Things got off to a late start last Saturday at Sangamam, Shakti's annual cultural dinner and show, but everyone was too busy devouring the delicious samosas and chicken tikka masala to complain.
After the crowd had licked the spoons clean of the last vestiges of mango ice cream, it was time for the evening's main event: an original performance about "the chaos and merriment that can come from the follies of fate and misunderstandings" inspired by traditional Bollywood romantic comedies, according to the evening's program.
The story was centered on a lazy and flirtatious man named Arjun, played by Shakti president, sophomore Asav Vora. Arjun, content doing as little as possible at his job with a movie production company, suddenly finds himself with some respect for both women and the workplace when an attractive new female boss named Priya (freshman Shikha Jha) shows up to put him in his place.
Arjun's bumbling transformation from an unscrupulous employee to a diligent and productive member of the company as he tries to win Priya's heart was both touching and funny, but it was the dancing that carried the show.
The humorous plot line was broken up with lively dance scenes by the cast. The dances, set to Hindi music, were arranged by freshmen Reshma Nair, Axita Vora and Anum Choudhry, as well as junior Sumaiya Kabir.
Nair and Vora said that coming from different backgrounds as dancers enabled the group to make the steps feel fresh while still remaining true to tradition. "I think it's important for students to come out and try new things from different cultures," Vora said, explaining the significance of cultural events like Sangaman at Geneseo.
The lyrics of the songs, which were picked for their relevance to the story, were also a main source of inspiration for the dance, which carried the narration from scene to scene.
Other highlights of the performance included junior Aaron Licari's over-the-top performance as Arjun's other boss Mr. Singh, a hilarious combination of Donald Trump, Michael Scott and Homer Simpson, and a cameo appearance by members of Geneseo Bhangra in the second act.
In nearly all Bollywood stories, the plot reaches its climax with a grand wedding, or "shaadi" in Hindi, and this one was no different. Despite technical difficulties with the sound equipment toward the end, the dancers, clad in colorful salwar-kameez and sherwani, were able to overcome the lack of music with some help from a sympathetic audience.
To the surprise of few, the boy got the girl and the show came to a close with a festive dance number from the entire cast.