Culture

Bollywood Night raises money for IWK

‘It combines the importance of the work of the IWK with some culture’

Kavita Khanna, an engineer, and Sanjay Khanna, an IT consultant, have organized Bollywood Night for the last two years.
Kavita Khanna, an engineer, and Sanjay Khanna, an IT consultant, have organized Bollywood Night for the last two years.   Jessica Hirtle

In a peacock-themed room, guests wearing brightly coloured outfits watch as members of the Maritime Bhangra Group take the stage. Showcasing a traditional Punjabi dance, the group of three entertains the crowd with an energetic and lively performance of synchronized dance moves.

The Maritime Bhangra Group, who performed at Bollywood Night and has gained a lot of media attention after posting a video of a dance routine at Peggy’s Cove.
The Maritime Bhangra Group, performing at Bollywood Night, has gained media attention after posting a video of a dance routine at Peggy’s Cove.   Jessica Hirtle

Saturday’s second annual Bollywood Night kicked off at the Westin Hotel in Halifax in support of the IWK Health Centre and IWK Foundation. The event included a photo booth, a sit-down dinner featuring Indian cuisine and performances by the Maritime Bhangra Group and dancer Chandni Sehgal.

“It’s really about Bollywood. But, in my mind, it’s more about just elegant East Indian culture. It’s about the food. It’s about the clothes,” says event organizer Kavita Khanna.

Om and Meena Khanna founded the fundraiser in Truro three years ago. Since last year, their son, Sanjay Khanna, a member of the IWK Foundation’s board of trustees, and his wife, Kavita, took over and brought the event to Halifax.

Meena Khanna “wanted to do something for the community,” her husband says. “We had been part of the community for such a long time, so we thought we would do some social work, some kind of contribution to the community.”

Before coming to Halifax, Om and Meena Khanna hosted Bollywood Night in Truro.
Before coming to Halifax, Om and Meena Khanna hosted Bollywood Night in Truro.   Jessica Hirtle

After raising almost $10,000 last year, Kavita Khanna hopes Saturday’s fundraiser will generate between $15,000 and $16,000 from sponsors, ticket sales and a silent auction.

“It’s a very rewarding experience,” she says. “Nothing ever felt this good. Never have I ever felt this good working this hard for something.”

“It’s absolutely amazing,” adds IWK Foundation trustee Sue Stanfield.

“It combines the importance of the work of the IWK along with some culture. That is so important to Nova Scotia as a region.”