Bhangra beats & Bollywood dance join Brazilian carnival

Bloco Bollywood logo

Sao Paulo

Indian music is truly going global. Bhangra music and Bollywood dance is going to become part of the Brazilian carnival this year.

In Brazil, it’s that time of the year when the country organizes the biggest party on the planet. The Carnival is about to begin. But the party has already begun. While the big parades where samba schools showcase their music and dance at the Sambodromo in Rio and Sao Paulo are still a day away, hundreds of thousands of people are enjoying themselves in street parties known as blocos.

Each bloco features a band of musicians who take to the streets on a set day, each week in the run-up to the Carnival, offering followers their favourite song from a number of specially-penned ones, which range from funny to irreverent.

But this year’s bloco scene in Sao Paulo has a major attraction: an Indian street party. Come Saturday and streets in the heart of Sao Paulo are going to reverberate with Bhangra beats, Bollywood numbers and other Indian dance songs, with a decent gathering of Indians and Brazilians doing traditional Bhangra as well as Bollywood dance.

Unlike the US and Canada, the Indian community is very small in Brazil. But most Indians here are concentrated in Sao Paulo. A very active and vibrant community, the Indians here are known for organizing their annual Holi and Diwali parties through the Indian Association of Sao Paulo. But this is the first time that the Indian community will be actively taking part in the Brazilian carnival with their songs and dances.

The gathering will happen at Rua Nestor Pestana between 10 30 am and 11 am and then the bloco – led by a mobile DJ unit — will move like a procession on some of the main streets of the city before coming back to the starting point by 1 30 pm before dispersing at 2 pm. All this while huge speakers will play Bhangra mix and other songs accompanied with dances on the street.

Being the first-ever Indian bloco in Brazil, the event has already created quite a buzz among the Indians and Brazilians who love and admire Indian culture, especially its dances and music.

An open and free event, the bloco has been conceived by Shobhan Saxena and Florencia Costa, an Indian-Brazilian journalist couple based in Sao Paulo. The co-hosts of the event include Biju Nair and Ajay Vettackal, two prominent businessmen from Curitiba; Guchi Kukreja, a Sao Paulo-based businessman and active member of the Indian community; Vijay Bavaskar, a pharma executive and food entrepreneur; Alick Barreto, a business consultant with roots in Goa; Iara Ananda, an accomplished classical dancer who also teaches Bollywood dancing to a large number of students; Juily Manghirmalani, a master’s student of cinema; Shelly Bhoil, an award-winning poetess from India; and Mark Datysgeld and Christiane Tavares, a Brazilian couple who have produced a documentary on the Indian cultural influence in Brazil.


Date: February 6, Saturday
Time of gathering: 10 30 – 11 am
Party time: 11 am – 1 30 pm
Dispersion: 2 pm

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