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December 22, 1999
Bollywood Touch to New Year Galas
A P Kamath
Hema Sardesai, the Bollywood singer, promises to send New Yorkers into 2000 with a torrent of music, in Fremont, California while yesteryear's topliner Bappi Lahiri is offering an evening of mellow music. Hemlata, another singer from the past (Geet Gaata Chal), is helping to set the new year mood at a performance in a temple in Sunnyvale, California.
Bappi Lahiri is bringing along Reema Lahiri for a gala organized by the Indo-American Community Federation in Fremont, California. While the Lahiri event is going for about $140 for couple, another new year celebration in Fremont that features bhangra music is charging $ 180 per couple.
The Lahiri gala is hosted by Indo-American Community Federation; December 31, 1930 hours at 40480 Albrae Street. Tickets cost $ 70 per person, $ 85 at the door, $ 65 each for group registration.
For more information, call Seema Bhagat at (510) 979-9999.
"Bappi could appeal to another generation," says a party organizer. "But surely there are many people who want more mast music."
Sardesai, who performs at Meadowland's Expo Center in Secaucus, New Jersey, is joined by the Apna Sangeet group from the United Kingdom. The event, which costs $ 100 per person, starts at 2100 hours on New Year's eve.
For information, call (212) 557-5756, (732) 310-5365.
For Buena Park residents, Pooja Batra (Virasat) is the main attraction at the new year eve party at the Sequoia Club.
By a conservative estimate there are more than 300 celebrations being organized by desis across America. Most of them feature live music and DJs, and the average admission is about $ 50 per person.
In addition, over two dozen temples and churches visited by South Asians are offering night services, and a promise of a tranquil new year greeting.
While most millennium events offer pure fun, some organizers such as NetIP are combining fun with social service.
The Network of Indian Professionals will bring in the new year at Liberty Room, Crowne Plaza Hotel, 18th & Market Streets in Philadelphia.
The event is a first big step to raise money for the NetIP-NA foundation that give out scholarships, help out victims of floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and other natural disasters, not just in India but also in other countries, particularly the United States.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The NetIP event is among the high-profile desi galas being held across the United States. The admission ranges from $ 60 to $ 200 for couple. A handful of yuppie new year events are charging as high as $ 250 per person.
The South Asian Networking Association is joining hands with over a dozen professional and student organizations like the South Asian Action Political Awareness Committee, for a waterfront celebration which will also help charitable causes.
SANA's 'Party of the Pier' is to be held at New York's only bi-level waterfront restaurant and bar, Sequoia, at South Street Seaport, Pier 17 offers an enviable location. The glass built restaurant overlooks Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty.
For more information, check www.DesiNewYearsGala.com.
The most popular desi parties will be the ones that cater to the 20-plus crowd.
Some of these are purse-busters but the organizers know there is a lot of money to be blown up.
"In New York and New Jersey, the Wall Street type of young desis do not think twice about blowing $ 200 a night for a new millennium party," says a party organizer. Any surprise then that the Black Tie Millennium Ball organized by DJ Mike is going for $ 250 per person?
Desi parties are expected to be huge hits in over a dozen cities; of course, it does not make sense to charge more than $ 50 per person in smaller cities like Austin or Dallas.
"A lot of people think that the real action is New York or San Francisco but they should come down to Houston or Dallas, and see the dance halls packed with over 1,000 people," says V Pallod, a businessman in Houston.
"Here there are not many opportunities as in New York to party; so anyone who organizes a good party and has a good reputation draws hundreds of people."
The keyword at most millennium galas is upscale. Look at the ads and announcements. Most insist on formal or upscale Indian attire. And many assert there will be ample security.
"Parties are generally wild, and desi ones are no exceptions," said one organizer.
"We too have had problems in the past and many organizers take extra trouble in having security beefed up. It is absolutely a must that any gala with more than 30 or 40 people should have the best security for the millennium party."
A sampler of desi new year events:
Millennium Evening at Ramada Inn & Conference, 418 Armour Drive, NE Atlanta.
Includes DJs and all night non-stop music, open bar, snacks, sumptuous dinner and champagne.
Tickets cost $ 100 per couple or $ 55/-person (13 and above) and $ 25 for children between 6 to 12; Kids below six come in free.
For more details, contact Anil Agnihotri, (770) 840-1925; Jeti Ahluwalia, 414-1010, Sanjay Sharma 664-2229.
Preetysha and her orchestra offer 1999 countdown to 2000, on December 31, starting at 1900 hours. The event is being held at the Sportsman's Lodge, 12833 Ventura Blvd. Admissions starts at $ 100.
For more information, call (818) 755-5000.
2000! Millennium Celebration with Bhangra music and dancing, on December 31, 1930 hours to 0100 hours at the Metro Pole Banquet Hall, 37070 Fremont Blvd, Fremont. Admissions start at $ 60 per children ages 4 to 14, $ 100 per person and $ 180 for a couple.
For tickets, call India Spice House at (925) 551-5332 or Dana Bazar at (510) 742-0555.
Millennium Ki Raat features DJ, music, dance and dinner, on December 31, starting 1830 hours onwards. It will be held at Centennial Hall, Convention Center, 22292 Foothill Blvd.
Admission cost $ 150 per couple, $ 90 for one person.
For more information, call Rama Hiralal at (650) 375-1045.
Dance, variety entertainment and dinner program to mark the new year will be organised by the Bay Area Tamil Manram, December 31, 2030 hours to 0100 hours at the Sneha Restaurant. Non-members pay $ 35 and members pay $ 30. Children under six are allowed in free.
For information, call (408) 379-1441.
A musical concert featuring Hemlata is being organised on New Year's eve, starting at 1900 hours. It will be held at the Hindu Temple, South Bay Community Center, 450 Persian Drive.
Admissions $ 50 and VIP.
For more information, call Raj Bhanot at (408) 238-8975.
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