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Thursday, October 30, 2014


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Students present Indian culture at Wharton




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Political science and pre-law senior Vinita Desai dances during Sargam 2012 on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, at Wharton Center. For this year’s Sargam event, the MSU Indian Students Organization performed its rendition of Ramayana, an ancient Indian epic. James Ristau/The State News



On Sunday night, the MSU Indian Students Organization performed its annual display of Indian culture, Sargam, at Wharton Center’s Pasant Theatre.

This year, the group performed “Dramayan,” a modern-day rendition of a Hindu mythological script called Ramayana.

Graduate student Aditi Paul said the event featured multiple aspects of the Indian culture, including singing, dancing and traditional clothing.

“We showcase (Indian culture) in a very gallant style to the MSU community as well as the Lansing community,” Paul said. “We have 200- to 300-plus audience (members) coming in to watch the show and be a part of the family.”

The director of the event, Itishree Swain, said she helped to organize the show, including some of the dancing.

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By James Ristau / The State News
Students put on a rendition of the Indian epic Ramayana on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, at Wharton Center. The performance was part of Sargam 2012, a cultural event put on by the MSU Indian Students Organization. James Ristau/The State News

“I helped with their steps as well as their choreography,” Swain said. “I told them how they’re supposed to act, where they’re supposed to stand (and) how they’re supposed to react.”

Swain said this isn’t the first time she has choreographed Bollywood, India’s version of Hollywood, dancing.

“I have done choreography of Bollywood before, and I (choreographed) a few songs for this, too,” Swain said. “I do it to spread the culture of India.”

Graduate student Venkat Ramakrishnan said this event started many years ago as a very small event that was performed in the Erickson Hall Kiva and has substantially grown in size since.

“I had a lot of fun during all the rehearsals, and I hope everyone else (had) just as much fun watching it,” Ramakrishnan said.

Paul said although she is playing an antagonist, she knows the audience understood the underlying good moral of the story.

“(I played) a negative role where I’m trying to seduce the main character and trying to get him to cheat (on) his wife,” Paul said.

“But you have to see how it turns out — you know where it’s going. It’s a cultural event, and with the tradition of India, you know … fidelity and loyalty (are) going to triumph over anything else.”

Paul said she was thrilled to perform because she and her fellow performers put everything they had into the show.

“On a scale of one to 10, where 10 is the highest, I’m a 20,” Paul said, laughing. “It’s very exciting because we have put our heart and soul and our sweat and blood in this show.”


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