APRIL 2012
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida

Florida News



Get ready to feel bhangra energy at the third annual Bayside Bhangra on Saturday, April 14, in the Tampa Bay area. Presenting the show from 5 p.m. onward are First Desi Alliance, India Cultural Center and Punjabi Association of Florida.

The biggest change this year is a new venue, according to Vince Patel, director of operation. “Centro Asturiano de Tampa in historic Ybor City is one of Tampa's oldest performing arts venues and has been home to several cultural events and Indian functions for years,” he said.

Also, the lineup for 2012 is up to 14 teams because of high demand and “we even have two acclaimed Fusion teams from Florida performing: USF Bindaas Fusion and Gator Adaa Fusion,” said Patel.

There is a huge demand for tickets and already 300 of the 1,050 seats have been sold or confirmed as sold. Tickets start from $25 and can be purchased at www.baysidebhangra.com

Also, an array of vendors will set up booths, including for clothes and jewelry. “There also will be a much larger variety of food so the patrons can enjoy a full-course meal during the show, and a wide selection of alcoholic, non-alcoholic, fresh juices, lassi, falooda and other beverages will be available,” said Patel. “And we have a professional sound and lighting team bringing in a full production so the audience can feel the energy and excitement throughout the theater.”

Competing teams are CMU Bhangra of Carnegie Mellon University, Drexel Bhangra of Drexel University, F*A*U*J* of Boston, Mass., First Class Bhangra of Pittsburgh, Pa., Gator Bhangra of UF, Guardians of Bhangra of All State Florida, MSU Bhangra of Michigan State University, Michigan Bhangra Team of University of Michigan, Northwestern Bhangra of Northwestern University and SMD Bhangra Club of New York City, N.Y. Exhibition teams are Bhangra Off Limits of Tampa Bay, Gator Adaa Fusion of UF, USF Bindaas Fusion of USF and Masaledaar Swag Bhangra of Georgia State University. Also, the total cash prize money is $3,500: first-prize winner – $2,000; second – $1,000; and third – $750.

Centro Asturiano is at 1913 N. Nebraska Ave., Tampa. For more information, call (813) 516-4107, Kuleen Shah at (813) 486-4129 or Hasneet Kaur at (813) 504-2470, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.baysidebhangra.com

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By Shobana Daniell

The Central Florida Association of Physicians from Indian Subcontinent (CAPI) and the Hindu Society of Central Florida (HSCF) will hold a spring health fair, with free blood pressure, body mass index screenings, free on the spot blood sugar and cholesterol tests, free visions and hearing test, and ECG & Echo tests from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, April 15. CAPI physicians will also give talks on various health issues, emergency care and stress relief, poison prevention and how to recognize a heart attack or stroke. People who took advantage of a nominally priced blood work lab test in March can consult with doctors to interpret the lab results.

This annual Health Fair at the Hindu temple draws more than 500 people, many from local communities who may not have insurance coverage or just want to get a second opinion. HSCF sends out flyers to local churches, neighborhood organizations and stores to inform people of the free health fair.

It gives people an opportunity to ask questions of doctors in a casual setting without the intimidation of hospital or clinics. The familiar setting of the community hall, with family and friends nearby, people are more confident of asking questions – which can be done in a private setting or at a common table with groups engaged in conversation with the doctor. This increases health awareness and spark conversation that could lead to lifestyle change long after the fair.

The doctors also enjoy the health fair. They get a sense of giving back to community, said Dr. Aravind Pillai. “It is a “great feeling, spending one’s day doing something worthwhile and helping those in need, especially those without insurance.”

For more information, call HSCF at (407) 699-5277, Dr. Pillai at (407) 718-8733, Dr. Rajesh Patel at (407) 687-8576 or visit www.hindutempleorlando.org


The Indian Cultural Society of Jacksonville (ICS) and Sajni Entertainment will present a Pankaj Udhas Live Ghazal Concert for the first time in Jacksonville on Sunday, April 29. The 5 to 8 p.m. concert will be at Robinson Theater, University of North Florida, 4567 St. Johns Bluff Road, S., Jacksonville.

A native of Gujarat, Udhas shot to fame in 1986 after the song “Chhitti aayi hai” from the film “Naam” became a super hit. A Padmashree, the prolific and talented singer has numerous albums to his credit.

For tickets and more information, call Jignesh Kapadia at (904) 610-7406, Pradip Shah at (904) 629-1767 or visit www.jaxics.org




Tampa Bay area folks, a Broadway-style Bollywood show is coming to your town this month. “Trishna: A Bollywood Ballet” has a story, dialogue and of course woven into the script (like a movie without a camera) are Kathakali, Kuchipudi, Mohini Attam, fusion, contemporary, bhangra, Latin and Bollywood-style hip hop. The credit for this exceptional presentation goes to choreographer Swapna Komarraju, with backing of her husband Deepak Chinthamalla, who is the show’s director, producer and writer.

SWAPNA Komarraju“The idea is to showcase several styles of dances under one roof within the context of the story,” said Komarraju, founder and director of Srishti Dance Academy in the Wesley Chapel/New Tampa area. “We are expecting about 300 to 500 people for the Bollywood ballet, which is to benefit Asraah – The Helping Hands (asraah.org), a charity trust run by my father in India. The organization offer community-based services to schools in rural areas for deaf and dumb students, as well as mentally challenged, and blind students.”

Komarraju, who is professionally trained in the classical dance forms of Kuchipudi and Andhra Natyam, believes that dance is an expression of life in all its forms. She learnt Andhra Natyam from the late Dr. Nataraja Ramakrishna for 10 years. Thereafter, she was involved in an accident but that didn’t deter her from resuming lessons from Dr. Shoba Naidu and Sudhakar and Ratna Sri.

SWAPNA Komarraju

In 2005, she moved to the United States with a plan to learn as many dances as possible. “Sheila Narayanan encouraged me to teach Kuchipudi, which I did at her studio on Gunn Highway for a year,” said Komarraju. “By word of mouth, I also began teaching my friend’s kids in my house. Then, I had my son Ayush. But I continued teaching 15 students at home.”

It was only after returning from a trip to India in 2009 that Komarraju opened the Srishti Dance Academy where she teaches Kuchipudi, Bollywood, folk and fusion. Also on the premises, artist and teacher Shyama Rangwala holds creative art, Gujarati and Hindi classes. The academy is at 10329 Cross Creek Blvd., Tampa, or visit www.srishtiacademy.comSWAPNA Komarraju OF SRISHTI

“Trishna” will be presented on the stage from 4:30 p.m. Sunday, April 22, at the Wesley Chapel Center for the Arts, 30651 Wells Road, Wesley Chapel. Tickets are $10 per person. For information, call (813) 404-1862, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.srishtiacademy.com


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