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Kalaa 4 Charity pulls off a smashing production in aid of Beyond Blue
As India’s daughter Geeta was returning home to New Delhi from Pakistan, a Pakistani boy and an Indian girl were declaring their love for each other here in Australia.
Our connections indeed go beyond boundaries, it would seem from a recent stage production.
The concert A Journey Beyond Boundaries, organised by Kalaa for Charity, put together an excellent formula to an entertaining mix of all things sub-continental.
It involved some 120 participants from various dance groups of Sydney and a very impressed audience of 500 at the Greenhalgh Theatre, UTS, Ku-ring-gai campus.
The jam-packed three-hour show not only entertained everyone but also raised a handsome amount of donation for Beyond Blue. The national initiative to raise awareness about depression was represented at the occasion by Peter Donnell who spoke about his experiences of identifying depression and steps to overcome the issues.
On stage, characters embarked on a life-changing journey to the Indian subcontinent after winning a free travel deal by ‘Kalaa’ Travels.
The tour guide took Jack (an Aussie boy originally from Lahore) and Sonnie (a Bengali girl from Kolkata) for a thrilling tour to India where they both got to know each other well. Finding common interests and overcoming the challenges in the trip, they grew closer and ditched the tour to surprise her parents in Kolkata. There, Jack took up a challenge by her parents to win a national dance competition which was successively won in previous years by Hani, the prospective rich partner for Sonnie, from a well-known family, arranged by her parents.
Though the typically clichéd plot was thoroughly unsurprising, the interesting cast, plethora of dance performances from all parts of the subcontinent and quirky, funny dialogues made it a show worth the watch.
Beginning with a bang, the Dhol Tasha team of Shivagarjana, Sydney set up the mood for what was in store for the evening – all varieties of dance forms! The audience was treated to Punjabi, Marathi, Tamil, Gujarati, Sri-Lankan and Nepalese traditional dancing for the entire length of the show right own to the dance competition that obviously brought Jack’s and Hani’s dancing flairs to highlight.
Sonnie’s Bengali parents performed a little anniversary dance, and startlingly well too, which came as a fresh breeze for the middle-aged members of the audience. Jack and Sonnie were welcomed by Nachdi Shaan girls in blue and pink with a scintillating bhangra performance. Out of all the bhangra groups in town, these girls stand out with amazing coordination – as if they were tied together with one string. And their peppy dance style – simply amazing!
While NEP Indo Fusion duo performed a glorious traditional Nepalese number in a bright golden yellow avatar, D’Fate Tamilian dancers rocked the stage and transformed the flavour of the entireauditorium with their foot stumping southern Indian beats. Anghara Dance Group, Holiya’s Gujarati Dandiya and USyd Ekansh’s Bollywood numbers all stood out, and the audience clapped away with each one of them as they owned the stage.
The highlight of the evening was UNSW’s Vishwaas dancers who staged a power-packed Marathi dance showcasing Maa Durga in the end.
Quite a diverse palate to the evening!
While the cross cultural couple Jack and Sonnie witnessed the amazing diversity of the country, they also came across a Yoga baba, who taught them some hilarious aasanas. Must try Shahrukh aasana – opening the arms wide and twisting the torso: great for the heart (of a young maiden watching).
The essence of the show was its continuity, as though it was a full-fledged movie, with no MC, no introductions and no listings of people and groups. Of course acknowledgements were made to everyone involved by calling them up on stage later.
The range of performers including many debut actors, ranging in age from two to forty.
The live band with singers, guitarists, table and drums did a seamless job by supporting the story with playback. In a hilarious note, every time Jack introduced himself or made a mention of his hometown Lahore, the live music band broke into Sayyoneee for a few seconds.
Meanwhile, outside the hall Lord Ganesha stood watch in some lovely paintings that were on sale. Created by Shilpa Chaturvedi from Mrignayani, sale proceeds also went to this year’s charity Beyond Blue.
Following last year’s successful attempt of supporting Cancer Council, Kalaa 4 Charity has yet again done an exemplary job this year. The four pillars of the organisation Sid Jain, Rishabh Satsangi, Amrita Lodhia and Aanchal Chaturvedi put together a very skilled team of directors and lead actors such as Nalin, Ritika, Kartik, Sanjeet, Kabir, Abhishek, Avantika, Varsha, Vinita, Aveek, Arslan, Vinay and Kabir Bhasin, and showcased local talent within the community.
The show was so inspiring that Lucky Singh from GuruNanak Free Kitchenette donated $500 on the spot, acknowledging the efforts made on the night to help Beyond Blue. Other sponsors were Hanson and Dal Bukhara.
Although some parts of the storyline didn’t justify themselves and the show ended up going for a little over four hours, the team surely justified the presentation of talent beyond all limitations of such a mammoth production.