By Gordon Durich
Thousand Oaks, CA (The Hollywood Times) 5/7/23 – A bit of live Bollywood and culture with an Indian flavor graced Thousand Oaks again this year. Music, dance and dramatic performance weaved together to create Archana (defined by Yogapedia as “…Bhakti yoga… of love and devotion), which refers to worship through rituals…to experience pure bliss and awakening through devotional surrender and worship of the Divine.” The subheading this year was Remembering India’s Legacy of Love and Tolerance.
This was a major fundraiser for India Friends Association, in its 30th year.
In keeping with this tone, the opening Invocation was “The ignorant of narrow-minded think of me, mine and not mine, for the broad-minded, the whole world is their own like a family.” A spirited medley of music and song, some traditional, some sacred, followed in the diverse program. I liked the mix of bass guitar (played by Rajendra Deshpande), Tom Scharf’s masterful keyboard and sax and tabla and dholak (percussion and drum) performed enthusiastically by Samar Das.
A dance celebration of flowers and fruit and vegetables, that are India’s bounty of nature, was presented by an energetic and impressive cast of children choreographed by Monica Sarin. The cartwheels drew applause from the almost full house.
Film Dance was song and dance featuring “Naatu Naatu” (translated as ethnic) from RRR, an Oscar-winning video song musical movie in telugu (Southern Indian language), weaved love and its warmth and excitement in its production featuring a cast of thousands.
Unity in Diversity; Raas Leela (the divine connect between Radhda and Krishna gods, described as dance drama and other dances including The Giddha rounded out the spectacular show. It was performed at the Fred Kavli Theatre, at the Bank of America Performing Arts Center.
One attendee was Jean Aschbrenner, who attends Global Truth Center of LA, in Westlake Village, who shared “It was great, and I went last year.” A meet-and-greet and picnic outside followed and was a fitting climax.
The first two lines in the booklet program are worth passing along: “It is You, who gave me the senses to experience, you gave me hands to shape, breath to sing…”