Centre stage at Maha Milan

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Maha Milan 2015 could have been a night for the talent spotters, NIKITA KULKARNI reports

What an apt moniker it turned out to be: Maha Milan.

Indian students.Indian Link

Just like its name, Melbourne University Indian Club joined hands with the Sri Lankan Club to bring us ‘a giant get-together’.

The event brought together many from different cultures to enjoy a night of dance and music presentations, while at the same time doing their bit for those in need.

The proceeds from the night were donated to Project Burans, an organisation raising money for the people with mental health illnesses that go undiagnosed and untreated.

The event proved once again that Gen Y certainly likes ‘to par-tay’, but they want to contribute meaningfully to society as well.

Special guests the Honorary Consul for Sri Lanka in Victoria Bandu Dissanayake, the Consul General of India in Melbourne Manika Jain and the Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs Inga Peulich got a first-hand feel of what the younger members of the community do in their spare time.

And what a wonderful mix of tradition and modernity they are!

Mihibata Suraliyan kicked off Maha Milan with Kandyan, a traditional Sri Lankan dance as they invoked the Sun God. It was almost as if they led the gathered students in obeisance, a kind of ‘saying grace’.

The fun began straight off, with Lovely ho tayar naam tera badhke, the Bollywood Dance Crew! The simple message of things Bollywood, to have fun and look on the bright side of life, could not have been clearer. It certainly set the mood for the night.

The crooners on the night reached out equally. The group Sound Sessions had the crowd up on their feet, singing and dancing along with their mash up of Valerie, Up Town Funk, One Last Time and Give Me Love.

Boy band The Dreaming (Jersey Boys?) sent the audiences into a happy place with their Nothing On You, Beautiful Girls, Georgia On My Mind, I Want it That Way, It Will Rain and Someone Like You. They melted our hearts by the time they finished and left us wanting more.

Girl band Sound of Fusion filled the stage with life. How easily they mixed Hindi and English numbers such as O Re Piya, Blank Space, Tum hi ho, Stay, Naina Lagiyan Barishan, Let It Go and Tujhe Bhula Diya! They sang and played with heart and soul in an astounding performance.

In the same genre but somewhat different in mood were the duet Western Raaga. Presenting a similar fusion of Hindi and English, they were soft and gentle yet were powerful with their Mein Pareshan, Blank Space, Love me like you do, Tum Se Hi and Lay Me Down.

And yes, there was a bit of rap as well, with Disposition, a duet with a singer and a rapper. They were fun, sweet and passionate. The classic hits Just the Way You Are and All Because of You, with their own rap written in, made for a fantastic performance.

Back to the dances, the troupe Infusion brought us some more magical Kandyan, and the girls from Apsara lived up to their name, enchanting as ever!

Intense and energetic, the Melbourne Bhangra Regiment danced their hearts out. The dhol reverberated in our hearts, deafening in its force but daring us to sit still! What a flawless performance.

We had traditional and Bollywood but were missing modern contemporary dancing. Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba… it was District 78 taking the stage by storm!

The amazing choreography saw the dancers synchronised perfectly. Shaking their pom poms, they danced with gusto as they incorporated the whip into it, as well as the numbers Temperature by Sean Paul and Bezubaan Kab Se Main Raha. Simply breathtaking!

Singing and dancing aren’t the only talents; we students love our comedy too! The act Jibbery brought the auditorium to howling laughter as we saw a woman going into labour and giving birth. The husband and his friend try to deliver the baby, neither one knowing what to do. A vacuum cleaner, a plunger and a fishing rod are all brought into play, as well as a drawing a diagram to see if they can understand how to deliver the baby. Throughout, the word Jibbery was the only form of speech. Clever in its script as well as acting, the skit left us in splits and wanting more.

Overall, Maha Milan left the audience in awe. The students, all aiming high in their careers, seem to be very in touch with their artistic talents. Who knows how many of the youngsters on the Maha Milan stage will take to the performing arts as their full-time career instead!