The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

My quest to learn the musical instrument struck a chord much greater than the beautiful sound of a perfect stroke.
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Bella Edmondson, Staff Editor • June 19, 2024
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ISA talent show draws in crowd

Hundreds of SMU students and members of the DFW Indian community filled McFarlin Auditorium at the Indian Student Association’s annual Talent Show Friday, March 11. The first place for dancing performance went to the six dancers performing “Toofan,” and the singing winner was Andrea Allen for “Sajna Ve Sajna.”

The “Toofan” dancers were awarded $500 and Allen received a prize of $200.

“There were so many good acts, and this year was a little more competitive than in the past, so we were happy to come out on top,” said Ali Rahman, senior journalism major, and one of the six performers of “Toofan.”

The girls of Split Personalities took second place for dancing and a $300 prize. The Ladoos, a group of comedian dancers, and 18 girls performing “Masti” tied for third place.

The event opened up with a short video entitled “Hitch Saab,” which is Hindi for “Mr. Hitch,” a parody of Will Smith’s current film. It introduced a character trying to get married, and Shakeeb Mir, who hosted the event, helped him meet Aasia Mahmood, the other master of ceremony for the night.

The rest of the night was filled with over a dozen individual and group Indian dances, singing and short skits.

Although the ISA talent show provided Indian entertainment, it was mainly a reflection of Indian American culture. The hosts playfully mocked Indian customs — including marriage protocols and the tendency for tardiness.

Rahman said, “For us growing up in the West [with Indian backgrounds], we have the best of both worlds. We are familiar with the good and bad of each, the American culture and the Indian culture, and we accept what we want from each.”

Indian movies and music are also an important part of most American-raised Indians. “Indian entertainment, the movies especially, have influenced all southern Asians around the world, whether they know it or not , or whether they want to admit it,” Rahman said laughing. “Since the movies are musicals with song and dance sequences, they give the audience two things that they love, music and movies, in one big package.”

Vivek Dajee, another performer in “Toofan” and the new treasurer of the ISA, said, “I think [Indian entertainment] has shaped not only my life but a lot of Indian Americans’ because it’s our connection to our heritage, our culture and what’s going on on the other side of the world.”

Since it was founded 25 years ago, the ISA has been dedicated to educating the SMU community. Dajee says, “The talent show is mainly aimed at non-Indians and trying to bring forth another culture for SMU students and faculty.”

In addition to the talent show, the ISA is responsible for the annual Diwali (“The Festival of Lights” celebration), movie nights at a local Indian movie theater and recently an hour on KPNI SMU Radio.

The performers of “Tafoon” will participate in a statewide Indian talent show known as Festival of India on April 16 at McFarlin Auditorium. Rahman said, “We’re really excited about it because it will be awesome to share the stage with some really talented performers from around the state.”

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