Bihar Association of North America Celebrates its Silver Jubilee Cultural Fest

Photos: Murali Santhana

HOUSTON: Bihar Association of North America (BANA), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, held its Annual Cultural Festival on November 24, at Durga Bari in Houston to celebrate it’s Silver Jubilee Year. The primary purpose of BANA is to foster culture and education in the Greater Houston Area.

It was evening full of music, dance and play. The evening started with Ganesh Vandana by Khyatee and Anjuli, two students of Uma Nagarsheth of the Natya Upasana Dance Academy. It was a fusion of old and new beats, combining north Indian classical Kathak and displaying the vibrancy of Kathak with a modern twist. A group of 5 under 7 girls (Nandika, Raina, Mansi, Saanvi and Anusha) peformed a dance to the tunes of Deepawali and Ghoomar songs and showed mystical rotational movements. The dance was choreographed by Namita Maharana. Namita and Abhilasha peformed a Bollywood number to the tunes of the classical songs “Paan khaye saiyan humaro” and “nainonwale ne”.

For the last several years BANA middle and high school children have formed a very talented musical team for orchestra. The instruments used by the team included acoustic guitar (Antara), electric guitar (Arya), flute (Pari), keyboard (Pranay), violin (Abhinav), drums (Harsh) and tabla (Shomik). This was an extremely well directed musical performance by Tanushree Mishra with her group of young singers (Sweta and Tony). Special melodiuos vocal performances by Mithuya Choudhury and Tanushree Mishra on songs from the 70s Bollywood films were another highlight of the evening. Several Bhojpuri folk songs were part of the evening and included “Patna Se Baida Bulai Dha” by Shikha, “Veer Kunwar Singh” by Mithuya and “Sundar Subhumi Bhaiya” by Tanushree and was very much appreciated by the audience. Another highlight of the show was a “Lazy Dance” by seven laziest dancers you will ever see to some popular Hindi Songs. The performers were Ravi, Binay, Atul, Rakesh, Umesh, Sanjay and Santosh. It was choreographed by Ravi Choudhary. It was the funniest and rib-tickling performance of the evening.

The second half of the show was a play directed by Dr. Chandeswar Sharma and titled “Veer Kunwar Singh Mara Nahin”. Veer Kunwar Singh Mara Nahin was a play with current and historical context. The play had dramatic twists and several songs to keep everybody entertained. It evoked stalwart historical heroes from India’s fight for freedom from the British. The play depicted that oppression and evil exist in every age but it is up to us whether we tolerate it or fight it. The actors were Dr. Chandeshwar Sharma, Praveen Srivastava, Vinay Karna, Bidhu Prakash, Binay Anand, Arvind Maharana, Rashmi Singh, Mithuya Choudhary, Amrita Srivastav and Tanushree Mishra. The music was supported by Shomik Verma, Sweta Gupta, and Joel Adimathra. The Sutradhar of the play was Soni Mishra.

The evening was emceed by four high school students, Arya, Ananya, Abhinav and Pari. They kept the entire audience entertained by their wonderful knowledge of drama, music, dance, movies, and the arts of the region of Bihar and Jharkhand. They were very well directed by Ravi Choudhury.

BANA also anounced its Annual Service Awards. The 2018 Lifetime Achievment award went to Dr. Chandeshwar Sharma and Mrs. Kunjan Sharma for their outstanding contributions to BANA in performing arts and leadership for the last twenty years. The oustanding service award went to Dr. Nazish Hoda for his continued selfless support to all BANA events for the last 4 years and youth service award went to Shikha Karna for her oustanding contributions in the performing arts for the last five years.

BANA anounced the results of the election for 2019-2020, and Atul Sinha will take over, from Dr. Santosh Verma, as President of BANA. His committee also includes Praveen Srivastava, Manish Sinha, Amaresh Mishra, Rajeev Jha, Prabhakar Sinha, and Amit Kumar.