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‘History Hungama’ entertains and educates audience

"History Hungama" included performances from dance groups such as Tanah. (credit: Alex Webster | ) "History Hungama" included performances from dance groups such as Tanah. (credit: Alex Webster | ) The storyline for "History Hungama" took the audience through India's history, The storyline for "History Hungama" took the audience through India's history,

The Mayur South Asian Student Alliance, or MayurSASA for short, presented its 2011 show “History Hungama” on Saturday, giving its viewers a true taste of Bollywood. Just like any Bollywood movie, it had fashion, a catching story line, and dances, resulting in a two-hour dose of good entertainment. The Mayur show also had an intermission for refreshments that offered a true taste of India. For those who do not know a lot about Bollywood, it’s extremely glamorous. It isn’t just about the story or the actors — rather, it’s about the whole production.

The storyline of “History Hungama” was a spinoff of Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Like many Bollywood movies, the plot followed the hero — or several heroes, in this case — who struggled and finally triumphed over the villain. The “History Hungama” story, while humorous and entertaining, still taught its audience about India, its culture, and important figures of Indian history. The plot revolved around two boys named Ram and Sham who go to a museum in India. While there, they see the statues of acclaimed movie director Meera Nair, cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, famous scientist and astronaut Kalpana Chawla, famed freedom struggler Mahatma Gandhi, and Akbar, a Mughal ruler of India in the past. Also in this museum is a golden conch of historic value.

The two boys run into Carmen Sandiego at the museum and, swayed by her charm, help her steal the golden conch. This angers the statues at the museum and they come to life, forming an Indian “I-Team.” Carmen wants to go back to the past and alter it so as to eradicate the I-Team. This provided an opening to show off great historic moments — for example, it depicted the 1930 Salt March in India, when the Indian people marched to prepare their own salt in protest of the British Salt Tax that made it illegal to sell or produce salt. The show depicted each historic event with a twist. The play also explained the famous lagaan, or land tax, and presented the kingdom of the ancient Indian ruler Akbar.

In addition to the play, there was also glamor, dance, fashion, and music. Deewane, the South Asian a cappella group at Carnegie Mellon, also performed. These young men charmed the audience with their smooth voices. Their performance included both Bollywood songs and American ones. Deewane’s members also showed their Pittsburgh pride and sang “Black and Yellow.”

There was a multitude of dance performances at the Mayur show. The dance steps were innovative, and the dance groups, whose selections included both Bollywood and American songs, gave the original performers a run for their money. These dances provided a glimpse of the joy that is inherent within most Bollywood movies. The dances brought vibrancy and happiness to the song selections, expressing feelings that lyrics would not be able to do on their own.

Tanah, the all-female South Asian dance troupe at Carnegie Mellon, seems to out-do itself each year. The theme of the troupe’s performance this year was robots. Tanah’s performance was outstanding, and the dancers’ costumes were glamorous. Carnegie Mellon’s bhangra troupe, Chak De, was also full of life. Its performance was bright, big, and loud, leaving the audience with dropped jaws and constant cheering.

Bollywood is also about trends and style. Many people in India learn a lot about dress from these movies, and over time the demand for fashion in Bollywood has increased. This principle — the importance of fashion in Bollywood — was evident in the Mayur show’s fashion segment. The fashion show focused not only on Indian wear, but also on fusion wear. The costume collection was variable and high-quality, with professional-looking outfits, makeup, and poses.

From fashion to dancing, singing, and acting, there was something for everyone at “History Hungama.” Show chairs Naina Saxena, a business administration senior, and Gurmukh Singh Chhabra, a chemical engineering senior, did a phenomenal job of organizing a successful show.