Saturday’s annual show will celebrate South Asian cultures for 18th year

By David Kaye

The South Asian Students Association (SASA) will hold its 18th annual cultural show, “Mela…a festival,” this Saturday at 8 p.m. in Mandel Hall. The performance is the primary feature of the event, which includes a dinner at 5 p.m. in Bartlett Commons and an after-party in Hutchinson Commons at 10 p.m.

“The purpose for the cultural show is to present our respective cultures to the University community,” said Palak Desai, SASA president and a third-year in the College. According to its website, SASA represents the cultures of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

“The SASA show is the single most important event that SASA hosts every year, which promotes the awareness of the cultural diversity, and the tradition prevalent in South Asia to this day,” said SASA cultural show chair Siddharth Bhammar, a second-year in the College.

This year the show has 14 acts and boasts about 150 participants, say SASA Show 2005 coordinators. Keeping with tradition, the show will include the bhangra and garba folk dances, but will also feature a fashion show, a patriotic song of India, and several fusions of classical South Asian and modern music and dancing.

While the SASA show focuses on South Asian history and culture, it also makes allusions familiar to Americans. “Last year we developed a video skit based on a popular TV show called Desi Eye for the White Guy in which we showed a student how to impress South Asian parents through knowledge about South Asian culture,” said Desai. “This year we are taking it a step [further] by introducing the first Desi Apprentice.”

Even with strong ticket sales, funding a show of such magnitude requires substantial outside support. “Mr. Rakesh Patel of Raja Foods, Patel Brothers, India Garden, Mysore Woodlands, and Monsoon is grand-sponsoring our show this year,” said SASA show director Ananya Das, a fourth-year in the College. “He is covering the entire expense behind the free t-shirts we hand out at the show and much more.”

Tickets will be sold at the door for $12.