Getting NBA Audiences to dance on the Bollywood tune of “Bala Bala”

By Nitin Gupta
Chandni Navodita at Orlando Magic's NBA Clash

Former Bollywood Star Chandni takes her passion to Basketball Audiences across USA

USA based Mumprenuer, and former Bollywood star Mrs. Chandni Navodita recently got a whole stadium full of American Basketball fans to shake a leg on the tunes of Akshay Kumar’s hit Bollywood number “Bala Bala”.

It was a rare achievement as the crowd which had come to watch a NBA Basketball match between Orlando Magic and Washington Warriors, ended up chanting and dancing to the tune of “Bala Bala”.

This ‘magic’ happened at Excel India and Chandni’s Bollywood Magic event in partnership with NBA team Orlando Magic that was held at Amway Centre, Orlando (Florida) on November 17, 2019.

In Cricket playing nations you may still expect a greater awareness of Indian film industry among the audiences, but in a sporting competition outside India, it was a pleasant surprise to see whole stadium full of non-Indian, non-cricket fans shaking a leg on a Bollywood number.

Post that dance performance at the Amway Centre by Chandni’s dance group, the song Bala Bala has become hugely popular with the African American community in the USA.

Meet the person who made this feat possible—former Bollywood Star Mrs Chandni Navodita. Chandni had made a dream debut in Bollywood with super hit movie “Sanam Bewafa” opposite Salman Khan.

The jewellery worn by Chandni in the movie Sanam Bewafa had become a huge craze with young females in India. The “Jhoomar” she wore in the movie Sanam Bewafa had become to be called as “Chandni Jhoomar”, and must have been sold in millions of pieces in the Hindi belt of India during early 1990s.

Chandni moved to Orlando, Florida (USA) after her marriage with American Indian businessman Mr Satish Sharma in 1994.

Chandni apart from helping run her family business, on Saturdays also runs a Dance School which goes by the name of C Studio. The dance school is highly popular within Florida’s South Asian communities. It also helps American born and/or bred kids stay in touch with their Indian/South Asian roots through music and dance.

Chandni has also held events at the Hard Rock in Universal Studios, and House of Blues in Disney.

Her daughter Karishma (Kat) Sharma describes Chandni as Beautiful, hardworking, amazing, loving, strong, caring, her hero and also “Dramatic”. But based on personal experience, I would like to add being approachable, humble and down to earth as the most positive qualities in Chandni Jee.

There may be few lessons for the AFL Footy in Australia as well. If the NBA in USA can use Bollywood performances to attract more Indian community audiences to Basketball matches, so should the AFL and other Australian sports that are trying to attract bigger Australian Indian community audiences to be involved in their sport.

The NBA in fact have started an Annual “India Day” match, mainly to connect more with the high income earning/high tax paying American Indian community. Some food for thought for the AFL perhaps.

The writer of this article Mr Nitin Gupta is a former Ministerial Adviser who had drafted Victoria’s Bollywood Policy in 2006. Nitin has also professionally advised Richmond Tigers FC, and AFL on their India Engagement Strategy


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