.
“I think that people have some superficial exposure to South Asia through cross-over films like ‘Monsoon Wedding’ and Punjabi music, but popular representations of South Asian culture don’t really highlight the diversity of sub-continent,” Aditi Anand ’07 said of the SAS show. “Through ‘Roshni,’ we hope to introduce Yalies to various forms of classical and modern dances, languages and music of South Asia.”
Even the title of the show is introducing parts of Southern Asian culture. The word “Roshni” is Hindi for “light” and most certainly is a play on words for the show’s illumination of South Asian culture.
Bollywood is another aspect of South Asian culture, and is the term for the film industry of India. It also happens that “Roshni” is the title of a mystery movie created in Bollywood. The word “Bollywood” itself is created by blending Bombay and Hollywood, and in recent years it has gathered a unique blend of followers.
Bollywood is a significant part of culture not only in India and other parts of the Southern Asian region, but in the Middle East and Africa. It is also becoming more popular within the United States, and the show “Roshni” will allow Yalies to experience this culture first hand, Lynn Kau ’06 said.
“I am excited to go and experience the diversity of Southern Asia, particularly because I want to see their renditions of Bollywood and Fusion,” Kau said “I have never really been able to be exposed to these forms of expression and I am extremely interested to see what they are like.”
Fusion is a mix of South Asian dance and hip hop, R&B, salsa and any other type of “Western” dance. It combines the classic South Asian dances with the more current and popular dance steps, while at the same time having no precise dance moves to learn. It is because of these characteristics that Fusion carries a great appeal to people of all types because it is easy to do and very energetic.
While the SAS is showcasing an entertaining and all around fun event, they also wish to underscore what they call “uglier” topics of South Asia, Society President Swarnameenakshi Manickam ’06 said.
“This year — we are also hoping to make our show a bit edgier by making it unafraid to confront issues that South Asians may feel afraid to confront individually.” Manickam said
With its great diversity, “Roshni” should prove to be an interesting, fun and at the same time educational event. It has a colorful array of acts planned which will appeal to any Eli’s interest, and with tickets costing only $7 in advance, including a dinner catered by Royal India, it is quite a deal.