Bollywood Fusion and Bhangra Dance, Dhadkan’s Competition Brings ‘Em Together


Alex Albarran-Ayala
Staff Writer

University of California, Santa Barbara Dhadkan hosted its first dance competition, Nachle Deewane, at the Arlington Theatre on April 12, 2014. The proceeds of the competition will go toward helping India Friends Association with the humanitarian work they do in India. Dhadkan received help from many sponsors, including our own Associated Students and various other AS entities.

According to Dhadkan, eight dance teams faced off to see which was the best in Bhangra or in Hindi-filmi Fusion, two popular Indian dance styles. The first place Hindi-filmi Fusion award went to all-boys team UC Berkeley Zahanat, and the first place Bhangra award went to Bruin Bhangra, a co-ed team from UC Los Angeles.

“It was a great first time event,” said CSUF Nazara’s dancer Hetal Raval, fourth-year health science major. “Usually Bhangra and Hindi film are never put together, and for the first time, they [Dhadkan] actually put ’em together, which is really interesting.”

“[Bhangra] is an Indian folk dance… It just originates from northern India in a region called Punjab,” said Bruin Bhangra’s dancer Jalmeen Dhaliwal, a third-year UCLA environmental science major.

According to Dhadkan, the type of Bhangra performed in this competition is a new expression of Bhangra that mixes western music with traditional Punjabi folk dance.

On the other hand, Hindi-filmi Fusion mixes a variety of different dances.

“[There’s] Bollywood, which is very theatrical, very colorful,” said CSUF Nazara’s captain Shivani Chokshi, a third-year economics major. “You dance based on the words rather than the beat and what not, and we fuse different things such as contemporary, military, jazz, and a bunch of different styles… So it’s just a fusion of everything.”

At this competition, CSUF Nazara won “best costume award” in the Bollywood fusion category (a name used interchangeably with Hindi-filmi Fusion). Their Bhangra “best costume” counterpart was Tufts Bhangra, a team from Tufts University, located near Boston, Mass.

By the end of the night, Dhadkan had a special performance by a cappella group UCSB Ravaani, and a guest performance by Mickey Singh, an emerging Indian artist.

Dhadkan’s co-founder, Nishitha Viswanathan, explained the meaning behind the name of the competition, Nachle Deewane.

“When you translate it, it sounds a little funny, but it’s like ‘Dance Crazy,'” said Viswanathan. “‘Nachle’ means dance in Pujabi…which is the language that people from Punjab speak, and then ‘Deewane’ means crazy which is Hindi… So it’s a Punjabi and a Hindi word mixed together.”

The Dhadkan board is composed of 14 UCSB students, two of which are founders Viswanathan and Soham Tikekar. According to the founders, Dhadkan became a registered campus organization on Feb. 24, 2013. Viswanathan added that one of their future goals is to become a non-profit organization.

Currently, Dhadkan supports the non-profit organization India Friends Association. Together they’re seeking to revitalize villages across India by assisting with aid that helps improve nutrition and primary education. Kailash Narayan, from the IFA committee, said that IFA’s main mission “is not charity, it is empowering people, the underprivileged all over India.”