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Desis Enjoy Bollywood Music At Monthly Party In Boston

Shailender Nagpal

Boston now has a bollywood tradition - a desi party is held every month at local clubs, when bollywood and bhangra music is played exclusively. Says Shailender Nagpal, chief organizer of these parties – “New York has Basement Bhangra, and other cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, DC and Seattle have their own versions of it. We in Boston didn’t even have a true desi party till recently.” Shailender has been organizing these parties for about a year now, hosting one party every month. Next month in August, his organization “Bollywood Boston” celebrates its first year anniversary.

The party on July 21 was a great success attended by over 150 people. The highlight was dholi player Rishi Bawa, and  DJ Bunty, who has been playing club music in Boston for over a year, and at weddings and parties for over 10 years. Desis enjoyed the foot thumping beats of Bhangra and Bollywood music, and came out in large groups with their friends. Rohini, who also co-ordinates the parties, attributes the success to the music, the dhol, and to the atmosphere of the club. “Desis want to get together with friends, meet other people, and find a way to enjoy their culture – our phenomenal music, and the bhangra dance. This club allows multiple entertainment opportunities – another dance floor, pool tables, and our very own DJ and Dhol player. It’s a winning combination.”

The Rack is located close to Faneuil Hall, in the business district of Boston, ideally suited for spending an evening on the weekend with plenty of attractions, shopping, restaurants and clubs. The club itself has pool tables, a sports bar atmosphere, a main dance floor for mainstream American music and a large separate room where the party is held.

The Bollywood and Bhangra movement is catching on in America. The Boston Globe recently published an article about this monthly party. While most desis will claim to be able to dance to Bollywood music, Bhangra is harder but more fun. Most local colleges have their own bhangra teams, and even teach the dance during summer. But other than practicing in seclusion and displaying their talent in large events once or twice a year, desis are not able to enjoy the dance with their friends. These monthly parties provide an outlet for their dance energies.

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