Anubhav becomes first Bollywood team to win national collegiate competition twice


Source: Prince Ghosh

The Anubhav team after winning Bollywood America in Cleveland earlier this month. Anubhav’s win at the Bollywood competition, the largest of its size in the country, is its second in three years.

Evelyn Metric, Reporter

Anubhav, a campus Bollywood dance team, made history April 9 by becoming the first team to win the country’s largest collegiate Bollywood dance competition for a second time.

The team finished first at Bollywood America in 2014 and were named champions again this year.

“I was completely overwhelmed,” said Veda Girishkumar, a Weinberg sophomore and one of Anubhav’s three captains. “Waiting for the results, we really did not expect them to say our name.”

Hetal Patel (Weinberg ‘09) helped found Anubhav in 2008. Now a doctoral student in Kellogg, Patel helps advise the team and serves as a creative director.

She said she was particularly proud of the team’s performances and results throughout this season because several of the team’s members had no prior dance experience when they joined.

In the moment that Anubhav won Bollywood America this year, Patel said she was so overcome with emotion she ran down from the balcony, where she was sitting, to join the team.

“I think I actually cried a little,” Patel said. “I ran down to them … because I wanted to be with them in that moment.”

Source: Mithin Thomas on Youtube

Weinberg senior Neha Kumar, one of the team’s captains, said this year Anubhav’s routine focused on identity and balancing the relationship between Indian and American culture, specifically between a mother and her daughter. To get inspiration for their dance, the teammates interviewed their mothers to draw upon their prior experiences as South Asians in America, said Nivaas Thanoo, a Weinberg senior and one of the team’s captains.

By tackling more serious themes in their dances, Thanoo said Anubhav hopes to impact a large audience and spread awareness of many issues South Asian students experience.

“With the visibility that our performances get … we just feel that it’s important to portray different cultural stories that are important to the people on the circuit or people that may not normally have their stories heard,” Thanoo said.

Despite Anubhav’s continued success on the collegiate Bollywood dancing circuit, few Northwestern students know about the team, Kumar said.

“We are a well-known team, but we don’t get a lot of recognition on campus,” Kumar said. “We carry Northwestern’s name in a really positive way around the country.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @EvelynMetric